Welcome to the nobody club

On my way to work I stopped to check my mailbox, inside there was only one envelope. On the envelope was no sender or return address only my name, strange I thought but I opened the envelope anyway, it was written. “Your projected suicide date is approaching. For a minimal pain and low impact on the surrounding, please contact us as soon as possible. Regards, The human monitoring division”.

It was a generic letter, it even had a logo at the top of the page that was made of wheeling gears creating a circle. This is definitely the most disturbing publicity letter I have ever seen, although I didn’t have any idea for what kind of product it could be. No time for that, I cannot be late for work. Its rash hour, people seemed more aggressive than usual. It’s as if they don’t want to move from their path. I felt as a Salmon swimming against the stream. But instead of water it was herd of humans, trying to run me over. Not the best way to start my week, I thought.

Finally, I’m at work. No time for good morning to anyone. I put my headset and open my computer. But no request for technical support came through. While I heard my coworkers dealing with endless calls, my station was silent. I checked the internet connection, it was fine. I had no explanation. Frustrated I spent my shift looking to an empty screen. At the end of the day I run out from my cubical to the exit door. I didn’t want to talk with anybody and luckily for me it seems that nobody had nothing to say to me. At the first step at the street I got hit from the back by another pedestrian who was walking faster then me. I fell down, other people didn’t show any consideration to the fact that I’m trying to stand up. My hands and legs got stepped on a few times before I manage to get up. All the way home I needed to avoid other people to bump into me. Although I tried to keep my lane of walking once or twice it ended with me getting pushed aside.

Exhausted finally I got home. It’s already dark and my body is in pain from the fall. I’m taking my clothes off preparing to take a shower. Standing with my underwear I check the pockets of my pants. My wallet, I cannot find my wallet. This is the last thing I need. standing half naked the frustration was too much, I was close to tears. And then my phone makes a loud beep noise, I got a message. I don’t remember the last time I received a message or a phone call for that matter. the message said, “it’s only going to get harder. We can help. Contact the human monitoring division as soon as possible.” I cannot really say why did I reply “yes” to the text massage. There was part of me that wanted to know who sent the letter and the text. What is the human monitoring division? But if to be completely honest, I wanted to talk with someone, anyone. A minute later there was a knock on the door. I know that you are wearing only your underwear, said the voice from behind the door. I was terrified but I opened the door.

My name is Megan said the woman in front of me. She reaches her hand out for a hand shake. No time for pants she said while she let herself inside my apartment. She sat down on the only chair I had in my kitchen. I stood at the other side of the table trying to get my head around what is going on. Let’s get straight to business she said. we have some great options for you to kill yourself. All of them are with as less pain as possible and most important with minimal impact on the surrounding.

But I don’t want to kill myself I said, with a chocked voice. She looked at me with the most disappointed look I ever saw. Do I really need to explain it to you? She asked. Yes, I said. if someone want me to kill myself so much, I expect him to have the courtesy to tell me why. Very well she said, lets open your file. I was expecting a huge book with everything I did in my life. but instead she pulled one paper with my name written on it. Don’t look so disappointed she said, it’s only the important stuff.

Like what? I asked. You are thirty-six right now. Six years ago, you had three friends, you kept in touch with your mother and you had some small talk with your coworkers during lunch time. Four years ego your mom died and you kept in touch with only two friends. One-year ago you lost contact with your remaining friends and since then you are alone. The only people that you talk with are the customers that need technical support, and that you lost today. You cannot even walk on the street without being pushed and stepped on. But why? I cried. Don’t you get it? she asked. You are a nobody. What is that even mean? I asked, getting demoralize.

Megan sighed in a very dramatic way. Let me give it to you in a nutshell she said. Imagine everything and everyone around you as a wheeling gear that is spinning another wheeling gear. Millions and billions of moving parts making the world the way we know it. But once in a million, one of the moving parts has a momentary gap in his influence on the other parts. In that case the human monitoring division comes in and puts a temporary wheel, to fill up the gap. That is, you. The moment the wheeling gears are connecting back together there is no need for the temporary one anymore, this is what you are, a wheeling gear that did his short job and now is no longer needed. Your life is meaning less you are a nobody. You are no more than a disturbance to the flow of actions and counter reactions. So, please let’s choose a suicide method and get it over with.

What if I don’t want to? I said. I don’t think that you completely understand your situation, said Megan. She was mad. You will talk and nobody will listen, you will not be able to walk on the street without being pushed and stepped on. You are nothing, a nobody, nothing but a toll that did his job and now need to be disposed. I’m still alive, I move alone in the night when the streets are empty. I don’t talk, but I listen. If you see me you will not notice me. but if you do, maybe you are like me, a wheeling gear with nothing to connect to, a nobody that refuse to go away.

We have a place among the moving parts that make this world what it is. Between the shadows the nobody can be somebody.

Saving Humpty Dumpty

“We must save him,” I said, hitting the table with my fist. “We cannot let him fall. We must not fail; we must succeed. Humpty Dumpty must live. We’ll do everything, we’ll go everywhere, and we’ll fight everyone to prevent Humpty Dumpty from falling off the wall.”

“We don’t have the men and the resources for that,” cried the generals.

“It will take too much money and time,” loudly complained the politicians.

“Nobody knows where Humpty is; we don’t even know if he is real,” said the intelligence officers.

But I didn’t listen; that was my goal. I wanted people to know my name. 

In my mind, I saw them, men and women, old and young, pointing at me. “He saved Humpty,” they would shout. “He did it.”

As a result, I took the finest soldiers the army could offer and the best equipment money can buy. We also carried the most advanced medication known to science.

“Please stop,” cried the generals. “We cannot defend our borders without our best soldiers.”

“Please don’t take such expensive equipment; we don’t have the budget for that,” complained the politicians.

“How can we save lives without our medications?” asked the doctors and the nurses.

“Where are you going?” inquired the intelligence officer in a disrespectful tone. “We told you, and we are telling you again, ‘Humpty is not real.’”

“Stop with your whining,” I said. “We are going to do it, and that is my final decision.”

We continued walking, but the road was long. We lost men when we fought through hostile countries. We lost even more in the scorching desert. I was left with only a handful of men after we crossed the frozen tundra. Most of our expensive equipment got lost or broken along the way. All the medications spoiled.

“Do you know where to go?” the few soldiers I had left asked.

I hesitated with my answer, and a horrible feeling came over me. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have stopped.

“Do you really know where to go?” the soldiers asked me again.

I wanted to say, “No; I have no idea where to go. I don’t know where Humpty’s wall is. I don’t even know if Humpty is real,” but instead I told them, “I know exactly where he is. We will be able to see the wall very soon. We must continue; we cannot stop. Humpty will not fall; Humpty will stay on the wall.”

We pushed on until, eventually, I was left alone. The last man died cursing my name. Finally, I also stopped. I had nothing left in me to continue. I sat down with my back against a wall. I’m completely empty. My spirit is broken. My body is crushed. Just before I closed my eyes for the last time, I said to myself with a grim smile, “I found Humpty. Humpty Dumpty is real.”

Murky Instruction

                                   I met Carl when I was fourteen and he was only thirty. Carl came into our lives as my mother’s new boyfriend, but soon after he took the role of the man in the house and marry my mom. At that time, I was wondering why Carl decided to jump head on into our small troubling family.                                        My real father left us when I was only five. I don’t remember much of him besides hearing him crying and screaming in the nights. “your father has demons from things he did and saw before” my mom told me. “never ask him anything about it”.  To talk with my dad about his past was never an option for me. Actually, me and my dad didn’t talk at all. Our only son and dad connection were when he grabbed me once in a while in his strong arms and cry, “please have a good life” he used to tell me before he releases me from his strong hug. I loved my dad, and the mystery behind his horrible past just ignite my imagination as I grow up. The image of my father was of dark mysterious hero.                                                     My dad took his life only a year after he left me and my mom. But only after Carl came into our lives my mom had the courage to tell me how he kills himself, Carl was sitting next to her in the family room holding her hand while she was talking. “Your father shoot himself in the head with a shotgun” she told me and left the room, almost running to her bedroom leaving me and Carl alone. “I’m sure that your father was an incredible man”, Carl broke the silence. “You don’t know anything about my dad” I answered rudely to Carl.  Carl was smart enough to not to argue with a rebellious angry teenager. He just said, you are right, I got no saying about your father, and he stood up and walk to the bedroom to check on my mother.                                                                                                                                                                              For the next two years me and Carl lived parallel to each other.                                                                                          As much as I was sarcastic, I could see that between Carl and my mom there was a real love.                                                        I on the other hand, was using my dead father figure as an excuse for drugs and alcohol. More than once I saw Carl trying to approach to me, but my defiant attitude drove him away. the same goes for my mother, she also couldn’t face my burst of anger when I felt that I was judged. In my own mind, to destroy my young life was the closest I can get to be like my mythical father.                                                                               Until the day I overdose. Luckily for me Carl heard the disturbing sound from my room, I was shaking so hard that my legs hit the floor with force. When I got to the hospital, I was clinically dead, but somehow the hospital stuff brought me back to life. That was the day that I got the letter. Carl was holding it in his hand waiting for me to wake up in the hospital bed. It’s a very dark and hard to understand, Carl told me while he hands over a few pieces of paper to me, after I opened my eyes. Its from you father, he wrote it just before he did what he did to end his life. I didn’t ask Carl or my mom why they didn’t give me that letter earlier, at that time, I guess that they waited for the right moment to do so. Apparently, my near-death experience was the right moment.                                                                                                                                                                                      The letter was made from four papers written in a very hard to read hand right. I could imagine my dad writing with a shaky hand while the shotgun on his side waiting to do its part. There was a title at the beginning of the first page that said “Instruction for the traveler in the dark”, after that the pages where divided into small paragraphs, every paragraph had a beginning but no end. It was as my dad was not able to complete the messages but left it to me. it was a riddle made from a dark story with ideas with no end and all in extremely hard to read handwriting. For me to understand and complete my father last words was a challenge that I committed to, and before I knew it Carl become part of it also. Looking back, I think that thanks to that letter we became close, not as father and son but as partners in the struggle of life. For hours on end we use to sit together and analyze the words, making a complete sentence and then trying to understand the idea behind them.                                                                                                        After a month of work, we were able to get the basic idea. It was about a man traveling in the dark, his only goal is to stay alive until the morning come. But for him to achieve it he need to push the darkness away before it will pass through his skin into his soul. The man doesn’t know how long until the light will come to save him, but he knows that part of the darkness is inside him already, pulling like a magnet the darkness from the outside to come inside him. The man desperately looking for anything that can make his skin thicker and harder against the darkness. In my mind I could imagine my father fighting not to lose his soul.                                                                                                                                                                         For the next years, me and Carl continued what my dad started, it was our bonding, our way to deal with my mom’s death from cancer and everything else that life threw on us. The journey of the man in his dark world continue more. From the four original scrambled pages it become a more then one hundred pages book. The man in the story never found the way out of the darkness into the light, but his struggle helps us find ours.                                                                                                                                                                             I’m a grown man now, I have my own family and kids.                                                                                                                        I see Carl every weekend, we talk about life, about my late mom and obviously about the man in our story.                                                                                                                                                                                Only after so many years I asked Carl the question that I wanted to ask for so long. Why did you and my mom waited until I had my overdosed and almost died to give me the letter from my dad?                                                           Carl looked at me and smile, your dad never wrote that letter.  What? I jumped in surprise, so who did?                                         It was you that wrote that letter, Carl said pointing at me, you wrote it moments before you collapsed from overdose. I found it when I came home from the hospital to bring you some clothes from your room. It was on the floor near your bed.                                                                                                                                     The man in the dark was not your father’s way to save you, you have created him to save yourself.                                                                                                                                                        You gave yourself the courage to fight the darkness. You were the man in the dark, but you also were the man that finds the light.                                                                                                                                                              

A Blind Man Named John


A blind man named John is standing in the train station.

He listens to the trains come and go. By counting the trains, he knows which one to board to get home. Only after he boards the train does he realize that he is on the wrong one. But he doesn’t get off at the next station or ask for help from the conductor; instead, he closes his eyes and falls asleep.

He wakes up to a touch on his shoulder, and the conductor’s voice. “You need to get up, sir.”

John open his eyes only to remember that he is completely blind. He uses his cane to navigate his way out of the train. “Do you need help? Do you know where you are?” John hears the conductor’s worried voice behind him. But John doesn’t reply. Instead, he keeps on walking without any idea of where he is.

John doesn’t need a watch to know it’s evening. By the internal watch in his head, he can estimate that he spent more than three hours on the train. By listening to the footsteps of the people around him, he finds the exit from the train station to the street. He uses his cane to walk in this unfamiliar place. Evening turns into night, but John, even as tired as he is, doesn’t stop walking. The sound of cars and people around him gradually lessens, until most of what he can hear are voices from houses as he passes by.

A police officer notices the blind man walking alone in the dark. “Do you need help, sir do you know where you are?”

“No, I don’t,” John replies but keeps on walking. The officer watches John walk into the darkness guided only by his cane.

The sound of birds chirping tells John that the morning had arrived, he had been walking all night. He is exhausted and thirsty. His cane hits something. It’s a mailbox. John can feel there is a narrow strip of pavement heading off the street. A driveway. He turns away from the street and walks up the driveway, hoping to find a house at it’s end.

His cane hits the front door of the house. John knocks once. The door opens immediately.

A woman’s voice greeted him, “Hey, John. I’ve been waiting for you.”

“How do you know who I am?” John asks, confused.

But the woman doesn’t answer him. Instead, John hears the sound of a revolver’s hammer drawn back. And then a shot is fired. A blind man named John is dead.

She had heard the news about the airplane crash. She knew he was on that flight. Her face and hands were still swollen. This is how he usually left her before he went on his business trips. “Be good,” he told her on his way out as she struggled to get up from the floor.

The newspaper had made a story about him—how he lost his eyesight and his memory in the crash. “A new beginning in the dark,” they had called it. But she had waited for him to find his way back home, to her, to his pigeon victim. She knew that memories cannot be erased; they can only be pushed to the back of our mind. Eventually, the recognition will resurface. And when it did, she would be ready, with the light on and a gun in hand. 

She

She is not looking at me; her eyes gaze beyond the balcony, far away into the night. The view is beautiful, as she is. The city lights are like a magic carpet unrolling to the horizon. She is real now. She’s not the same woman I opened the hotel room door for an hour ago. Just an hour ago she was playing a role. She was playing it for me. She plays it from the moment I call the number and ask her to come over. I just gave her my room number and the hotel name, and that was enough for her. I didn’t need to explain why or how. She smiled when I opened the door. “Are you the one who called me?” “Yes,” I answered, looking at her; she was so alluring, appealing. She went straight to the bed, removing her white dress. “We got only an hour,” she said. “Do you want to start?” That was an hour ago. But she didn’t leave. “Can I stay for a little bit longer?” Confused, I answered yes. We didn’t talk any more. From that point only silence, a beautiful conversation without sound. She walked out to the balcony wearing again the white dress. Without moving her eyes from that point on the horizon, she picked a cigarette from my offering hand; that point between the colorful lights and the dark sky is where her eyes were fixed. There is no need to talk. There is no point or sense in that. We both got a long story to tell. We can use sound and words to explain the how, to regret the if, and to cry about the why. The air will fill with the right words that cannot resolve a thing. My sorrowful melody will merge with her painful music, and it will all become a noise. As much as I want, I will not be able to listen to her words. I will try to make my story more painful then hers, more convincing. And she will do the same. We don’t want that; we choose silence. Embracing the speechless conversation. She hears the story about my broken marriage without me saying a thing. I agree with every word that doesn’t emerge from her mouth. We sob on each other’s shoulder with no sound.

She was perfect. She was everything I wanted and needed. She was beautiful, just the way beautiful should be—simple, pure, and quiet.

“It’s time for me to go,” she says.

“A little bit more?” I ask.

“Next week the same time?” she asks back. “Yes,” I say.

My wife is looking at me. It’s been a year since I came back home, to my wife my home. I came back home completely empty of anger and pain.

“Do you miss her?” my wife asks me. “Yes,” I replay, “sometimes.”

I can also be quiet. My wife answers with a smile, as she puts on the white dress.

She is beautiful, just the way beautiful should be—simple, pure, and quiet.