Mr. Nobody lived on a street with no name, his wife and children were quite plain. He had a job that no one knew, for the conversations he had with people were few. Look at him walk, look at him talk. He barely ever made a sound and he always seemed to retain a constant frown. But what was wrong with Mr. Nobody no one knew. No one in his life, not even his wife knew. Mr. Nobody had a name; it was Joseph. His constant frown began with the diagnosis.
He had the sickness, the worst kind. The one that hits you so hard that it leaves you with no time. No one in the town knew what it was like to walk in his shoes. In fact, people only knew rumors of him that most thought to be untrue. But Mr. Nobody didn’t have to be nobody. He should have spoken up and became somebody. Joseph felt alone, but he could have picked up the phone. There were others like him you know. Oh, but he did something that he wasn’t supposed to do. Oh God, they all thought, what did he do? They would find him with others out in the open speaking to the crows. “Will I see you tomorrow, in a week? I don’t know if I can handle this much more, everyone is treating me as though I am a freak. Who could have told them?” they all said.
You see Mr. Nobody wasn’t always a nobody, in fact, he used to be somebody. But he let it slip away with each passing birthday until it started to fade. A hollow shell of his once former self, he now retained the features of a doll on a shelf. Everyone would ask Mr. Nobody what was troubling him so much. But time and time again he only gave a shrug. This continued until people stopped asking, it wasn’t that they didn’t care but they didn’t know how to help. No one knew how Mr. Nobody felt.
So every day the man in gray would go and work from 9 to 5 just doing his time. His problem was that he always said yes, never giving anything a second guess. Yes to this, yes to that, yes to all the facts. He did what he was told since he was just barely 3 years old. “Now Mr. Nobody you must do this….” they would all say. “You will get a job and then settle down with a nice girl and start a family, that’s what God wants and that’s what we want”.
Everything from his tie to his shoes to the kind of car he drove, everything was mundane. Gray and white were his colors of choice along with a very monotone voice. His wife would always talk but she would never listen to anything he ever had to say. She never saw the hints that he wasn’t okay to the point that he was losing himself. Me, myself and I were always at the forefront of her mind. The kids were busy being kids, off playing with their neighborhood friends so that they never saw the cloud that hung over their father’s head. Mr. Nobody would have to work all day late into the night so the only time he had to see them was at night. “Read us a story Dad,” they’d say, “please we haven’t seen you all day! Read us the one about the witch, wizard and the knight.”
Then one day everything changed; his whole life began to rearrange. There was a new guy at work and his name was Trent. He was one of the most colorful people that Mr. Nobody ever met. Look at him talk, look at his walk, he’s so full of life. He wore browns, blacks, blues, reds and even periwinkle too. No one else seemed to pay attention to Trent which Mr. Nobody found downright strange. Here’s this man so vibrant, so different from everyone else. He had to talk to him and find out what he was truly like. So for the first time, he got up from his desk and talked to someone else in the office.
Each time they talked about nothing and yet everything at the same time. His eyes were so kind but at the same time seemed to retain strength. As they became closer Trent began to confide to him. He hadn’t felt like this way about someone in a while. Mr. Nobody’s heart began to beat faster as he felt the same. They talked for hours as the sun fell under the line of the horizon until they could only see each other from the light of the moon. It was the first time that Mr. Nobody didn’t have to fight with himself, he could just be. That’s when the seed of their relationship began to grow and it showed.
But it couldn’t last. Actions from Trent’s past started to catch up with him. He started getting sick, so sick to the point he wouldn’t show up to work for days. What could be going on with Trent, Mr. Nobody thought, he was dying inside because he was the only one that seemed to notice his absence while everyone else wasn’t even phased. He was getting nervous. It took him an entire day to muster up the courage to call but he was still afraid. He prayed that nothing was wrong but deep down he knew something had happened.
The phone rang and rang until Mr. Nobody thought he would surely get the answering machine again. The hope that he held close to his heart began to drain, to the point it felt hard to breathe.
“Hello” Trent said as he coughed.
“Hey, it’s me where have you…” Mr. Nobody said reluctantly.
“Ya what do you need?” he said sharply.
“I just wanted to know what’s going on?”
“...I thought...I thought you were clean, you’re the one that gave me this shit.”
“I don’t understand, it couldn’t have been me, I only have...” said Mr. Nobody.
“Don’t call here anymore!” screamed Trent.
I know it’s been a while but you still haven’t written or called and now I’m beginning to think that I will never hear from you at all. Sarah took the kids after she found my test results and confronted me. She said that “she couldn’t be with a faggot, especially one that could harm our kids.” I can’t handle the silence and how it grows with each passing day. Others know now and I swear it’s the silence that hurts the most and the fact that I can no longer be juxtaposed with this town. I don’t blame you for everything that’s happened to me, but can’t you see? You’re everything to me. Please come home, I miss you. I’m starting to forget the little things, like the details of your face. This place just isn’t the same without you. At the other side of this letter is my new number and address. I confess this place isn’t as nice yours is, but we could make do? After all, I would do anything for you.
So time passed and things got worse and Mr. Nobody started to decay. He was starting to fade in and out to the point that he had to go to the hospital. There Mr. Nobody lied in blue and white, in his shallow grave. There he waited for him to come as he felt more and more numb. “Hello is anyone there? Does anyone care?” he called out weakly. Doctors and nurses used to show up every day but now he’s lucky if they show up weekly. Tick tock, tick tock, Mr. Nobody kept catching himself staring at the clock.
About a week passed and he left, he checked himself out. There wasn’t anything they could really do for him. He committed his sin and now he had to deal with it. There was not a single doubt in his mind, he was feeling more than fine. Walking out with a pink T-Shirt and jeans he was feeling free. The birds sang as he made his way down the street. Oh, you should have seen the smile on his face, it was the first time he wore one in town. He wore it damn proud like a king with his crown. For his entire life, every day was exactly the same but today was much different. Today he would look for support, one that someone of his particular circumstance could afford. He had heard of the support groups that they had in the local community center and he decided to give it a chance.
“First time?” said the young woman dressed in a David Bowie shirt
“Uh..ya I guess it is,” he said
“ Welcome to the land of the misfit toys, here’s a couple of packets, take off your jacket and stay awhile. This is a place where we can listen to one another. Normally we go around the circle say our name and what’s been going on in our lives. Why don’t you go first, Mr……”
“Jo….Joseph is fine” he said softly.
“Okay, Joseph why don’t you start us off for today.”
“Hi everyone... my name is Joseph and I’m sick of everyone defining me by my diagnosis. They keep telling me to take it one day at a time. But it’s hard to find what I’m living for. Since I took this path I lost one, two, three, four people that I care about. If you were to tell me that I would be standing here with you a year ago I would have told you that you were crazy.
But lately, life has been anything but ordinary.