“She loved sitting under a tree, drawing as always.” That’s how the old man’s story always began. I was too young to understand why he always told that story but I enjoyed listening to it. Steven is an old Pedi man. He is tall but thin, he speaks a lot but has a squeaky voice, not forgetting his yellow teeth that look like cheese. Steven lives down the road alone. I make sure I pay him a visit, partly because of his story but mostly because of his delicious cookies.
Today he is telling a different story, he says it’s also special. I take a wooden chair and sit down with the cookies he gave me, then I listen to the story.
“Long time ago there was a lovely girl who loved dancing,” Steven says.
“Steven why do you love telling stories about girls?” I ask.
“Girls are precious diamonds but it’s a pity other man are not grateful; they kill and abuse them,” Steven says.
“When I grow up, I want to build a jail for men who violate girls only, I want to teach them a lesson,”
“Let’s continue with the story,” Steven says laughing.
“Her name was Anna, she couldn’t show off her talent because of her cruel stepfather who would tell her how useless she was and sometimes he would beat her if he saw her dancing. One day Anna got fed up with the treatment she got from her stepfather, so she packed her ‘rags’ in her old school bag and began with her journey. She stopped along the way for water then resumed. After days of walking to nowhere, she saw a beautiful cottage.”
“Who’s cottage was it?” I interrupt.
“Just listen to the story.” Steven continues.
“She went inside slowly but there wasn’t anyone to welcome her. “Hello, is anybody there?” said Anna. No one replied. She welcomed herself by taking a bath, made food for herself and took a nap. She woke up when she heard a sound, someone was playing her favourite song, but who? She followed the song until she saw a beautiful music box with a ballerina on top. Anna picked it up and it stopped. She loved the song so she looked for a button to make it play again and found it, the button had a note written ‘PRESS IT AT YOUR OWN RISK’ Anna, being the fearless girl, she was, pressed it.”
“I’m tired, come back again tomorrow,” Steven says.
“No, please tell me what happens,” I plead
“Come back again tomorrow.”
“If I continue, don’t come tomorrow.”
“Deal!” I say excited.
“She pressed it and out of nowhere a mist surrounded her, she couldn’t see anything.”
“Do you want me to continue with the story or not?” Steven says annoyed.
“Out of the mist, a person’s shadow appeared, Anna was starting to get scared. “Show yourself,” said Anna. The mist disappeared and Anna was able to see who it was. It was the ballerina that was on the music box. It had come to life.”
“Wow!” I say as Steven glares at me with those big round eyes of his that could even kill a corpse.
“Okay I’ll shut up.”
“Anna was shocked, the ballerina introduced herself as Angelina, Anna’s guardian. From that day Anna lived a fearless life. She expressed her passion for dancing with the help of her guardian. She accepted her flaws and promised herself never to let anyone degrade her. The End.”
“What did you learn from this story Michelle?” Steven asks.
“Anna was one fearless girl but her stepfather was her weakness. She decided to run away which was a good thing to do because she finally met her guardian and found a peaceful home,” I say.
“So, what is today’s message?”
“You mustn’t lose hope, you must believe that there are many beautiful things waiting. Like Maya Angelou said, ‘you may shoot me with your words, cut me with your eyes, kill me with your hatefulness but still, like air, I rise.’ You should believe in yourself and rise up who knows? Maybe you can move mountains.”
Since Steven told me that story, I’ve become a different person, I’ve gained self-confidence and I express my passion through sketching. Anna didn’t let her stepfather destroy her passion for dancing, so I’m not going to let anyone ruin things for me. I believe in myself and one day I’m going to conquer the world with my designs and I’m going to tell more souls about this story. Everyone has their own story and this one is my story. Believe in yourself.
Tell us: Do you believe in yourself?