Tensions of troubled teenagers: short stories

Roger Ian Arnold
10 min readMay 5, 2021

The boy with a weird biological disorder by Roger Ian Arnold

What is life? The question might arise to all of us indeed. The question that seems to be really straightforward but as we explore this word, we get to realise that it isn’t as simple as it looks. Every day we come across ample of experiences. We face our fears, realise our mistakes, change our attitudes, start depending on our loved ones, break rules, obey rules, work harder, become lazy, become de motivated, become encouraged and so on.

Life does give us the will to carry on, but sometimes, we just feel like giving up, when we don’t have any answers to our problems.

We have class tests, term tests, driving tests, relationship tests, love tests, tests from friends or families, tests of being trusted, test of time, but the biggest test or the most difficult one, is the test of life, which we must endure, every second, every minute, every hour, every week, every fortnight, every month, every year and every single day. We fall but always fight back; sometimes we fail miserably, while other times we pass with ‘flying colours’. The key is to remain positively competitive and battle our way towards success.

‘Weird’ can have many different synonyms, some might refer to it as eerie and others might call it peculiar, or maybe even strange and probably even extraordinary. However, we all live our lives depending on our ethics.

Xavier Ian Vaughan was your ‘average Joe’, who always believed in himself, but his physical disability was a serious setback for him to perform daily tasks like an average human being. However, Xavier never gave up hope, he believed that his ‘so called’ disability shouldn’t dampen his performance as a person. He had to survive in this world.

From the time he stepped foot into this simple yet beautiful ‘mother nature’, his loved ones were in serious distress because the boy could end up being ‘looked after’ by others, all his life.

He wasn’t able to use both his legs effectively because it so happened that his right leg was thinner than the left one. Now, the definition of ‘thinner’ might be something like, a minor difference from the workable leg, but unfortunately for this kid, his right leg was as thin as a pencil, a fact that he could never change.

Apart from suffering physically, he also suffered mentally. His existence seemed to be poor in the worst possible sense. Xavier dealt with everyday life in a positive manner because he knew that losing hope will only lead to negativity within his mind. He would be ‘dead inside’ and working like a normal person would be somewhat ‘possibly impossible’.

Our will power to succeed in life is always regarded as a daily practice. For some people, to survive even a day can lead to challenges, both physically and mentally. Xavier was aware that his life would never turn out to be normal, but with that mindset, he cannot progress in life. Therefore, he decided to work for a living.

Education wasn’t a part of his life because with a disability of being physically incapable of performing daily routine tasks, this was regarded as a mere dream that could never come true for him.

He was home schooled by his parents and they taught him how to read and write. The basics were being taught by his parents. They taught him the alphabets, parts of speech and how to make sentences in the beginning. Thankfully, the boy was a quick learner and developed his skills quite easily.

Gradually, the boy became a decent scholar and he started the next phase of his education. He learnt to write paragraphs with the help of his parents. They taught him to write paragraphs properly and soon he became an efficient boy on writing clearly. His parents allowed him to practice the basics for a few years, basically till the age of eight and later he was taught Mathematics, his dad was the one to teach him addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These were some of the basics which he needed to learn so that he can perform the simple calculations effectively.

Although he was home schooled and barely got out of his house, Xavier wasn’t regarded as a lazy child. He worked on improving himself mentally and physically, he tried to make use of his workable leg as much as possible. He knew that eventually, he had to earn a living, so he never gave up hope and believed that one day, he would be standing on his two feet, not physically but mentally. Hope was all he could live by but he didn’t just have ‘hope’, the will to be the best person he could possibly become, was a way of life to this child.

As he reached towards his adolescence, his parents taught him to write essays and letters, he improved by the minute and gained more confidence by the hours and days that passed by.

At the age of sixteen, real life made more sense for Xavier, in a way that he could have never imagined. His dad lost his day job and now was the time for young Xavier to support his family ‘to make ends meet’.

The boy was unsure and apprehensive, but since he was a fighter, the will to do something productive was always within him. After a couple of days, a plan arouse within his mind. Maybe, it wasn’t the so called ‘ideal plan’, but as long as it worked for his family and himself, the plan was regarded as a ‘masterpiece’ in the simplest way possible.

The plan was to start pulling a rickshaw, also referred to as trishaw. He knew that the income would be low, but as the saying goes ‘beggars are not choosers’, he decided to begin on a job that would at least satisfy his family to survive on the basic necessities of life.

He had an option of either pulling a rickshaw for half a day, which was around six to eight hours a day, or the whole day. If he decided on the latter, it would prove to be more fruitful in the long run, but that would mean more hard work and dedication. However, he was ‘hell bent’ on working for longer hours, even with a disability. He believed that work was all he needed in life and in order to succeed in life, one must struggle to survive.

He worked seven days a week and three hundred and sixty five days a year, without even a day’s rest. A true workaholic and to countless people who saw him pull the rickshaw, day in and day out, a true inspiration, that had a true identity even with a disabled right leg.

His day’s labour began at six in the morning and ended around eleven at night, with a lunch break at two in the afternoon and a dinner break at eight in the night. Xavier lived on simple food, usually remaining as rice, lentils and green vegetables. For dinner, he survived on bread and bananas. The food allowed him to have sufficient amount of energy to carry out his daily work effectively.

At times, customers felt sentimental or simply motivated, they even decided to pay him extra for his effort to peddle with just one leg. A sad story indeed for this real life hero, but he always felt blessed to survive in this beautiful world.

After a year of his hard work and commitment towards developing himself as a work horse, Xavier decided to continue peddling with his rickshaw. He wanted to continue the precision and effort, in order to earn as much as possible. For the moment, he had no backup plan, life continued as an uphill battle for his survival.

Even though he was seventeen years of age, his sense of freedom was scarce and all he knew was that duties stood as the only goal for living peacefully.

During this time, he gained a lot of friends, as his fellow rickshaw pullers were always willing to provide him ample amount of mental support. He stood as an idol to most of them because of his undying love to succeed in life. They were also motivated to work hard, even when the going got tough.

One day, as he was waiting for a customer to arrive, a young gentleman named Ian came towards him because he needed a rickshaw ride to his destination point. Xavier quickly agreed to capture this customer because he didn’t want to lose any sort of possible income.

The customer was kind hearted and decided to question the young lad about his disability, Xavier opened up to the gentleman freely and this brought out a feeling of sentiments among the two individuals.

Xavier didn’t hesitate for even once to feel weird on talking to Ian because he had nothing to hide. They spoke all the way during the journey and Ian could feel Xavier’s sense of emotions that were somehow being controlled.

The pain from the moment of arrival to ‘Mother Nature’ was excruciating and it continues to be so till date for this kind hearted young lad. No one deserves to suffer at such a high level in life, we all want to feel a sense of serenity, being able to live peaceful and in a calm manner is the basis of a relaxation.

Ian eventually reached his destination point and apart from paying Xavier the fair, he also provided the young lad extra cash for his reason to continue working, even with a disability that would have stopped any other person to perform their daily duties. Ian also received motivation from the boy and believed that nothing is impossible to achieve, if one tries hard.

We all fail in life, but the will to move on, even after a failure, is what makes a person strong. Every aspect has its rise and fall to either stardom or simply a process of being able to deal with issues that arise upon us.

Accidents in life occur at the most unexpected moments and Xavier had his share of ill luck. At times, these moments create a temporary injury, whether physically or mentally, while at other times, the injury could lead to a long time disaster. Fortunately, Xavier didn’t suffer a permanent injury. As usual, the lad had to work according to his schedule.

One bright Monday morning, as he decided to begin his work, the birds were chirping melodious tunes and the sky was clear. Everyone got busy with their chores. As usual, the lad got busy with reaching customers to their destination. While he was about to reach another customer to the desired destination, peddling with his left leg and holding a grip with his right leg, since that is all he could do with a disabled leg, a problem was about to take place.

As he peddled with all his strength, a slight accident occurred. The chain of the rickshaw slipped and the poor lad fell. He hurt his knee and was lying on the ground for some time. The customer felt extremely sad and decided to help Xavier get up. He made the boy sit down for a few minutes.

Gradually the pain decreased and this accident wasn’t fatal. A serious injury could have occurred but the lad was fortunate to have been protected from a serious injury.

For the next two days, Xavier decided to peddle less; he took more rest and fewer customers, but didn’t stop working, since his labour was essential for the family to survive. He was living a life of a routine that had to continue, if he wanted to survive peacefully. Xavier started to get worried about his future, he tried to figure out a backup plan and was willing to experiment with his life, since he wasn’t a person to be completely free.

Choices are instilled upon all of us, sometimes, these choices can vary from one profession to another, if someone possessed skills of various types, it becomes easier to change one’s profession. Certain people don’t have these choices and Xavier happened to be one of those unfortunate ones.

Age is just a number but that number needs to be maintained according to its merit, there is a time for everything. A time to relax, a time to earn at the highest level, a time to achieve a certain level of qualification and a time for moments or memories.

Xavier Ian Vaughan, just like any other human being, wanted all of this. He also believed in dreams, destiny, hope and prosperity. However, his physical disability was always standing in the way of his positive lifestyle. Our thoughts are unique and extraordinary, they vary with our mindset. The locality and human beings around us, change us in various different ways. In life, we do receive second chances, but sometimes, even those ‘second chances’ are meaningless.

Xavier had passion, Xavier had the will power and Xavier believed in himself, but ‘his life’ wasn’t something to be proud of. Every day was a challenge of a different sort for young Xavier because even if he tried to ignore his problem, it continued appearing towards him, a problem without a solution, and a problem without a loophole of any sort.

“Eighteen” is an age of ‘ultimate adolescence’ because that age allows us to think in a way of broadening our minds and horizons. For young Xavier, eighteen was just an age of innocence, tolerance and endurance. Living the life of a normal human being wasn’t even considered as a thought. As usual, he continued his life by ‘peddling’. This exercise allowed him to stay focussed; he wanted to work for as long as his stamina was intact.

The boy Xavier, living like a teenager that was destined to do well in life, even with a biological disorder, always wanted the most of his life. He made every situation ‘easy’ for himself and progressed as he grew older and wiser. His teenage life was about to end, now, bigger and better aspirations were about to ‘fall on his lap’. Dreams are temporary but desires are unlimited, we all believe in them and hope to consider each phase of our lives gradually.

Abilities can be described as physical attributes or mental stamina within. ‘Mankind’, a word that describes human nature. Our lives are essential and can be effective when we make the most of it. We must not disrespect anyone, regardless of their colour, disability or status. ‘Karma’ can be brutal to us, if we don’t respect others, we won’t receive any respect in future. We can, be a hero or an idol for others, if we know the value of lives. Helping one another in the best way possible, is always regarded as humanity.

Happiness is a blessing, be happy for one another, respect one another and always believe in second chances, we get many of them, it all depends on our ways of utilising these ‘second chances’. We must be thankful for our lives, ‘The Almighty’ gave everyone a ‘special’ attribute and we are all valuable, in various ways, it’s all about our thoughts or belief in life.

Short story from ‘Tensions of troubled teenagers’.



Roger Ian Arnold

Life is all about the moments, these moments can define or redefine your present and future aspirations.