March 1, 2015

The Chance

Elmo has always been an unlucky guy, or so he thought. With his brother being the star basketball player in school and his sister the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, Elmo always felt way way behind his older siblings. He believed that he wasn’t good-looking enough, not smart enough nor talented enough. He always blamed his being not his parents’ favorite.
But favoritism has nothing to do with it. The truth is, Elmo doesn’t focus on anything, on his looks, on his studies, on sports or anything. So, it was a wonder he finished high school. But college was too much for him. He saw no point in getting college education when he was sure he wouldn’t be accepted to work for any company.
Unlike his brother who became an engineer and his sister who became a journalist, Elmo lived a pathetic and reckless life. His parents have long given up trying to encourage him to do something productive. But when his father had a stroke, Elmo started to think of what he would do with his life if his parents died.
So, as soon as his father came out of the hospital, he talked to him and asked him for his help, with a firm promise that this was the last time. He needed a capital for a small business he had in mind. His father was glad that Elmo finally came to his senses, but was sincerely sad that he could not give him the amount he needed.
The least he could do, though, was to ask Elmo’s siblings to help him. But Elmo’s brother and sister, less understanding than their parents, would not lend him money, but they were willing to give him a job.  That left Elmo no choice but to work for his older siblings, but made a mental promise to get back at them when his business succeeds.
After several months, Elmo saved enough money for his business. So, with his carefully laid plan, he withdrew his savings from the bank to scout for the perfect location and probably buy new equipment. While on his way, he passed by the casino which was still close at this time of day.
Finding a place was harder than Elmo thought. The ones he found were either too small, or too big, or the rent was too high. So, he just decided to go home and try again the following day. Again, he passed by the casino which was now brightly lit by various colored lights. Elmo looked at his watch and decided that it was still early. He thought that after working very hard for several months, he deserved a treat so an hour or two at the casino won’t do any harm.
Once inside, Elmo forgot everything and everyone else, the business, his parents, his plans, everything. All he could think about was why he stayed away from this fabulous place for a long time. Feeling unreasonably lucky, he bet his money and was overjoyed when he won.
Time stood still for Elmo, he’d never felt more alive in his life. Now, finally, was the luck he’d been waiting for all his life. So, that was the reason he never got lucky in anything, his luck was on this, gambling. He bet, and bet,  and bet, even the first taste of loss didn’t have any effect on Elmo, after all he won earlier so he didn’t lose anything.. yet.
By midnight, Elmo was already losing half of his hard earned money. But he couldn’t stop. If he did, he won’t be able to get back the money he already lost. So, he kept on betting until he had nothing left to bet. Elmo went home poorer than he had ever been. Not only did he lose his savings, there was also no way he could explain its loss to his family.
The following day, Elmo was summoned by his mother. His father was taken to the hospital and she was afraid he wouldn’t make it through. Lying on his deathbed, Elmo’s father signaled for him to come over and spoke his final words.
You were never unlucky, my son. All you needed to do was gather your wits together and focus on what you wanted to do with your life and work your way through it. I’ve always believed in you even though you didn’t believe in yourself. Under our bed at home is a tiny vault, I’ve been saving money just so I could help you long after I’m gone. With the money you saved and the content of the vault, you can have a business bigger than you planned for. I believe in you son, more than you would ever know..'”
Elmo’s father died that day, but his hope and dream were born. His father had always believed in him so why wouldn’t he? With the small amount of money his father left him, Elmo started a cart of street food. Every day, rain or shine, he would go out and sell on the street. When he got too tired to get up in the morning, he would look at the old vault on his bedside table and find the strength to move on.
Year after year, Elmo labored, with one goal in heart and mind, to be deserving of the faith his father had in him. After several years, Elmo had three branches of a fine diner in the city. With the help of his brother and sister who were overwhelmed by his determination, he was able to put up a nice place which eventually branched out to two more.
At times, Elmo thought he saw his father inside the diner sipping a cup of coffee with a warm smile on his face.
(Original story by the blog author, any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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