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Author's note: KJ-52's song Fanmail
Beep, beep, beep! The sound of Kevin Jacobs’ strained alarm clock woke him. He rolled sideways and turned it off quickly. 7:00 A.M! He’d forgotten to set his alarm clock for his new earlier work shift. He’d be late for work- again. He flew out of bed and flashed on his dorm room light. Trey, his roommate, groaned and pulled his pillow over his head, blocking out the pale morning light. Kevin felt no remorse for waking him up. A perfect rich boy who had it all set for him, that’s all he was. He could wakeup early every once in a while.
Kevin returned home again late that night tired and frustrated. Eerie lights and shadows filled his room as the headlights of a passing car temporarily illuminated it. It passed, and the room returned to it’s original emotionless black. The window creaked as wind blew viscously outside. Was there a storm coming? He did not know. All he knew was that he was exhausted and hungry and in as bad a mood as ever. Why did everything have to turn out so wrong? He couldn‘t have stayed though, not in that house. Not to see her like that. She was weak- frail. She wasn’t even the same person he‘d grown up to with. She was just there. “You see,” he said to himself, “you had no choice but to leave.”
“Trey?” He called out in half whispered voice. No answer. “Trey, you here,” he tried again. Still no answer. He walked towards his bed, carefully so as not to step on the mess that had become their floor thanks to his roommates thoughtlessness. He fished under his bed for his laptop, and when he finally found it, he flipped it open, expecting the light from the screen to push away the sense of foreboding that was now invading him like it pushed away the darkness around him. It didn’t. Playful shouts, originating from some immature teens outside, drew his attention for a brief second, but he quickly tuned the distraction out. It only added to the haunted feeling this room seemed to have so suddenly developed. “Open, open, please!” He whispered at his computer as if it could hear him. It disregarded him. Moments later, it finally loaded and Kevin hurriedly typed his six letter password in: IWASYOU. His mother had made it for him, and to him it did not make any sense at all. He never thought to change it though. She was the one person in the world he trusted and he dared not delete his one small connection with her. Internet Explorer, Google (his homepage), Yahoo, Yahoo mail: Kevin navigated to his Email. He typed in his Email, Kevin.Jacobs21@Yahoo.com and logged in. Two new messages greeted him. Or was there just one? He clicked on the first. It said:
Hey Kevs, this is Dad. I’ve tried to call for the last few weeks now. I know you want nothing to do with me, but please, for you’re mother’s sake, call back.
“Delete,” Kevin said to himself as he dragged the email to the trash icon. He smiled humorlessly. He hated his father. It wasn‘t even that he was mean or unfair- just incompetent. He had failed so miserable and for that Kevin wished never to see him again. His attention was again captivated by the computer screen. Was there another one? It drew his interest immediately.
The content read as follows:
I know you, and you know me,
We grew up together or was that a dream?
You must be thinking, why does it write in rhymes.
Because I need an escape, and I can escape in these lines!
I scream! I beat! I hurt! I fall!
It seems, defeat, it works, it calls.
My mind, it”s driven so mad, so hazy
By stress, from work, like you… I”m crazy
Shade me, or at least… tell me what to do
Because I am me, and you”re you
I ran away, far away from home
Now I am in this world, hurt and alone.
Help me, Kevin, you don”t know who I am,
But help, of all people, I know that you can.
Kevin read it over again, his heart beating fast. He ran his fingers through his hair nervously and looked back at the screen. A car passed by, again illuminating his room for a moment. What to write, what to write! His normally deft fingers fumbled over the computer keys, typing out a short message.
Who are you? Don’t be afraid Im hear to help. Your life is valuable,, please dont take it. What has driven you so far. What has happened that has got you feelin this way. Before you do anything too yourself, atleast write me. I am a friend…. I can relate, I can help.
Kevin stopped writing, and looked up. Was that good enough? He hoped it was. It didn’t even really sound like him. He added one last thing
I just have to ask you this one question. Of all people,…. why me?
He read over it once more and hesitantly clicked send. As soon as the message sent, he slapped the computer shut. His hands visibly shaking. He rested his hands on his palms trying to steady himself. “Why me, why me?” He asked over and over again. Hours later, when he finally fell asleep, he still hadn’t answered that question
Wham! Kevin stormed into his room again. It was midday, and he’d just got off work. The sound was the shoe he’d thrown slamming against the wall. He did not bother to pick it up. He just slumped on his bed and buried his face in his hands. They ran wet, solely from the rain pouring on him outside and not the silent tears his eyes would never shed. He stood up silently, walked to his window, and surveyed the scene outside. It was dark, and overcast. A light but steady rain drenched the dreary campus. Kevin shut the window curtain quietly. He did not want to be seen in the state he was in. Everyone thought he was strong, tough! He wasn’t. He felt small and weak; defeated and friendless by choice. He’d pushed everyone away.
He slumped against the wall, emotional drained. No more tears would come, not even for his one friend, the poet. He’d gotten another message from him- or her- whatever it was. He knew every last word of it by heart.
Dear Kevin, I got your last letter
I am disappointed, three lines? I thought you could do better
When I say I hurt, I do not exaggerate.
You do not seem to get the point, let me elaborate.
I am gone, separated from my own family.
Alone, no friends are hear to handle me.
Today is worse, I lost my only job.
When, oh when will this feeling of worthlessness stop!
It helps me, you see, to have someone to talk to.
Even though you must think I”m crazy there”s more, I have a lot too.
I have pills in the next room, I”ve already written the note, I could just pop two!
It”s my internal voice that”s stopped me, it”s screaming for me not to.
I wish, someone, just one person when I”m gone would even miss me
But I”m alone, who would even notice if I went missing?
Why you, You ask? Even though you don”t know who I am
Because, dear Kevin, I know that you, and only you can.
Kevin had not answered yet. He didn’t know what to say. He had problems of his own, but for some reason he could not block this person out like he had everyone else in his life. True, he hurt, but this person hurt worse and Kevin had already made up his mind he would do everything he could to help. “This person is so similar to myself,” he thought aloud.
Kevin smiled contentedly to himself as he began to pencil out on a jagged torn notebook paper a simple reply.
I am sorry I did not know what to write back. Idk, I guess you just caught me by surprise. I am ready though now, and I have to tell you that there is a God who loves you and died for you. Idk if your religious or not but I guess for me thats a little comforting. I am sorry to hear about you losing your job, but don’t think of it as the end because its not. It can be a beginning,a place to start over. Just keep an optimistic look and I promise things will work out. I don’t know why you chose me, but I am glad you did. In the end we all need a friend.
He shook his head. Did he even believe those words? He never sent that message.
The next day proved to be similar, though finally he got to enjoy a day off. The rain had stopped, but the biting cold had not. Michigan spring breaks were not always warm and cozy. Kevin pulled his coat tighter around him. Buildings of faded crumbling brick passed by around him, but he did not notice. He had seen the campus buildings often. He had only left the private warmth of his room to escape Trey who, of course, did not have to work either. Still, the cold almost forced him back- almost.
Kevin’s aimless route took him by old, long unused Building J and the campus’s rusted old vending machine. He stopped for a second, actually looking at it for the first time. Grey, corroded bars blocked the entrance of anyone who might even consider breaking into it. Kevin wasn’t quite sure who would even want to. It was so old and dead. Yellow paper with the single word “out” was taped over more than half of the beverages. Kevin put his hand into his pocket and felt for the dollar bill he knew was there. His last dollar. His eyes strayed back to the machine doubtfully. He and it weren’t much different. Dieing, broken, and alone, with few options left. He put the dollar bill into the machine, it needed it more than he did anyways. It spit it back out.
It was at this time that he first began to recall the third message from his anonymous friend.
I got your reply, this is what has to be said
Soon in this world we will all be dead!
Greed, greed… food to eat.
Fires burn as the children weep!
Clothes on our back, a roof over our head!
All this we need, but there”s more to be said.
Closeness, there”s something to be heard about kinship.
What is your life, because we all need friendship?
How have I lived so long with nothing to say
All of my friends I have pushed them away
Toil, toil rumble we stumble!
What sense in this world that it makes you so humble
But at least to the others got someone to stay
Me, I”m alone, I”ve already closed that gate!
Homie, I lied, for the second and third time
You know me, if only you dug deep inside
I”m here, deep down in your memory
Try hard, try hard! You just might remember me.
Kevin dear Kevin, I know you, you see
Question is, oh Kevin, do you know me?
To Kevin, this one held a violence to it. It sounded so strained and pained. It burned with repressed hatred of the world. He could relate, but he was different. In fact, already his spirits were rising ever so slightly. The cold did not seem so cold, and a rare snow bird flew overhead chirping it’s cheerful song. He smiled his first genuine smile. Life was not as bad as he’d first thought.
Minutes later he returned back to his dorm. He entered slowly, calling “Trey” softly.
“Hey bruh!” came the ever cheerful response, “I picked up some breakfast if you want it.” Kevin looked down at the donut on the table. Sometimes Trey was annoyingly nice. “Thank you,” he said, inclining his head slightly towards Trey before he cautiously picked up his breakfast.
Later that night, he got the news. Darkness he knew. Blackness he was familiar with too, but happiness? Hah! whoever heard of such a thing! Luminous black walls of the night darkened campus walls seemed to close in on him as he stumbled through a puddle of murky water onto his mud stained knees further ruining his jet black suit pants. Even the sky was dark and moonless. Wild eyes behind equally wild tangled hair stared at hatred at this cold, gloomy world. Black, black! All he saw was death and blackness. Kevin just sat their on his knees feeling consciousness gradually slip from him as the pelting rain continued to poor down on him. His uncontrolled heart beat gradually began to slow. His head lolled and his body shuttered as he looked up at the starless sky. He still rested on his knees. Trey barely had time to catch up and catch him before he slumped over, unconscious. Out of Kevin’s hand he pulled a crumpled piece of paper. Scrawled in crazed scribbled lines were the words:
Today my mother died
I couldn”t save her, no matter how hard I tried!
I”ve sat here screaming, but not outwardly it”s inside.
I KNOW it”s my fault, I KNOW I”m why she died!
You don”t understand how long alone I cried
For ME she gave her life, now it”s time for me to give mine!
I”ve already taken the pills, I can feel my body shaking.
Pulled out a gun, almost shot my friend too, quaking!
But I let him live, so he can live his worthless life.
Maybe he”ll be better, maybe he”ll live life right.
I drifted away, chasing the cars, money, and power
Forever that will go down as my own darkest hour
Me heart pounds without a beat, My legs run without feet
I lead a life of pity, full of the empty- defeat
Oh, and there is one other thing that I”m concealing see,
You must already know that I am you and you are really me.
Kevin’s body shuddered and slumped back into Trey’s arms. Rain beat down on the two figures. One heart beat back.