Pie hit the shutdown button of his laptop. After a long week at work, the moment Pie was waiting for had finally dawned. It was the start of his long weekend. Pie as always had been preparing his long-to-do list a week before, even though he knew he might not tick off most of the tasks on it. Just then, his phone buzzed with a WhatsApp notification. Mandy had sent a message, we all are meeting tomorrow, hope you don’t ditch us this time. Pie smiled awkwardly, took out his to-do list, and added one more item, Sunday, 4:30pm, college meet-up, Café Aroma.

Saturday was usual for Pie, got up late, could not keep his promise to go for a run, did some chores, caught up with an Amazon Series, and like every weekend, Pie kept scrolling through his phone endlessly. Come Saturday evening, Pie started to get anxious for no good reason. As he was scrolling through his phone, a WhatsApp notification popped up, “tomorrow Café KNS 4:30 sharp”. This made Pie even more anxious he switched off his phone data and ignored the message. Pie immediately started looking for excuses for why he wouldn’t be able to meet his college friends. He began to make all kinds of excuses in his mind. He asked his brother what we were doing tomorrow evening. So he could use that as an excuse to skip the meeting.

Nothing came to Pie’s mind. He slept that night with the anxiety of having to face his friends when they meet. Thoughts, after thoughts ran through his mind. He thought “as they will judge me, they will not like me, I sound ugly, I don’t have any of my opinions, I am fat, my smile is bad. What if I don’t know what to say to them, what if what I say hurts them, they just invited me as a formality, but none of them actually care about it.” Meanwhile, people close to Pie’ might have felt that Pie always acted very pricey. Cos Pie would not return their phone calls on numerous occasions, he would cancel all his plans last minute, but Pie had his reason. Pie even tried to confront a few people he knew, they would listen to him carefully, but every conversation would end with “you’re overthinking bro, stop thinking, and start living”. Only if Pie knew how to stop overthinking, he would have done it happily. But Pie knew better, overthinking was not his problem; anxiety was. And only he knew how hard it was for him to fight it every single day. With anxiety, the smallest of tasks was like climbing a mountain for Pie, always living under the fear of being judged, failing. Every day was a new challenge for Pie, waking up every morning felt someone was throbbing in his heart, there were mornings when Pie would wake up in the middle of night and do nothing but stare at the wall endlessly. On other day’s Pie would find it difficult to do his daily task, from brushing, taking bath, tying a shoelace, etc.  That was the reason why most of the time people will find Pie dressed shabbily his hair all over the place, cos even putting on clothes seemed like climbing a mountain to Pie. Ever since Pie started to face his anxiety issue he had forgotten what it’s like to be happy, things that bought Pie happiness started to drift away from him.  Every night Pie had to assure himself that he was a warrior and his fight was important.

And with a brave face, Pie was the first to reach Café Aroma on Sunday.