He saw them on their phones: scrolling; typing; listening to songs; feeding imaginary fish.
He had lived the same days as them, yet his experiences had sucked him dry, isolated him. No – he couldn’t pose for selfies, he couldn’t even smile for family photographs. He wouldn’t share his food details on Instagram; he could hardly convince himself to eat.
There was so much hate and anger and sorrow within him that wanted to burst out, but he had no one he could turn to. All he saw were petitions and rants and blogs and vlogs but how were they going to help him? He needed a person to look at him and tell him to continue on his path, even when he found himself in the darkest corners of his mind – scared and helpless – but the concept of eye contact and help had died a few years ago. All he got were thumbs and more thumbs jumping at him, urging him forward – a dozen, a hundred – but as he looked beyond the mountain of these blue thumbs, he saw no one. He was fighting the demons inside him all alone, while his peers were fighting with their gaming clans, saving princesses from fictional trolls.
He took a pen, surprised that he still remembered how to use one. He wrote:
I am not from this earth. I do not understand her. I do not care for her the same way she does not care for me. Her other children seem to perfectly fit their roles while I — struggle. She isn’t the mother I remember; is it that I am her black sheep or am I not a sheep at all?
He continued to write until his fingers started to bleed. He walked and he walked until he reached the bridge and he walked some more, until there was no earth under his feet. A month later, a neighbour discovered his letter and noticed the lack of life around it.
It went viral.