“Pass the ball” “Here. I am here.” “SHOOT IT!!” “Nice try bro.”
It was just like all those countless nights he had played football with his friends. Long into the night, ball at their feet, getting sweaty and enjoying the game. It was so normal, one would be very hard pressed find anything abnormal in his demeanor. But he knew. He knew there was something deep down in him which was not quite right. He felt it. He even knew why he was feeling so, but he kept telling himself it was all ok.
“Why am I feeling so low? It was supposed to be a hit or miss anyway. It is not like I tried very hard or anything. I knew this is how it would turn out.” He thought. “I need to come back to my normal self. I need to calm down and get on with my life as usual.”
He was happily distracted away from himself by the game before his feet. This was where he was the happiest. Playing with his friends. Nothing could go wrong here. Nothing that happened in the outside world could boil over into the field. Or so he thought.
He forced himself back into the game and tried to forget about everything else. Just then he got the ball. “Perfect” he thought. He started running with the ball at his feet. It felt so good. He could feel the rush in his body. He could feel his mind singing away happily. This was bliss. And the all of a sudden, he was brought back to reality as he felt a tug at this back and a pair of legs strangling with his own. “What the hell!” he thought. He looked back for a second and saw an opposing player pulling him back tugging at his shirt. He was irritated. “Let me play man” his mind shouted out loud. Even as he was thinking this he knew how naïve and stupid he was being. This was a game. Of course the opposition is not just going to sit and let you score goals. But he didn’t know why he felt so irritated all of a sudden. He managed to get it under control, and passed the ball to his team mate. Danger averted. Once he calmed down, he understood why he had felt the way he had. “I am still caught with my rejections in the job interviews” he realized. And then he got angry at himself. He became irritated for being so emotionally affected by some “stupid jobs”. He tried even harder to forget all about it, but it only made him think more and more about it.
“Every one of my friends is landing a job. I am only one without an offer.” “Pass the ball man!” “Should I have prepared for the interviews?” “Nice tackle bro.” “But the interviewer was so stupid. What has knowledge about world politics got anything to do with that jo…what the heck!?” he was jolted as he realized he had been pushed off the ball by an opposing player. An angry bubble burst inside his head. “Hey stop pushing man!” he warned. “I was getting the ball dude. Chill!” “Huh…’Chill!’ Wish I could.”
And then the same thing happened. And again. The same player. “He is doing this on purpose” he thought, again naively. All reason and thought had left his mind, which was now fully occupied by pure rage and directionless anger.
That’s how it starts. The fever, the rage…the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men…cruel.
“That’s it. He is going to have a taste of his own medicine.” He waited for his prey to get the ball. As soon as he had the ball, he pounced on him. He caught from behind with both his hands, and using his feet as a pivot, lifted the prey into the air and threw him to the ground. Everyone was stunned. He looked as the wounded prey got up with a fierce look in his eyes. His eyes screamed he was not the prey. He was going to be the hunter. The prey-turned-hunter got up to his feet, and in one fierce fluid motion got to him. Both of them were ready for a fight. Their friends were however spontaneous enough to break them up and cool down the situation. “Oh what have I done!” he thought. “He is my friend. And I was ready to fight him over a silly push?” “But it wasn’t about the push, was it. It was the job interviews. I was consumed by all that feeling of powerlessness and this was just how it all came out of me”.
He felt even bad when he realized that he had ruined a good time for all of his friends. “It was just a stupid job. What was I thinking? Damn it!” he admonished himself as he stood under the cold shower. As the cold water ran down his head, he finally let go of his negative feelings. He realised that there were far more important things and he couldn’t let a failed interview ruin all those as well. But he was happy he had burst out. He knew he had to make up to his friend but he would understand. He was his friend. But it felt like something had popped in his brain and everything was so much clearer now.
As he walked out of the shower, he saw his friend getting ready to hop into one himself. Their eyes met and he instantly knew he was forgiven. He just waved and beamed an apologetic smile at him, getting an equally emphatic smile from his friend in return. No words needed. After all, they were friends. “Sometimes bursting out is the best way of letting go.” he realized.