"Long ago the four nations", that was how my great-grandfather Rohan would begin telling his stories. Every night before I dozed off into this dream world induced by his words, he would tell me of great adventures. Not sure if either fiction or fact, I would still be stolen by the life of such tales.
My mother and father frowned upon me visiting Rohan. As a young boy I would always play imitating the actions of these "benders" my Pampa would speak of. That's what I call my great-grandfather Rohan. He told me that "benders" were magnificent people with the potential of manipulating the basic elements of nature; Fire, Water, Earth, Air. And my parents would see myself as a child, giving life to nature and creating blazing infernos and tidal waves. They were concerned that I would be pulled too deeply into the world of lies and fairy tales that my Pampa constructed.
But how could they be lies? They must've been true. That's what I thought as a child. The great stories of Great-Great-Grandfather Tenzin and his companions, the wondrous adventures they went on. How could he just fabricate such things?
I eventually grew out of this world of being able of "bending" the elements. I had to, because growing up I would be laughed at. No other children heard of such stories, and I would become saddened. I would run home after school and yell at my Pampa. How he let them laugh at me by telling me such lies. That he was just a crazy old man and was hungering for constant attention.
That last line, was one of the worst that I have ever let leave my lips. As soon as I finished my sentence, a dead silence hit the air. And my Pampa hit the floor.
He had a heart attack.
I was only thirteen years old and I felt as if I was the cause of all of this. I hurt my Pampa so much, he had a heart attack. It was my fault. All of my fault. I needed to pay. But how. My mind began racing and tears ran down my face like that of stampeding stallions.
Then it happened.
I lifted my clenched hands above my head. Squeezing the uncut nails into my barely calloused palms to the point where blood escaped. Trying to ignore my desire to grimace at the pain I let all my anger out. I threw my hands behind my back and yelled as loud as my lungs allowed. I felt all the hatred of those who laughed at my Pampa's wondrous stories, and all that sadness built up in my life flow out of my body. Literally. In an instant the entire room was engulfed in flames and I awoke from my rage. Alarms were blaring and nurses and staff were running into the room.
I was scared. What exactly happened? I heard screams and cries and my head rang continuously. I started to hyperventilate as all the possible answers to what had happened ran through my head. I couldn't take it anymore and my body just let go. I blacked out in the midst of all the chaos, unworried of anything in my life. Odd enough, at that moment I drifted off into the unconscious slumber, was the calmest I had ever been in my life.