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The Pursuit Of Happiness
I've been chasing Happiness for what felt like years. My arms were outstretched, my hands ready to snatch it, but my legs weren't cooperating. I begged them to go faster and urged them to not give up. But, they didn’t listen.
I was so close, so close that I could feel its warm glow against my fingertips. I was so close, yet not close enough. I wanted to scream out in frustration but I knew I had to keep going. I couldn't let this opportunity get away again.
I kept running for it, lagging behind a bit since I tended to get tired and Happiness seemed to never lose it's pace.
It was dark outside. It's been dark for a while. I can't remember the last time it was daytime. The darkness seemed to swallow the sun whole. The cold wind seemed to whisper as it past me as I fired through it and the grass whipped my bare legs as I ran though the large field. I wish I would've been smarter and worn pants.
I noticed a dark body of water up ahead that looked like it stretched for a million miles. I knew what it meant but I wasn't ready to accept it yet. I kept hoping that It would make a sharp turn and avoid the ocean all together but Happiness kept heading straight for it.
The ocean seemed to jump at me before I was ready. The waves pounding my legs and torso. I kicked at it and wrestled with the furious water. "Move!" I shouted at the water. The water didn't listen, not like I was expecting it to.
The ball of light that was about the size of my head, kept zooming over each wave with a strong force. The water seemed to carve a perfect passage way for the ball. I punched the water as hard as I could.
The cold liquid was now up to my chest. I could still touch but I knew any further and I would be swimming. The waves seemed to be getting stronger and bigger the further I went in.
Happiness seemed to be mocking me as it jumped up and spun in the air to avoid a large wave. It cleanly landed on the other side but unfortunately the water wasn't as merciful on me. It smacked me right on my face and swallowed me. Salt water poured in my nose, mouth, and both of my eyes.
My face burned like it was on fire. The rocks on the bottom of the ocean kept cutting through my boots and began to nip at my feet. I screamed underwater, knowing I wouldn't be able to hold my breath much longer.
Luckily, the waves calmed down quickly. I slid out of the water's once strong grasp with ease. But even before my eyes opened that the waves ceasing wasn't a good sign at all. I knew what it meant but for some reason I still felt hopeful as I used the palm of my hands to rub my eyes open.
Disappointment wrecked every inch of my body. There wasn't a light anywhere. The water was more frigid than before. Happiness was gone and it took every last good part of me with it.
What was I supposed to do now? I thought desperately. I left my family to go chasing after it. I was hoping that I would be able to get it and that it would be able to give me all the answers. I was hoping Happiness would help bring my sun back.
I sat on the shore with my head in my hands. I didn't know where to go or what to do. I didn't know where I was or when it was. I was completely and utterly lost. It made me loose myself completely in the matter of days.
I felt so alone, so alone. The wind kept whispering to me but I couldn't' understand it and the pain in my lungs was numbed by the pain in my soul. I didn't mind the cuts on my feet or the soreness that stretched over my whole body. But, my heart was broken, a clean cut, right down the middle. Injuries could heal overtime, I knew that. But I've never seen someone with a broken heart ever fully recover.
I tried to cry. I tried to get this numbness out of me, I couldn't take it anymore. It was suffocating me and I didn't know how to stop it. I laid down on the shore and dreamed of the very first time Happiness ever tried to get me to pursue it:
Happiness had sat by me at school one day. I looked over at it and it smiled, mischievously back at me. It was so bright that I couldn't look at it for very long but I think that was the idea. It got up and began to leave the classroom. I began to worry, it couldn't leave. Not yet anyway. It kept smiling as it was getting closer and closer to the door.
"Wait." I cried. "Come back." It chuckled at my command and simply ignored it. Before It opened the door it turned back to me very slowly. "If you want me, come and get me." And with that it opened the door and glided down the hall.
It didn't take me long to realize what I had to do and how fast I had to do it. I got up out of my desk and began to run out of the classroom. My teacher called after me and my classmates giggled at the crazy child who spoke to the air.
I ignored their jeers and my teachers threats, I ignored the hall monitor as he instructed me to get to class right that instant, I ignored everyone and everything that tried to get in my way. They didn't understand. They didn't see it like I did.
I ran down the stairs leading up to the entrance and down the sidewalks leading into town. Somehow I knew where it went without it having to tell me or giving me a map of some kind. I couldn't explain it but it felt like an invisible hand pushing me in the right direction.
I got very excited when I could feel myself getting closer and closer. Until I realized I had to go down the same street that my house was on to get to It. I knew my mom didn't have to work and she would see my zoom by the house. I knew she would try to stop me like my teacher did. And I knew that unlike my teacher, I would probably listen to her.
I took my chances and raced down the sidewalk across the street from my house. I was almost there when I heard my mom shout, "STOP! IT'S NOT WORTH IT!" I slowed down but didn't stop. But, I kept thinking about what she said. It's not worth it.
It's not worth what? It's just a fun game, right? And the best part was the prize for winning was winning Happiness. I wonder what winning Happiness felt like. I've never done it before.
But what if I didn't get it. What if I just chased it and chased it until my legs broke. The temptation was too much, the cost too great, and the risk was too high. It just wasn't worth it because being sad was far worst than not being happy.
I stopped in my tracks and turned to face my mother. Her curlers were still in her hair even though that it looks like one was about to fall out. Her robe was still on which meant she had just started getting ready for the day. Her face showed nothing but relief.
I, on the other hand, felt cold all the sudden. I knew It wasn't there anymore. I knew I would have to face my classmates tomorrow, I knew that I would be sad for a while, I also knew one day I would find it again and chase it until I have it in my hand when I was better prepared for the challenge.
I woke up to the violent wind that had woken me up. It was beginning to form a mini tornado in front of me. The tornado began to glow bright and fierce. Then, it wasn't a tornado anymore but a person.
It was a very tall person, possibly six feet tall. He had long, curly, blonde hair and a crooked nose. One of his eyes was a deep blue that looked like the bottom of the ocean he was standing in and the other eye was such a strong hazel that it nearly sucked me in just looking at it such as the tornado that had formed him. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and jeans with holes in them. The clothes seemed so average compared to such a shocking face.
"Hello." He called and all of the sudden the wind ceased like time stopped, I wondered if it actually did. I had no way of knowing. "I am here to tell you that you have to stop chasing Happiness. For Happiness is not the destination you have been seeking for the last ten years. It is the journey. It is not something you can hold in the palm of your hand or catch like a ball. It comes in waves when you are around your loved ones or you accomplished a great task. Happiness is short and sweet. You can't hold onto it."
"T-then what is that ball of light? Why can I see it if it isn't a destination? Why did it tell me to come and get it if it could not be caught?" I asked the question that I have always wondered.
"That ball of light is a temptation or a trick. You can see it because it knows you crave and you feel like you need it. It wants you to chase it and feel unworthy because you could not catch it. It wants you to feel unsatisfied for the rest of your life. It wants you to only feel the warmth on your fingertips but never get close enough to have the whole thing. That thing is not true Happiness. It was simply created to ruin your life and try to make you forgot about your reality for a while."
"But why? Who would create such a thing?"
The Tornado Man touched my shoulder softly and looked in my eyes. "It has been around for some time now. No one knows exactly how it started or why. The most important thing you know is what you have been chasing is not real, only an illusion. Go home and feel the real happiness and when it does come, savor it."
"I can't. I left my family to go chase it." I whimpered, about to cry but trying my best to hold it together.
"Go and be sad no more." He said again, softly. The wind began to start back up again and time resumed. The Tornado Man was wrapped up in it's strong forces and carried away to an unknown place.
I slowly got off the shore and began to walk home, already beginning to feel my heart begin to heal.