ANNA Lee trudged through the park in front of her house. A wisp of warm wind blew through her shoulder-length hair as her feet landed on scarce patches of grass on the ground. The tall trees cast long shadows on her path and a tear found its way to the edge of her eye. She had failed her math test, something which was absolutely and utterly forbidden in the Lee household. Her sister had been a top scorer in the country for SPM and is well on the way to becoming a doctor, while Anna, by the Lee standards, was a complete failure. Studying was such a struggle even with the torturous amounts of tuition she had to take.

She had slugged through primary school and is now a fifth former in secondary school. Anna would be sitting for the Sijil Penilaian Malaysia (SPM) exams in a few months and she knew she would not do well. Her parents told her so. Her tutors sighed whenever they marked her work. And now she was about to face the wrath of her parents when they demand to see her test paper.

The gate was unlatched, and as she threw her bag on the floor, she paced slowly to her room and locked the door. Then Anna did the one thing she was good at — playing the guitar. She strummed gently while humming a slow, sweet melody. She had always loved music and how it could transport her to a different world where there was no pressure to excel in exams, get a string of A’s or be a doctor.

Anna’s left hand delicately switched chords while her right hand continuously strummed. Ever since she picked up a guitar at the tender age of eight, she knew she wanted to be a musician. Her parents would never agree to that, though.

Her first and only love was music, and in music she found herself. In music, she found peace and solace. In music, she found freedom. And that, in the end, was all she ever needed.

By Kristine Yee, 18, Selangor.

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