The Mill Where Only the Valiant Tread

Posted by Zee A. on 6. Oct 2011

He put on his workout clothes to feel at ease. Reached down to his feet and tied the laces of his trainers, memories of the smiling bunny racing through his head whilst doing so; how his mom taught him to tie his laces for the first time when he was a mere toddler, and how every time he got it wrong, his mom smiled and taught him again until he perfected it. His favorite candy was the reward for doing so. While putting on his wristbands, he felt like an athlete, even though that feeling was infinite nautical miles far from the actuality. He raised his eyelashes to glance at the object that would be the pain but also the cure. Thirst but also the water. Part of a dream but far better than a reality as well. An object giving him restlessness but also peace and serenity. Mentally, he was unaware. Physically, fit he was, however, light years away from being qualified as someone who’s name thousands and millions of people would chant and would jump through scores of figures just to get a mere glimpse of. The object was the ladder between dream and authenticity. He stretched. Legs. Arms. Back. For a few seconds, he stretched every part of his body with utter care and deliberation. Grabbing the towel in his right hand, he moved towards the object and stood next to it. Placing the towel on the right side, he stepped on it and put his hands on its side to feel the softness of the foam. He took out his music player from his pocket and placed the earphones where they belonged. He scrolled to his favorite workout track and pressed ‘Play’. He turned on the object and 3…2…1… started. He quickly pressed 6km/h to minimize the essential warm up time. Two minutes warm up and cranked it up to 13km/h. He started running. Slowly. Gradually. He gained momentum as the object gained momentum. He moved it to 14km/h and now he was running in full throttle. The bass in his ears blocked out all the noise of the object. Seconds and minutes passed by. Ever passing second moved him towards a tiring and sweating state. He did not stop. Seven minutes. Eight minutes. Nine minutes. His body said stop. His mind said “stop now and stop forever”. He kept running. He kept sweating. Breathing heavily. In and out. Sweating profusely; it ran down from his forehead to his brow and hung there for a nanosecond before dripping down on the object. He did not stop. Even though he felt it was torture, he kept testing himself; when will he break. What’s he made of. It was after ten minutes that he realized: he wasn’t feeling any loss of breath anymore. The sweat kept coming, but it started to become easier. He had decided to turn it back to 6km/h at ten minutes, but, he went on till eleven minutes and it all felt easier. He had passed the hard time. He turned it to 6km/h at 12 minutes to cool down. He walked for two minutes and increased it to 14km/h yet again. But this time, he only ran for three minutes before he had to bring it back to 6km/h.  At the end of the session, he grabbed the towel and his music player and got off the object. Sat down at the nearby bench. Sweating. Breathing heavily. As he cleaned his face with the towel, his outward appearance wasn’t the only thing that cleared. His inner thoughts suddenly saw the day of light after miserable dark rainy clouds of despair and adversity. Although young, he already saw a lot. He hadn’t had the smoothest of lives one would ask for. Anything he wanted, anything he should have achieved, required him to make extra endeavors. He had to work really hard to achieve what he wanted. He faced calamities and hardships all throughout, and he also knew: “this is just the beginning, I haven’t seen anything yet…”. He then raised his chin and glimpsed at the object yet again. He likened it with life: Everyone has a different and unique life. Everyone has their own problems to deal with. 3….2….1…’re born. You start walking on the object. Some walk early. Some take their time. Some fly before even they know it. It is advisable to warm up on the object before u decide to increase the intensity. We’re born with nothing in our hands. We warm up. We grow up. We make mistakes. We learn. We make them again. We decide to run. Some run before they have warmed up. They get tired. They start walking again. Those who warm up properly, run longer than the aforementioned  His mind also guided him towards the actuality that like the object, life will also test you. If you decide to run faster to achieve what you desire, you will have to make sure you have it in you to go the distance. If your goal of using the object is to lose weight, you better cope with the tiredness and loss of breath and sweat and aching legs and back. If u wish to walk on the object, you will burn calories but no fat. If you wish to walk in life with no aim or mission or no sense of achievement and with the reluctance to face it just to save yourself from pain and ache, you will pass your life but not live it. He realized that every hardship he had encountered till now, no matter how small or big it was, he faced it with a smile and utter faith and commitment and with the feeling that the bigger the mishap, bigger and better joyous moments will follow. His misfortunes had taught him to stand up in the storm and keep his feet planted on the ground, no matter how hard it hits you. Facing the storm with his heart made him understand the veracity of the situations he faced and hence be ready for the worst. Every test made him stronger. Every hardship nurtured him. He was like an apprentice at the life workshop; honing and polishing his skills, on-the-job. The object made him run and tested him. Tested him more. It made him face the situation first hand and taught him how to deal with it; with resistance and forethought and hard work and commitment and determination and purpose and fortitude and resilience. Every session improved his stamina one notch up. Every hardship he encountered in life increased his will to face worse situations in the future. At the back of his mind, he kept telling himself: this is just the start, and what a brilliant start it is! He felt he is ready. For much worse. He knows. He will see a lot worse. This is the tip of the iceberg. If he could find a word in the dictionary for the highest point of the tip of the iceberg, he would call it that. Everything lied ahead. All his misfortunes had a hidden meaning. Meanings he could never fathom now. Not a week later. Not months later. Maybe it takes him years to figure out, how the mishap he took as a severe blow was, in reality, flowers in disguise. What he thought of as stones being hurled at him by the sands of time, were actually autumn leaves shedding themselves to make way for spring and then summer; making way for new leaves and flowers, for new beginnings and hopes and optimisms and blissful certainties. He had cooled down by now. He could breathe normally. The sweat was almost gone, he had wiped it all. Until the next session, it was time to rest and recoup energy to face it yet again. And again. And again. Until he was called…..


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