Whose problems are bigger?

Some days bad things just happen.
You spent your weekend locked in doors because your salary was delayed.
For breakfast you only had a cup of sugarless strong tea and one of those 5 bob mandazis and you know that for that day that is the only meal you will get.
It is hot outside. Annoyingly hot. The kind of hot that already has your creased white shirt stained with a large sweat patch and it is barely 9 am.
You are late to work. But you have no money for a bodaboda so you are doing that terribly long walk from your little bachelor pad in Langata to your office in UpperHill.
You are walking. Fast. But your mind is racing even faster. End month cannot get here any quicker. You think of all your problems. The electricity was cut this morning and you are running out of candles. You have been playing Cat and Mouse games with your landlord and you are one bounced cheque away from having a huge padlock placed on your door. Your girlfriend has been acting weird, keeps referencing some new guy at her work place. You did not get her anything for her birthday and you know she is going to hold this one over your head for a while.
But then your phone vibrates.
You think about ignoring it. It could be your landlord. It could be your boss. You really hope it’s not your girlfriend.
The vibrating does not stop.
It’s your mother.
You pick up.
She starts with the usual formalities.
But something about the way her voice is shaking makes you stop suddenly.
She tells you your sister had an accident.
That they need to wheel her into theatre urgently because she is losing so much blood.
The words ripple through your body like a wave and you find yourself dropping the folder you are carrying.
But even before you get to ask your mother for more details a lady bumps into you as you reach out to pick the papers splattered across the dusty road.
You curse at her but she seems so preoccupied she barely even turns to apologize.
Your mother is telling you she needs that money urgently and your mind is working overtime trying to think of who owes you a favor. But you already exhausted those resources the previous month. If anything you are certain the very same people are about to call you asking for you to pay them their debts.
Things are hard.
But you do not know how to tell your mother this.
She spent way too much educating you. It would not make sense if the one time she needs you, you are unable to come through for her.
You continue walking.
Maybe take an emergency loan from work?
But just as you are about to continue your walk you trip on a big brown envelope similar to the one you left the house carrying.
Your mother is still on the phone. Telling you details that only cast a cloud on your already dark day.
Your envelope feels a little heavier than you remember, so you open it.
And out drops a letter.
And the answer to all your problems.
A couple of crisp notes.
An admission letter to a university.
You look ahead and see the lady that bumped into you disappear into the crowd.
You whisper an Amen thinking that the Lord finally answered your prayers.
But then just as you are about to slip those notes into your pocket another letter catches your eye.
And you realize that maybe the original owner of the envelope needed that money too.

So what do you finally do?
Maybe the answer to that lies in answering the question whose problems are bigger.

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