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By Freyan S. Wadia

Running down the pebbled path used to be so hard. My feet used to get cut, sometimes bleed for days. Other children seemed to get by well enough- they had thicker skin. I still kept running down, for I had to- standing still was never an option. It still isn’t.

But now. Now is different. I’m still vaguely conscious of the stones beneath my feet, but I’ve learnt to take most of them in my stride. I’ve learnt not to take it personally. Instead, I turn my head up towards the sky, close my eyes as I feel the wind rushing through my hair, my heart pounding in my chest and the cheer of the brook running beside me. I love this run. I love the way I can surrender every feeling, every thought, every aspect of who I am in the moment. There are no ghosts looming, no cobwebs. I’m learning to believe in sunshine again.

When I perform, I intend to succeed. I intend to go for the gold. I intend to set my sights on the highest thing I can achieve. I may not always get it. I may get a faceful of mud for all my efforts. I keep running. I keep running, for as long as I see that star on the horizon, it is mine to chase. For as long as these legs support me, as long as this heart keeps beating, as long as these starry eyes fix on the heavens above, there is no failure. Maybe someone will take it before me. Maybe someone will snatch it out of my hands. Maybe my world will spin into disarray and I cry on the sidewalk.

I will cry for one evening. For one week. For one year. I might cry as I run. But I’ve always wiped my tears away- I have no reason to assume I won’t do it again. I will smile, I will laugh. The brook beside me- my comfort, my strength, the one that silences the voices in my head. I may never get the star, but, at the end of the day, I still have the brook.

And if I get the star. If I have the chance to hold it in my hands, cradle it against my heart, kiss its golden brow, I shall be eternally grateful. But I shall not pluck it out of the sky, cover it or smother it with a blanket. I do not intend to fix it into a golden wreath that would adorn my crown wherever I go. I intend to hold it out, like a lantern, for the next girl stumbling along that broken road with starry eyes and bleeding feet. For I know what that road was like and when she reaches me, I shall hand it over.

It is a magic light, for the more times it is passed on, the brighter it shines. Some part of the star will always belong to me, as it did to the girl that held it before me. We stand beside each other, each of us glowing, never outshining each other, each equally important.

It’s how we form a constellation.

By Freyan S. Wadia

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