“Sometimes I feel like I am cursed by mediocrity. I have no passions to cultivate, no ‘thing’ to call my own. My writing may be the only thing I do outside of basic subsistence living, and even then, it is only thinly veiled bitching. Can complaining be a positive trait? I suppose it requires one to be in tune with his emotions and desires at every given moment, if only to reject every moment as unsatisfactory.”
Simon continued for a page and a half in this vein. He kept his journal, a blue and white floral cloth-bound notebook, on top of his night stand. A few days later, he found his pen wedged in the book even though he remembered specifically that he left the pen beside the book. Who had been handling his belongings? Simon flipped to the page held by the pen. A message in his brother’s script read as such:
“I don’t understand why you are so hard on yourself. From what I have read, I think you are a good writer. You have a talent uncommon for someone your age, and you should be proud of this. I know mom, dad, and I are all proud of you.” The message was made official by a hasty signature in the fading blue ink.
Simon sat staring at the message for a few minutes after reading. He was offended by the off-hand manner in which his brother confessed to reading his journal, and confused by the seemingly earnest tone of the intrusion. He knew his brother lacked tact, but shame was important, if not to signal wrong-doing, then to deter unwanted violations of privacy. Simon grabbed the page his brother scrawled on and prepared to tear the page out. On further consideration, he smoothed the newly made creases and closed the notebook, content with this new autograph and inscription.