The Marks You Leave Behind

6 min

Unforgettable College tales by Kaitan Lobo

To get angry is normal for us humans but getting angry and reacting to it by harming others is not so normal. Sam was a young man who would get angry sooner than the blink of an eye. Nevertheless the problem had not ended there, once he would become angry he had no control over himself. In the heat of the moment Sam would give into his instincts regardless of the consequences. If he felt like abusing someone he would abuse, if he felt like beating someone he would beat up.

One good thing about Sam was that he always apologized for his mistake once his rage had gone down but not everyone forgave. They knew well in  their hearts and minds that Sam would do it again whenever he will become angry. His colleagues, neighbors, friends were tired of his weird ways.

One day Sam had to submit an important assignment in the college. It was the last day and Sam had forgotten the assignment back at home. While he was leaving the house his friend Janet had called him over the phone and so Sam thought that the  sole reason of this problem was Janets’ phone call. He immediately thought  of confronting Janet.

“You idiot, it’s only because of you that I won’t be able to submit the assignment today!” said Sam in a rather harsh tone.

Janet being a very good friend of  Sam knew that Sam’s weakness always gets over him. So in a very peaceful manner Janet said, “ Sam I am really sorry for putting you in trouble. But I am sure we can do something about   it. There is always a way out.”

Sam was agitated because Janet had not reacted to his anger and so he banged the bench saying, “ You really think there is a way out of this ? (Sam takes Janets assignment and tears it!) , here it is, this is the way out.”

Saddened and shocked Janet said, “You shouldn’t have done this Sam. It’s not right.”

But Sam in his anger and with no guilt said, “That’s the only way out Janet. Because of you I couldn’t submit my assignment and now because of me you can’t submit yours. Now we are equal so just get lost.” Without uttering a word Janet goes with tears in her eyes.

That night as usual Sam felt sorry for what he had done and was feeling very guilty. He decided that he would sincerely apologize for his mistake and ask pardon from Janet. Next morning Sam headed early to the university to apologize for what had happened. But on the previous evening when Sam was feeling sorry for what he had done, Janet was feeling pity for her friend Sam who was unable to control his anger. Janet knew that Sam was good at heart and he didn’t do it out of malice to trouble her, she knew very well that at that moment Sam was not in control of  himself and so he had done it. Janet wasn’t angry with Sam rather she was thinking of ways to help him. That evening after a lot of thought process and soul searching Janet was finally ready with her plan to teach Sam a lesson for life.

In the morning as Janet entered the classroom Sam rushed to her and said, “Janet I know it’s not easy for you to forgive me but I want to sincerely beg pardon for my mistake. I realize that I shouldn’t have been so harsh on you. I hope you will forgive me.”

With a peaceful and gentle smile on her face Janet said, “Don’t worry Sam. I have written my assignment again so it’s over now and I had forgiven you yesterday itself!”These words helped Sam to be at peace with himself. That morning Janet entered the classroom with something unusual and noticing that Sam asked   her, “By the way Janet what is that in your hands? Are you up to making something?”

“Yes, I am going to renew a life” said Janet with a reflective smile. Sam was unsure and looked confused.

“I have brought this plank of wood, some nails and a hammer for you. Henceforth whenever you are angry again you will have to take a nail and hammer it on this plank. And later on when your anger subsides you will remove the nail back.”

Without a question Sam agreed to whatever Janet had said. After a month Janet asked Sam to get the plank to her house. Once they were together Janet began to explain Sam the reason for this exercise, “Look Sam this plank are the people in your life, the hammer represents you and the nails represent  your anger. Every time you get angry you hammer your anger on these people and when you feel guilty you remove the nail when you ask pardon.”

Sam said, “I get it till here. But what’s the point of doing all this?”

With serenity Janet asked Sam, “After removing the nails once your anger is gone what remains back?”

Sam answered, “The marks left behind  by the nails.”

With a sigh Janet said, “ Yes, these marks are the hurts, the bad feelings and the scars that remain back in the hearts of the people even after you   have apologized. These marks are irrevocable. Instead of removing the nails back, don’t you think it would have been better if you wouldn’t have hammered the nails at all? There would have been no marks at all!” Sam realized the wrong he was doing and with tears in his eyes he felt sorry for all that he had done. It was then that he realized the meaning of Janets words – ‘I am going to renew a life.’ Indeed Sam was now renewed. Every time he got angry he remembered that he doesn’t want to leave a mark behind. He had truly transformed!

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Kaitan Lobo