Molly studied her daughter when she sat in the dining room with her laptop on the table. She flipped open a notebook and started typing. Molly knew she was fast at typing, unlike herself. She liked to see her daughter studying and doing her homework, but it was a problem when she stopped socialising with her friends.

“Emily, why do you look so sad these past few days?” Molly approached her teenage daughter when she sat opposite of her. “Mum, I am busy at the moment,” Emily looked up, but she was still typing. “Can we talk some other time?” “No, because you aren’t yourself. What is going on with my cheerful Emily?” “I just have a lot of homework,” Emily stopped typing.

“You have always been busy, but you always have time for your friends and Casey,” her mother referred to Emily’s little sister. “You know, you can tell me anything, right?” “I know,” Emily nodded.

“I won’t get angry or judge.” “Well, there will be a school dance next month, and I am unsure to attend it or not,” Emily started. “Why?” “Because my friends will be going with their boyfriend. I don’t have anyone to go with,” Emily explained, looking at her mother. “It is stupid that I can’t even find someone I like. Something must be wrong with me.”

“Nothing is wrong with you,” Molly held her daughter’s hand. “You are focused and you know what you want. That is all. After all, you are too young to date. You have the rest of your life to do that.” “But it is nice to have a boyfriend to catch me when I fall,” Emily sighed. “Just like my hero.” “That is not a good reason to have a boyfriend because he might or might not catch you, Emily,” Molly stated. “I know, it’s more than that,” Emily lowered her head. “When I was your age, I was somewhat like you. I paid attention to my education and my friends were countable. I wasn’t popular in school, but I had plans and none of it includes dating.”

“Why not?” “Because it wasn’t important,” Molly answered. “The pressure was there, but I had to stay true to myself. My friends were dating, and I couldn’t catch up with them. I was the person they talked to about their love life. I kept their secrets. As time went by, they broke up. Only one friend married the boy she dated when she was a teenager.”

“Really?” “Yes because the older you get, the more people you will meet,” Molly explained. “In college, I met a man who was good in his studies. He was probably the smartest in class and I wasn’t. So when I saw him heading towards the library on a weekend, I followed him.” “What did you say?” Emily was interested. “I asked what he was doing at the library on a Saturday evening. He said he was returning the books he borrowed. I invited him to a small get together with my friends. We bought some foods and walked to my friend’s apartment. It was an exciting night as we got to know each other.”

“But it is weird to invite somebody you don’t even know. He could turn out to be a serial killer or something.”

“That’s true, but I invited him because I wanted to ask him to tutor me for one of the subjects that I was failing. So I thought it was better for him to know me and my friends before I asked.” “Did he tutor you and your friends?” “I asked him when we were walking back to our hostel. He said he’d help me but not my friends.”

“Why?” “They were too loud and he could only tutor me. He preferred it that way. He said my friends would be a distraction, and they didn’t need his help. They were doing quite well, but not well enough to tutor me.”

“Let me guess, he tutored you and he became your boyfriend, but it didn’t last long because you met another man?” Emily tried guessing. “Close, but no,” Molly smiled. “This new friend tutored me in the students’ activity room, and I took up most of his free time. Soon, we started spending more time together be it during lunch or going to classes. One day, he told me I was his hero because I saved him. When I met him outside the library, he was returning those books because he was going to kill himself.” “What?” Emily was shocked.

“Yeah, he had it planned out. You’ll be surprise who it was,” Molly smiled. “Is it the uncle who lives at the end of the street?” “No,” Molly shook her head. “That tutor was your father. Before I met your father I didn’t want to date, get married or have children. But here we are.”

“And?” “What I’m saying is, you can be your own hero. You don’t need someone to save you. Maybe now is not the time for you, but when it is and you find the right person, you will know and your world will change. I promise.” Carina Lim bears different messages through her fiction. These messages could be useful in life. She can be contacted at mermaidgal03@