"IT'S FINALLY HERE!"
Aden's mother whipped around to find that the source of all that racket was her son.
"Keep your voice down, Aden!" she retorted fiercely. "At this volume, you'll wake the dead!"
Aden scratched his ear, clearly pleased yet guilty for making his mother angry. "I can't help it, mum. I've been working too hard on this."
Aden had just completed his first-ever book, and sent it for publishing a few weeks ago. He had been utterly jittery and nervous ever since. His condition alarmed his father to such a rate that he had ushered him to the hospital. Needless to say, he never got better until he heard news of his book.
It was during a warm evening that he got the news.
His book had been accepted for publication.
"YEAHHHHHHH!" he yelled all day, kissing his mobile phone over and over again since it had been the harbinger of the wonderful information.
"Tune it down, idiot," his younger sister Amy lashed out while deeply immersed in playing online games. "You look like a pig that has gone crazy."
"Pig- I don't look like a pig!"
"Yeah, you do," she snorted. He crossed his arms and scowled at her, who scowled back with double the effort. In the end, it was their father who intervened and saved the situation.
But not even this major argument (which happened on a daily basis) could turn down Aden's spirits. Only one thought kept buzzing all day long in his head.
I am an author.
As soon as he would return from school, he would jump onto the author copy he had received and flip lovingly through it... at least, until his mother would threaten him with broccoli for dinner unless he went back to his studies.
One day, he returned from his school to see his father beaming at him. He seemed very pleased with himself.
"I did it," he said smugly. "I uploaded about your book on social media."
"That's so cool! Thanks, dad!" Aden cried. He ran to his own room, wondering why he didn't get the idea of using his social media handle for popularity before. He sat in front of his laptop and lost no time in typing at top speed about his book and ended putting up the cover of his book.
"That should do, right?" he spoke to himself. Satisfied, he headed downstairs to trouble his sister.
Everything was going fine till then. It was an ecstatic moment, and he proceeded to drown himself blissfully in it.
But he didn't know what was coming.
A couple of days later, his animated squeals were heard from upstairs.
Amy shook her head in disgust. "There he goes again," she sighed. "I'm going to take him to a psychiatrist one of these days."
"Shut up," Aden roared as he skipped downstairs. "Mum- You won't believe this!"
"What is it, cheesecake?" his mother replied fondly. His face scrunched up. "Don't call me that, mum. It sounds disgusting," he said. "Anyway, you won't believe it! My number of followers increased ever since I put up that post!"
"That sounds great, dear," she said. "But don't let it get to your head."
"Ugh, mum, why do you have to be such a killjoy?" he snapped and stomped back up, accompanied by the snorts and sniggers of his sister.
She never understood him. She never cared for him. In fact, his followers on social media were much better compared to her. At least, they listened.
But he was in for a real shock in the next forty-eight hours.
"I can write better in my sleep."
Aden woke up to this message being flashed into his face on a fine Saturday morning. He sat up stiff like a ramrod when he realized...
That was the first hate comment he had received in a few weeks.
He scrolled down nervously. The views for the post were many, but mingled with his fan comments were several hate comments now- all influenced by that one line which had been shoved into his face early in the morning.
His eyes widened in shock as he nervously plucked the mobile from Amy's hand and scrolled down.
"I finished reading it yesterday, and believe me- it is total trash."
"My five-year-old sister writes better."
"Is this even a book? More like a product of childish pastime."
"Why on earth did you publish a mistake?"
Aden's blood boiled.
So, his hard work, his dedication, his tolerance, his endurance, his determination...
It was all labelled a MISTAKE?
Things went downhill pretty fast from there. Others who saw the post were easily influenced by the hate comments and wrote a few crass statements, not realizing that these were making Aden sink into depression.
He was falling, falling, falling...
He couldn't look back. He couldn't see. He couldn't come out of that hole he had buried himself into.
His father only noticed something was wrong when Aden suddenly threw up one day and fainted in the hallway.
"Rush him to the hospital!" his dad yelled. "Call 911! Quick!"
His condition had become serious. Aden's parents were worried sick, and even his sister had a frown creasing steadily into her brow by the time the doctor had patched him up.
When they were allowed inside, they rushed in and his mother threw herself upon him.
"Mum, that's... overdoing it," Amy said, her silken tone returning rapidly. "He isn't dying, he only messed up the house."
Her mother glared at him, and Amy shut up, for she loved her dear life.
Aden woke up a few minutes later, and his family crowded around him.
"How are you?"
"Why did this happen?"
"We were so worried!"
Aden pushed himself up on his elbow. "Seriously," he sighed. "Is this how you treat sick people?"
They retreated, looking guilty. His father sensed that something was amiss. He turned to his wife and daughter. "Can I be alone with him for a few minutes?"
They nodded and left the room.
"So," he said. "Did something happen at school?"
Aden was taken aback by how direct his father was. However, he silently shook his head. "It's my book."
"Well, what about it?"
"I... I got tons of hate from the readers, and now anybody who sees it has a biased opinion formed."
"Is that it?" his father exclaimed. Aden nodded, and turned his face away. "You won't understand, dad."
His father came over and settled himself down by the side of his bed. "Do you know that I was a below-average student in school?" he said quietly. Aden shook his head, quite shocked. "You're a genius! That's impossible."
"It wasn't," his father smiled. "I was often bullied about it. But do you know what I did? I ignored them, and learnt at my own pace. Now all those bullies have a lot of respect for me."
"Serves them right," Aden said, gnashing his teeth.
"The point is, son," his father continued. "All of us have a different kind of clock set inside us which we cannot control. Some clocks move too fast and slow down to normal pace in the future. Some are steady from the beginning.
"But there are other rarer ones which take it slow and easy, and function at top speed once they have been worked well. You and me, we are like that. You don't have to take it all to heart and go at your own pace. you'll find happiness in life and success as an author later at your own time."
"Are you serious, dad?" Aden sniffed. His father gave an encouraging nod.
Aden grinned. "Then bring me that chocolate bar you promised me for my birthday, and I'll behave."
His father smacked his head. His son seemed to have missed the point, but it did cheer him up for now.
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A warning about the dangers of social media-you don’t see that too often in stories. I related to Aden massively, especially when he read his own book instead of doing homework XD One thing that didn’t stick was Aden’s dad sort of agreeing with him that his book was a failure. As I understood it, the comments were both good and bad.
Wow! That was really wholesome. Thanks for reading and reviewing!😁
Yeah, I noticed that just now (months after writing the story 😂) I still have to work on establishing a character's personality fully in a story
Beautifully written. It tells us to not give up. The facepalm part was good👍
Thanks 😊 I personally liked the end too