Today, my crush patted me on my shoulder, alongside words of encouragement.
Today, my close friend smacked my shoulder really hard, as his way of greeting me.
Today, my parents put their arms over my shoulder, complimenting me over good deeds.
Through the course of my junior college life thus far, many of my friends have broken down from the sheer pressure due to school commitments. Having persisted through such an arduous and hectic lifestyle, all they really want is a pillar of support and encouragement.
Recently, I came across a heartwarming story. Despite going against scientific facts, it conveyed an inspiring message – our most important body part is not our eyes, ears, nor heart. It is our shoulder, for friends and family to cry on and lean on.
In Singapore, it is common to see people rushing around, to and fro, from work, from school. Sometimes, we rush through the crowds so hastily that we tend to focus all our attention towards the destination, the end-result, blurring our surroundings and neglecting the people around us. I myself committed such a heinous crime. Being in a pragmatic and meritocratic society, I decided to orientate the two years of my JC life towards the attainment of academic success. And in the process of mugging and rubbing subject notes all over my depressed face, I did not even realised that my shoulder had turned cold.
But that wasn’t all. A few weeks ago, my close friend broke into tears, after screwing up an important project work. He was frustrated enough, and was simply overwhelmed by our suggestions to help salvage his work. I tried to comfort him, but that was when I realised, I couldn’t. I tried to think coherently for words of solace, but I couldn’t and I ended up just standing there, staring into space. At that point in time, I feared that I may or may not, have acquired a state of apathy, and may or may not, have lost my shoulder.
Or maybe I didn’t misplace it. Instead, I jettisoned it on purpose, in order to be rid of useless dead-weight. I discarded it, ditched it, hurled it vehemently on the ground, for it invited these annoying people to lean on me, shed stupid tears on me, to pass their baton of burden onto me, slowing my pace as a result. It was a hindrance, an obstruction, barricading the achievable success that was almost within my wrinkled hand’s reach.
And that was when my crush, my friend, and my parents tapped on my shoulder.
It felt strange, unfamiliar, as if a foreign organ was being transplanted into my body. I didn’t realise until I noticed it, dirty and soiled from being tossed onto the cold hard ground previously. But as if graced by their touch, the body part was restored, back to its clean original state. Their words, praises, greeting, encouragements, infused the body part with brimming hope and energy. This optimism spread throughout my worn-out body, rejuvenating it, revitalising it, reviving it.
I realised then, that life wasn’t meant to be lived alone, wasn’t meant to be shouldered alone.