His school-going years were great, replete with fond memories. Teachers nicknamed him “The Backwards King”, for he would move with ferocity when he used his feet to propel his wheelchair. He also had good grades, this antithesis of a “good-for-nothing” showing aptitude for mathematics. By the time he turned eighteen, his self-confidence grew.
But his happiness was short-lived. One morning, Wesley awoke to the cries of his grandmother. Panicking, he shouted for help, but out came was a farrago of slurred speech and mumbles, doing little to rend the silence. Aid finally arrived, and Wesley’s grandmother was rushed to the hospital. Wesley spent the entire day wallowing in shame, beating himself up for being useless and unable to help the one person he loved the most.
Unfortunately, Wesley’s grandmother passed away, and the light in his life was snuffed out. Now, he was sent back to live with his own family again. By this time, Wesley’s father had suffered a debilitating illness, so the physical abuse stopped. But tyranny had many arms, and abuse came in the form of words, each whittling away his built-up confidence. And then there was the emotional pain. Whenever his family had guests over, Wesley would be sequestered in his room, kept away like a family pet whose cuteness was all but spent, his existence faded into oblivion, forgotten not just by his family members but relatives as well. The day of his elder brother’s wedding, Wesley spent it crying, banished to his room.
A turning point in his life came when he reconciled with his father, now a shadow of his former glory due to his illness. One day, as his father sat ensconced in the sofa, Wesley plucked up the courage to approach him, and placing his hands on his legs, he began massaging his father. The two would spend hours a day conversing. His father apologised to him for his actions, explaining he only wanted his son to be able to walk. Wesley felt for the first time what it was like to have a loving father. But again, this bliss would be curtailed — his father passed away weeks before Wesley’s twenty-first birthday.
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