Prince Abakanovich 2018-02-19
The Hard Truth We Must Face

With a blissful face I boarded the emirate plane flying to Russia from Ghana. Welcome aboard, she said with a dimple smile and directed me to my seat. I looked sheepishly at her as she left my seat to help other passengers aboard. She was an elegant stewardess. I have always lived within my comfort zone and adventurousness was something anyone would least associate with me. It took a month for my family to convince me to accept the study offer in Russia. I was a proud victim of the “What if” syndrome. Travelling abroad was the greatest challenge I ever faced, but that I took with the view of helping myself become a risk-taker.

I heard an unusually soft knock at my door while unpacking. I had just arrived at my hostel at Saint Petersburg State University. “Who could it be?”, I asked myself and proceeded to the door to check. At the door stood a Russian girl dressed in a luscious white mini skirt matching perfectly with a pink peplum top. The skirt clearly outlined her feminine curves and her beauty got me mesmerized for almost a minute after which I invited her in and offered her a seat. She introduced herself as Anastasia.

Nastya was my next door neighbor and course-mate as well. We trekked to almost all lectures together. I bet I was a more faithful servant than the octagonal quartz wall clock in her room. The sound my key made as I locked my door for lectures was enough to alert her that it was time to leave for class. We both enjoyed each other’s company.

I remember vividly the first picture we took together near the Saint Petersburg Hermitage Museum. It’s been my favorite screensaver for years. 

Risk taking had always been a headache throughout my life. I feared she will say ‘No’. I feared she might reject my offer. I feared the privilege of walking to school with her will end if I made it known to her about my love for her. Nastya was indeed my definition of true beauty. Any day that I wanted to give it a try, the almighty question came to mind;

‘What if she refuses?’

My mum always advised me never to mince words when expressing my feelings to someone but I have never manned up to it. It still hurt so much as if it was yesterday. I wonder why I couldn’t tell her even after staring into her eyes for several minutes. The atmosphere was perfect for the occasion – we had just received our bachelor’s degree and she suggested we spend some time together at the Peterhof Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

She really admired the aesthetics of the fountains. As we stood close to the Finland gulf river near the palace, she embraced me firmly and whispered, asking if I had something to tell her. And guess what? I could not utter a word. I was too afraid to take the risk.

Nastya is now married to my roommate and the two are on a honeymoon to Las Vegas. I cried the whole night when my roomie invited me to be his best man for the wedding. Surprisingly, Nastya left a note for me on the eve to her reads; “I loved you but it seem you never did”.

I was always waiting for the right time which never came. I wept brutally at the church premises after she responded ’I do’ to McCarthy John, my roomie. I decided firmly that day, that the right time is always now or never.

What is preventing you from learning that skill you so desire? What is preventing you from applying to that company or firm you’ve always dreamt about? What is preventing you from asking her out on a date? What is preventing you from applying for that scholarship? What is preventing you from asking him or her for forgiveness? What is delaying your decision to apply to that dreamed university? What is preventing you from taking SAT/GMAT/TOEFL? I hope the answer is far-fetched from the ‘what if syndrome. If not, you are doing yourself more harm than good. A word to the wise is enough.

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool, to weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return, To live is to risk dying, To hope is to risk despair, To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who takes risks is free.

The pessimist complains about the wind;

The optimist expects it to change;

And the realist adjusts the sails."