“Sorry Mort, you’re Just too short!”
They were going to say it again, I could read it on their expression and that scornful smirk on their faces was just proof that I was going to hear those exact words that has been my constant nightmare.
“Sorry mort, you can’t play with us, we wanna play hide and seek and am pretty sure your legs would be too short to carry you”
It was Jake this time; he was quite the opposite of my curse, or so I saw it. He was tall, probably the tallest in the neighborhood, all the other kids loved him, they always wanted to play with him…well of course why not? He was handsome too.
And so I slowly backed away as the rest of the kids giggled and jeered at me.
Alright dear readers, as you’ve noticed my name is Mort Sanders, I am in grade 4 at forensic high school and my life sucks!
I wouldn’t say my life now is the fairy tales my mum had always read to me. I think the best word for it is now is disaster.
At age six my parents had to take me for medical checkup. I sat on a double chair so I could see the doctor who only smiled after running some tests on me.
“Your son is perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with him”
My mother turned to give me that I-told-you-so look.
“You see Mort” she said
“Doctor says you are perfectly fine”
I wasn’t fully satisfied so I had to ask.
“Then why would no one play with me mom?”
She didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Because son, you are unique in your own way, just that they’ve not seen it yet”
At school it was the same old story. There was a lot I couldn’t do, even the simplest task of wiping the board.
Jake was in same class with me, and anytime the teacher attempts to wipe the board, he would jeer at me.
You can imagine the endless struggle!😭
“Hey Mort, why not help Mrs Smith to wipe the board, who knows you might grow taller”
The whole class would burst into laughter. This went on for a month till no one found it funny anymore, and when Mrs Smith cautioned him.
I felt like an outcast, I felt depressed that it began to affect my grades at school. Mrs Smith met with me during break time at school one day. My thoughts were she had come to ridicule me like the others, but she had a smile on her face, I didn’t trust her still.
“Mort? Why are you not out for break? Your mates are out there, why not join them?”
I averted my eyes when I replied with the hurt I felt.
“They wouldn’t play with me?”
She looked concerned but I still felt she wanted to jeer at me too.
She took her seat next to mine.
I didn’t want to look at her expression so I bowed my head when I replied.
“Cos I’m short, they don’t love me”
I was expecting her to laugh like the others but she was quiet and shook her head in disagreement.
“I don’t agree with you Mort”
I raised my head to meet her expression now.
“What do you mean Mrs Smith? Don’t you see? I’m short”
I was reading another different meaning to her approach.
“Mort, you are unique in your own way…you are one of the best student I’ve got”
I chuckled in disbelief.
“Nice try Mrs Smith, I know you are just trying to make me feel better”
She reached for my cheek and touched them.
“You know I wanted to talk about your grades, now I see the real problem, you are letting their words get to you and it’s affecting your grades”
There was no word in my head to reply her so I kept quiet.
“You know why they don’t love you Mort?”
Good question, it was one I wanted to really know. Why? Apart from the fact that I am short, is there any other reason?
I shook my head and urged her to go on.
“It’s because you don’t love yourself, and until you learn to love yourself for who you are, they would never love you…now sit up and get your grades back OK?”
Mrs Smith’s words got me. I didn’t love myself? Well that was true; I can remember a time when I asked my parents why they brought me to this world.
“I hate myself!” I said
“I hate me!”
Maybe what Mrs Smith said was actually true. I was still pondering on it on my way home when I encountered Jake and his crew again.
And as usual they jeered at me but I wasn’t in the mood to pay attention. I said one thing that surprised them.
“I don’t need you guys ok? I am good enough for myself, I’ve never played with you guys and hey! Am not dead…in fact I have been living fine, so I would say this now, stay away from me, I don’t want to play with you, I love me for who I am”
I adjusted my bag pack and turned to leave when all they did was stare at me with no words surfacing.
I was just few metres away when I had a scream. It was coming from Jake and his crew…I hurried back to see the rest of the crew gathered around a small hole shielded by a wooden fence.
“Help! its Jake, we didn’t know, he fell inside and the locks won’t work…my dad has warned that it is a construction site but Jake wouldn’t listen” Mary cried out.
I dropped my bag pack and hurried to the wooden fence…it was way too low for anyone to squeeze in. But hey, I was short, I could easily squeeze in and out.
I was careful as I stooped low and got in to find Jake a little wounded.
“Mort? Please help”
I went for the locks and opened from inside to get him out.
The moment I stepped out with Jake they all cheered and clapped for me.
“You are a hero Mort!”
Mary said and hugged me, they were all over me now.
I got home that day smiling broadly, I couldn’t help it. And the moment I saw my mother I voiced it out.
“Mom, I am a hero, thank God I am short, I was able to save a life today”
I sat with my mum and narrated the incident… She didn’t look surprised, instead she smiled and nudge me gently.
“I told you Mort, you are unique in your own way, thank goodness you’ve realised it now”
The next day was school free day. And as usual I was going to spend it indoors but this fateful day was quite different.
Jake hit our doorbell with his parents.
His parents came with gifts and showered me lots of praise. My mom took them to the dinning for lunch while Jake took me outside.
I couldn’t believe it was Jake asking me that.
“Look am sorry Mort, you really are a hero”
I beamed with smiles.
“It’s ok Jake, let’s join the others… Of course I wanna play”
So this is me now👇
Oh no not that☝sorry guys, how embarrassing, try not to look at that…this is me now👇
Short and stylish huh? 😎
And so dear readers I finally got to understand that we were all made perfect and unique for a special purpose irrespective of our gender, race or physical appearance. You want my advise? Well I say “love yourself, cos no one would do that for you”
©onyeneke Abel .January 2018 all rights reserved.
Hope you’ve learnt something from my story?