Weekly Writing Challenge: Obstacles of Time

by Shawnong

Hugging my knees, I sat in the grandstand of an unsurprisingly empty stadium, facing a sparse landscape. The air was persistently still and thus the trees and grass were rigid. My view was so immobile, it could have easily mistaken it to be painting. The extreme humidity made me perspire even before training had started. I cursed under my breath at the repulsive weather and hoped in vain for some rain so that training would be cancelled. Snapping away from my delusional thoughts, my vision shifted toward my wrist-watch which displayed “4.30 P.M” . A wry smile plastered across my face and I sniggered. “Coach is perpetually late” thinking aloud to myself.

I sat there waiting, for what seemed like eternity…

Time came to a standstill. My vision is blurry albeit fixated on the finishing line. My coach is gesticulating wildly; probably to remind me of my running technique, but I hardly take notice. My heart palpitated ferociously to draw in as much oxygen as possible, as if a brief pause of activity could be fatal. I could still taste the tartness from the remnants of the vomit from the previous 500m  on my tongue. Despite running as hard as I could, the line didn’t want to come closer.

Finally, the familiar click of the stopwatch resounded through my eardrums while my body trudged across the line.  Collapsing immediately to all fours, I felt the inevitable surge of lactic acid in my lower extremity. That feeling was not foreign to me at all, however, it felt worse each subsequent time. Writhing with brutal agony, each breath I took felt like a stab to the lungs. My head was spinning and a sharp pain shot across my jawline. Oblivious to my debilitated state, my coach bellowed “8 minutes” with such unparalleled nonchalance.

My eyelids shut involuntarily and the only audible sound was a heavy panting. I laid, waiting in intense apprehension.

I’m waiting now, again, with apprehension and exhaustion. Staring at the clock, eager for the second-hand to speed up, as it dictates the fate of time. This time, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. After having endured 4 years of secondary education, I sincerely dread attending another day of school,another day of sitting in class, hearing but not listening to the torturous voice of the teacher. I shudder at the thought- the GCE O Level Examination results are to be released in about 2 weeks, marking the start of my misery.

Strangely, I recall the days of my training. I realise that I equally dreaded each training session and feared every forthcoming set during practice, but I always willed myself through the pain and prevailed. Men can only grow under demanding circumstances, just like how diamonds can form only under high pressures and temperatures. I believe the true strength and beauty of an individual will shine only under the immensity of trials and tribulations . I now regard obstacles as opportunities to make me a stronger person, holding the mantra

“God Gives His Battles To His Toughest Soldiers”.