So I was looking through some of my old stuff from high school today. It was kind of cool to see how far I’ve come in life. All of my old projects and assignments were sitting there in big piles of paper and miscellany. Everything was organized in different sections corresponding to the different classes that I was taking.
I was looking through a folder marked, “Spanish 2” while laughing at all of my mistakes that I had made during the beginning of that year. It was good to see all of those mistakes once more to remind me of how far I’ve come.
Then, all of a sudden, I flipped to the end of the folder (the end of the year) and I saw a half sheet of paper fall out. Typed on the paper were guidelines to a project. Curious, I took a look. There was another paper that looked like a rough draft, stapled to the back of the half sheet. I looked at that too.
And that’s when all of the memories started flowing back.
The assignment was to write a children’s story in Spanish using the vocabulary that we had learned that section. That was all. Simple, creative-probing, and seemingly simple.
The paper stapled to the back of the assignment was the rough draft of the story that I had written. At first, when I read the rough draft, I thought, “Wait, I don’t remember the story ending like this! Who in their right mind would write this in a children’s book?” Don’t worry; it wasn’t inappropriate. Just morbid.
I realized that I must have thought that way at the time, altering the ending to the assignment in order to make it actually sound like a children’s book. When I read the rough draft again, I did a double-take.
Apparently, I was going through some kind of struggle back then as well. In fact, the post that I had written on my silent struggles here had the same exact theme as the rough draft. Boy, I had one interesting childhood.
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you the translated version of the rough draft, mixed with some details that I had added in the final draft, as I feel as if this would convey the true message. See if you can spot the similarities between the rough draft and my post/struggles described.
Lucas the Fish: The Hero of the Waters, and of the Fish
There once was a fish named Lucas. He often swam by himself at the beach. He always smiled and laughed at the whimsical things in life, but he rarely talked or played with the other fish. His golden, almost rainbow-like scales shone beneath the surface of the water.
Not a fish particularly known for his looks, Lucas made up for this with his intelligence. He only spoke good things and happy, peace-bringing things, the truth. All of the other fish often asked, “Why don’t you want to play with us, Lucas?” Like always, he just smiled and laughed. Not a mean, condescending laugh, but a playful laugh filled with joy and the happiness of life.
One day, there was a festival being held under the ocean. All of the fish in the entire ocean had come to the festival. The reporter fish were there as well, trying to find out the cause of the festival, but no one had any idea. When Lucas came to the festival, they tried to see if he knew, but Lucas only smiled and laughed, saying nothing. Eventually, the reporters gave up and just enjoyed themselves at the festival.
There was a shark at the festival, talking to the fish when Lucas arrived. “I am Guillermo, the might of the sea! No one can swim faster than me! Who will dare to try to race? I can be sure that he will be made a disgrace.”
All of the other fish looked at each other in fear. “What should we do?”, they whispered among themselves, “We can’t swim faster than him at all! Who is willing to try?”
Everyone, finally, turned to Lucas. The fish stared at him in silence at first. Finally, one small fish piped up, “Will you swim against Guillermo, Lucas? You’re our only hope…”
Lucas smiled and laughed his usual way. He asked his friends, “Do you all think that I have a chance? Do you all think that I should race?”
“Yes, Lucas!” they chorused.
With tears in his eyes, Lucas looked around. “Thank you, my friends,” he quietly said, and swam over to Guillermo amid the cheering of his friends.
Guillermo looked down at the small fish swimming before him. “Do you think that you have what it takes?” he asked, voice oozing with arrogance. Lucas looked him straight in the eyes and nodded. The shark looked around in disbelief and started to snicker. “Better make this quick,” he thought to himself.
The two swam to the starting line of the course set up around the festival. An announcer swam up in between them. “Here,” he started to introduce, “is the world-renowned champion of the seas, Guillermo!” The shark stood up to silent, muted applause. “And here,” continued the announcer, “is his contender, Lucas!” Shouts arose as the fish swam above all of his friends, and a chant had started.
After the chant died down, the announcer spoke to both of the fish. “Okay, I want a clean race. No cheating. No cutting the course. Any questions?” The two shook their heads no, to which the announcer shouted, “Then, without further ado, get ready, get set…”
The two fish got ready at the starting line. Guillermo spat on the ground in front of Lucas, expecting a reaction. He was denied the satisfaction as Lucas turned to him, smiling and laughing. Misinterpreting this laugh, Guillermo snarled, “Why you little-”
Both fish sped off from the finish line at the command. Cheers erupted from all around the course. The race was on!
At first, Guillermo seemed to be in the lead. Laughing, the shark looked back to gauge the distance between himself and Lucas. Right then, however, a golden, almost rainbow-like blur passed by his face. Lucas had gained the lead!
With the finish line in sight, Lucas pushed on with all of his remaining strength. He could hear the shouts of his friends and the other fish. He was almost there-
A tail hit Lucas on the side, sending him spiraling towards the seabed. As he was falling, his whole world seemed to be passing him in slow motion. He saw Guillermo racing across the finish line, Guillermo dancing as the crowd booed, Guillermo being given the medal, Guillermo being bailed out by the referee, who was shouting something about violence not being included in the restrictions of the race, Guillermo-
When Lucas came to, he was lying in an ambulance. Several of his friends were there in the back, watching him. When he opened his eyes, they started. “Lucas, don’t try to move!” they cried, “They say that you have a broken back… everything will be fine… you’ll get better… that was a rigged race…”
Lucas came to again, this time in the hospital. All of his friends were there, anxiously staring at him. He sat up, a cast around his waist and dorsal fin, but fell back again. His friends cried out, rushing to his side. As they sat there, weeping, Lucas looked up, smiled and laughed weakly, and said, softly, “That was a good race…”
“You know that the race was completely rigged! Why don’t you tell the reporters what happened?”
Lucas laughed again, a hacking kind of noise. “I can’t… just look at me… I’m not sure that I look… well… for the cameras…”. All of his friends laughed through their tears at this joke, happy that their friend was still his same optimistic self.
Lucas continued, “If you want, you all can tell the world what happened… but for now… I think I need a rest…”. He fell back, closing his eyes, the effects of the anesthetics and injections given to him starting to take over.
Lucas still swims alone. He still swims at the beach, still optimistic and intelligent, kind to all. Lucas has many friends now, friends that support him and cherish him.
Deep inside his mind, however, Lucas is eternally crying. He is eternally weeping. Inside his mind, Lucas swims alone. No friends are there. He often feels as if there is something missing, as if he is on the verge of finding it, but it slips away, just out of his reach.
His scales have lost some of their luster.
But, whenever Lucas thinks back towards Guillermo, towards the race, he is happy. Why is he happy, the fish ask? Why would you be happy with the verdict of that race?
“It is because I have found out part of what was missing inside of me,” he explains. “I don’t feel as if winning or losing would have changed me. What I did find out was that I was and still am appreciated and loved. People actually understand me.”
“I am missing things, true. But I am missing less.”
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