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Smiling Depression

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As Preye walked down the hall, she felt the stares of her classmates, like a heavy weight pressing down on her. She felt trapped under their gaze, unable to escape the scrutiny of their eyes. She couldn't understand the reason for their stares, couldn't fathom what they were thinking, and that uncertainty made her even more anxious. Preye stood there, frozen in uncertainty, when suddenly she felt a warm embrace from behind. A familiar voice whispered in her ear, 'Is he really gone?' The voice breaking with grief and anguish. **** Love. Pain. Laughter. Sorrow Ani, an exuberant guy, whose outward deamenor brightening the life of others is trapped in his inner turmoil. He was a beacon of light in the darkness, but the flame within him flickered and dimmed. His words a salve for broken souls, yet his own heart remained a tangle of shadows. The world clamors for his attention, yet he is a stranger in his own life, an outcast in his own mind, a solitary figure, adrift in a sea of noise. Could this be a curse from above, a divine decree? Or the fruit of his own misdeeds, the wages of his sins.

CHAPTER 1

"I'm a ship adrift, tossed by the waves of life. I yearned for an anchor, a safe harbor to call my own, but instead, I'm caught in the storm, battered by the winds of change. I feel like I am at the mercy of fate, helpless and alone. I'm at the sea, at sixes and sevens, at the end of my ropes, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Am I seeing the situation clearly or am I just catastrophizing; preoccupied with some flight of fancy? No, I am not. My thoughts are running away from me and I am starting to spiral into a pit of anxiety and worries. My heart is aching within me, my soul seek succor, and my eyes long for tears." Ani spoke to himself in a hushed whisper, his words were a secret soliloquy.

"Ani! Ani!" Preye's voice cut through the silence, sharp and piercing like a knife.

"Y...yes," Ani stammered, his voice quavering with angst.

"We only have few minutes until the business law lecture begins," Preye said, her voice tinged with urgency.

"I have no desire to attend this lecture," Ani said, his voice laden with frustration. "The lecturer spends the whole time regaling us with stories about his life, as if we're just a captive audience for his autobiography."

Preye laughed, shaking her head. "Well, you have to give him credit for being the 'most entertaining lecturer.' He may not teach much about the course material, but his stories certainly keep us entertained!"

Ani smirked. "I think if he'd studied literature instead of accounting, he'd have a first-class degree! He certainly has a way with words, even if it's not related to the course material."

"LOL, why don't you tell him that when we get there?" Preye said a mischievous glint in her eye .

Ani's jaw dropped to the floor, as if it had suddenly unhinged itself. "You've got to be joking! I'd rather go mute than get an F!".

Preye burst into laughter, her sides aching from the effort. She wiped the tears from her eyes and straightened up, a commanding air about her. "Alright, no more dawdling! Let's get a move on!"

Ani grinned, his eyes twinkling. "I'm always happy to follow your lead, ma'am! Lead the way, oh fearless one!" He said with a wink and a nudge, his tone light and teasing.

Preye linked her arm through Ani's and they walked down the hallway together, their laughter echoing off the walls. They turned the corner, heading towards the lecture hall, their steps light and carefree.

LECTURE HALL

The lecture hall was a cavernous space, the ceiling towering above, the walls lined with windows. The rows of seats stretched out before the podium, like a sea of humanity, each face eager and curious. It was filled with a chorus of voices, a harmony of discussion and debate. The students' words rang out like music, a symphony of thought and opinion. The energy in the room was electric, the air buzzing with ideas and possibilities. The air was thick with ideas, each one waiting to be released, like a genie in a bottle.

"Hey pretty, mind if I put my little *ss here with you?" Ani asked, smiling softly and his eyes twinkling.

"Sure! but you gotta promise me those derriere won't act funny today," Ehi retorted with a playful smirk.

"(Giggles) Well, Preye stopped me from eating beans today, so you can rest easy knowing you are safe." Ani responded with a clever quip

"All good! you can have your seat, Mr Ani," Ehi uttered with envy written all over her. Her face betrayed every trace of envy, her eyes narrowed and her mouth twisted in a grimace. Her posture was tense, her hands clenched into fists, every muscle in her body stiff and rigid. It was as if the very air around her was filled with the scent of jealousy, a pungent and acrid odor that permeated the room.

"Mr Ani! Are you for real? The last time I checked, I have no ring on my finger." Ani instantaneously retorted, hung on her word, desperate for an explanation.

"We do not need a ring! even the blind man could tell you're involved with Preye." Ehi shoot back with a tone of irritation. Her response was tinged with anger, she spoke with a carefully controlled time that belied her fury.

His mind was reeling from her response. He was left in a state of disbelief, stunned by her bizarre reaction. His thoughts racing to process what he'd just heard.

"Oh! It seems pointless to keep up the pretense of secrecy when everyone knows about our relationship. I think we should just announce our engagement and be done with it. What do you think, Ehi" Ani replied with aplomb.

"You shouldn't be asking me that! Don't be silly, Little Man!" Ehi snapped back, staring at him with disdain. Her face twisted into a sneer as she looked at him. The disgust was palpable,  she stared at him as if he were some kind of insect that she wanted to squash under her heel. She was full of contempt for him, and it showed in every line of her face.

"Looks like someone' got a bad case of the green -eyed monster! Maybe you should try a cure for envy" Ani replied sarçastically, as he turned his gaze towards the entrance of the hall. "oh, the storyteller has arrived" he said.

"Quiet down, everyone! get yourself ready for the lecture!" Helen uttered raising her voice tithe rafters

"Oh yeah! Our great storyteller is here and he is bringing tales from faraway land." Ani backed up with a wink and a smile.

The whole class erupted in laughter.

Suddenly, there was stillness in the hall that a pin could have dropped and been heard. As he walked through the door, the sound of his footsteps reverberated through the hall, announcing his presence. His appearance was like a breath of fresh air, his presence bringing a sense of energy and excitement to the room. He carried himself with grace and purpose, exuding a sense of calm and confidence that immediately caught the attention of those around him. He moved through the hall like a well-practiced dancer, his steps light and measured, his eyes surveying the crowd with an air of curiosity and interest. His hair was styled in a way that suggested he had taken time and care in his appearance, and his clothes were impeccably pressed and tailored.

     "Good day, duck heads."Mr Anderson words dripped with sacarsm. His voice was youthful and animated, full of life and energy.

"You look stunning, Sir " Preye voice rang out, loud and clear. He turned to face the person who had complimented him, his face breaking into a wide, genuine smile. His eyes crinkled at the corners, and he let out a small chuckle, as if he couldn't quite believe that someone had said such a nice thing to him.

"I appreciate your candor, even if I don't appreciate the lack of flattery." Mr Anderson shoot back. "Compliment has a way of disarming even the most defenses of defense but 'Guard on Always'. And that brings to my mind a memory from my childhood, when I was 10 years old." Mr Anderson uttered as he turned to meet the eyes of the class

"Here we are again! he never disappoint." Ani spoke in a hushed tone so as not to attract attention

"So this was how it happened, I was 10, young and naive although outrageous and obstinate......." Mr Anderson continued..

As if a switch had been flipped, Ani's mind wandered to a private place. His thoughts drifted from the present moment and took flight into a mysterious realm of memory. "My mind is a labyrinth of despair, a maze of confusion and fear. I am bound by my own limitations, trapped in a prison of throe. I am like a prisoner of my own making, shackled by own  thoughts.  I feel there is a dark cloud hanging over me, it's been going on for so long and I don't know how to escape it!  I need to be free, to find myself again, to be whole, to feel at home in my own skin." His thoughts spiraled inward, spinning around and around like a whirlpool, drawing him deeper and deeper into a well of introspection.

"So from that point on, I vowed never to be caught off guard again. No matter what life throws at me, I'll be ready to face it head-on. But for now, I must bid you farewell, as you have a big test coming up. I hope you will prepare wisely and use your time well. And don't forget Mr. Anderson's sage advice - to always be prepared and never let your guard down. Take care, and may the odds be ever in your favor!" Mr Anderson said with a final wave and a nod, he made his way to the door.

"A chorus of agreement filled the air, as the students responded in unison. 'Yes, Sir,' they said, their voices united in a single, respectful reply.

CHAPTER 2

As the class ended, a sense of calm washed over the room. The energy that had filled the space just moments before now dissipated, leaving only a gentle hush in its wake. The students lingered for a moment, as if reluctant to leave the cocoon of knowledge that had been created during the lecture. Then, one by one, they rose from their seats and made their way out into the world beyond.

"God to be praised! it's been a pretty good day." Ehi mentioned with a voice laden with exhaustion, each word an effort to utter.

"Yes, honestly! Mr Anderson excludes a lively energy that is contagious. He is in a class of his own when it comes to lecturing." Helen concurred with her words, giving them a stamp of approval. "What! did I just catch that you mentioned lecturing? C'mon, we shouldn't start this!" Ehi retorted sharply, her eyes narrowing as she fixed her gaze intently on the other person.

"Oh yeah, you heard me clearly! Ar

Heroes

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