3. The 24th Birthday Wish
The whole month of working at the start-up company is incredibly cheering for Messie Denver. Everyone is nice at the office. The clients are great to talk with. The only problem is; she just can’t get enough of sleep.
Almost every night she’s been thinking how to handle her lifestyle to be a little bit organized. She just can’t take it—the simplicity, and the elegance of being thrifty. All these thoughts on her mind keep on haunting her, just because of one thing: the bills.
She can’t possibly sleep peacefully after the bills arrive at her door, which finalize by the statement letters that is not only about her apartment rent, but also her credit cards. Everything’s much harder for a while, especially with Mister Repo man exists alongside the horror she has to face with. All the matters seem pretty much complicated for her.
May and June already pass. Now is July in 2016, which means, she has abandoned all of her bills, and all the alerts and warnings every creditor has ever given to her. She can’t possibly past over the due date for more than three months. And since that time, count now as the fifth month that she hasn’t paid all of her huge tremendous debt.
Honestly, nothing she has ever spent for too much, except for the luxury of enjoying expensive fashion and culinary. Messie often uses her credit cards to pay those stuff she has ever wanted since she was still a little kid. Like for example; the Prada boots, the Chanel bags, Versace gowns, and all the tasty food and beverages she came across while traveling alone.
She never actually dresses extravagantly. Messie’s fashion sense is way too old for a girl at her age. All the clothes she ever bought usually looks ordinary in the look, but definitely made by the finest fabric quality. And as for the culinary, she eats delicious food like rich people would have in their daily basis, which is kind of unnecessary to spend 100 dollars for a single plate of spicy steak at a coastal area that usually full of superficial couples.
Now, her bills are the final stop. She can’t do anything about it, even her monthly paycheck can’t pay her debts. That means, she needs third party source to help saving her from poverty… or from the serial killer creditors.
Libby knows about this, but she can’t help either since she has to pay for her own apartment rent.
This doesn’t mean the end of the world, it just means Messie needs to work much harder, or at least subdues the way she lives her lifestyle. She understands that, but her desire for the world is just too much to bear.
Today is her birthday, the 13th July 2016.
Everyone in the office seems genuinely giving her a birthday card, a few sends her chick flick stuff such as lucky bracelets and mystical pendulum—nothing fancy, really. Also, the last person who gives her a romantic kiss on the cheeks is; Sarah Lieberman a.k.a Libby. Yes, that’s her real name, but all of her close friends make sure that the name Libby the Fool is best used in daily basis, which sounds kind of funny in everybody’s opinion—or perhaps they just made fun of her.
Afterwards, Messie and Libby already made a plan for this noon during office break. They’re going to have a little party for themselves.
At the Gramercy Park, Messie is waiting to buy the infamous ice cream at the midst of this invigorating garden, standing boringly behind the kids and their mommies, while Libby is nowhere to be seen since she says wanting to grab a coffee around the corner.
But here, Messie stands among the strangers in the walking trail. Once she gets her ice cream, she walks toward the water fountain where a few elders sit side-by-side, looking eternally romantic. The view makes her feeling pathetic, since it will always be the least topic she ever thinks of—well, among the burden of having bills.
She never thinks of wanting a romantic affair with anyone, besides the fact, she never has a boyfriend before, and never been kissed if that makes sense. Now that she starts thinking about it, suddenly something comes up on her mind.
Libby comes at the same time she gets that sparkle. The bliss feeling gets her so well, especially when it happens on her birthday.
Once Libby sits down beside her on the wooden bench, Messie snaps the sudden question, “Do you always give it a thought about what you should do next?”
She pauses to think for a second before speaking, “Like being organized?”
“No, it’s like having your next movement to live the unforeseeable future.”
“Oh,” Libby looks puzzled and naïve, just by saying it. “Never actually in that kind of state of mind before, but if I give it a shot, my life will probably mess up.”
Messie chuckles as she gets puzzling with her irrelevant answer.
“I mean, you’ll just naturally know what you should do, even when you think you’re lost,” Libby says.
At that moment, Messie blinks her eyes, she’s taken a back at how different Libby suddenly sounds. It’s the first time she ever heard the person who everyone thinks as the Fool—can actually speak a wisdom.
“Yeah, maybe you’re right in that department,” Messie murmurs.
“Alright, birthday girl—” Libby raises from the bench, looking cheerful. “Where do you want to eat for tonight’s dinner?”
“Sounds like you want a sweet treat,” Messie already feels dizzy if she has to spend another dollar.
As Messie follows to raise from the bench, she walks toward the water fountain to see it closer.
“Actually, I have something on my mind—” she says while Libby follows her to approach the water fountain.
Libby waits for her to say further, but Messie just stands there for a second, looking bedazzled with how the water streams down inside the fountain.
“And what is it?” Libby impatiently asks.
Subsequently, Messie takes out a coin from her coat’s pocket as murmuring something that Libby can’t hear, then she just throws it away into the fountain.
“What the heck did you just do?” Libby asks while bearing not to laugh at the view.
“God’s gonna grant my birthday wish,” Messie says confidently.
Libby stares at her, trying so hard not to laugh when this situation seems cliché, like how most teenagers did their ritual in front of a magical fountain, believing in the myth and legend about the power of throwing a coin in exchange for a wish.
“And what’s that?” Libby asks.
Messie smiles mischievously before she answers, “God’s gonna give me a rich man.”
Although her wish is still considered normal, Libby still has a firm reason to laugh afterwards, because still… it sounds cliché.
“You need to take a leap of faith for that to happen,” Libby shouts.
“Like you said; we’re naturally know what we’re gonna do,” Messie reminds her. “Just think about it.”
“Oh, dear—” Libby chuckles, thinking how it sounds a bit ridiculous, “but I didn’t think you would do a wish-and-throw-a-coin after we talked about it.”
“I deserve to live in a lap of luxury,” she says mischievously.
Libby narrows her eyes in disbelief at how Messie sounds serious behind that joking tone in her voice, and so she adds, “And you’re gonna need a rich man to support your life, oh yes, especially if you want to continue living in New York.”
After she puts it into a perspective, Messie winks at her, feeling confident with it.
Libby sighs for a second, imagining the life they have in this big city is already consuming enough their energy, having one wish wouldn’t hurt anyone. “Alright, whatever you want, Messie.”
At night, Messie still gets this puzzling feeling on her mind—like feeling stuck. She just doesn’t know what to do in her life, besides waiting for the paycheck, then paying the bills, and the same thing will just repeat over and over, which making her crazily tired. Life seems boring at the time.
No idea comes across on her mind yet, when she’s in the middle of surfing the internet, looking for uncertainty. She just feels stuck and lost. Until to the point she mutters firmly, “This stagnation must end.”
She wants a change. It should be deliberately something that will add a meaning to her life, something different.
Her fingers just run wild on the keyboard, typing the words on Google search. Nothing seems interesting yet. Most people just have this delirious argument on most online forums she sees. They’re talking about the common standard among society; how ones must run their life for the better, and how being superficial is going to help the poverty, and what’s left for the minority when they bail to agree with the government and media. Most of them call these authorities as the mind control freak, the ones who responsible for what happens in society nowadays.
This isn’t what she’s looking for. Their unstoppable war about humans’ welfare is just ridiculous. Afterwards, she scrolls for another articles, but she still has no idea at all about what she actually wants, until she mistakenly hits the click button on the ads column.
It’s annoying when there are a lot of paid advertising section everywhere she look, the view bothers so much that she wants to curse on them, and that moment pauses for a second when she sees the real amusing ads:
WRITE A PRISONER
Prisoners are looking for Penpal friends all over the world!
Are you the one?
Click on this link to sign up.
How odd the idea is, she thinks. That is the most impossible thing she ever heard about a Penpal site, which exchanging a letter to a prisoner seems like a fresh original idea she first encounter on the internet, but also—frightening.
Without thinking much further of the horror that may lies, the curiosity makes her decided to click on the link. The first look at the website is all just plain typewriter writing. Unlike any other Penpal site, this one looks mature and simple, nothing fancy, nothing interesting except the elegance of black and white view. No wonder this site is lack of visitors, or perhaps, people are just not interested enough for having the experience of exchanging the letter to a complete stranger, as likely as a prison inmate.
She keeps on going to see what they’re offering. At a glance, the site is being up front about the standard procedure. Truly, that’s all, no more than just exchanging a letter, especially in the old school way of sending a letter seals in an envelope.
Basically, this site is just informing where the sender may send a letter to the prison address, and before that, the sender may choose of whom he or she wants to exchange a letter with. The profile description of each prison inmate looks like real huge database. Everything’s stored perfectly; name, previous occupation, birth date, body height, body weight, hobby, crime records, all except for a profile picture. It is somewhat strange that they left out the very important aspect.
She doesn’t know if this either happens by no accident or not, and somehow, she’s already ended up lurking in the prisoners’ database. There are names, majority calls Joe, Joan, Ryan, Bryan, Andre, mostly are men.
Messie doesn’t care, anyway.
However, she can’t pick one without feeling agitated. She’s being restless and her fingers starts trembling, then it happens again, she hits the link by accident.
Full Name : Joey Dayson Mark
Nickname : J. Mark
Gender : Male
Birth Date : 27 December 1989 (27-year-old)
Height/Weight : 185cm/79kg
Hobby : Nothing in particular
Previous occupation : Residential Seller’s Property
Crime Records : Committed murder
(06 January 2014),
dated in Ottawa County Jail, Michigan
There are some descriptions below the main page, but her eyes are already exhausted to read everything. They have small fonts, and businesslike writing that makes it less friendly then the advertising.
The year this prison inmate committed a crime was back in 2014, which is two years ago. And worst nightmare for Messie, he was a murderer, seems like he has a complexion with his hobby too, and not to mention that Messie imagines him as a salesman who used to travel from one house to another, and now he got to end up in jail for being a murder.
She would imagine any possible story that had ever happened to him, but the last thing she would do, is hitting the sign-up link to enroll herself in the Penpal program. She doesn’t have a second thought as she uploads her data to this site. There’s no turning back.
Messie’s not actually think this through as a serious matter, instead, she considers this just for fun. Besides, it’s totally free, no charge or anything hidden. It’s the most thing she needs right now.
She raises up from the bed and closes her laptop before she starts preparing for a pen and paper in her study desk. It feels awkward that she’s never actually done this stuff before. It’s going to be a long night for her to think what kind of interesting introduction to write in her first letter.
Dear, Mr. Joey Dayson Mark;
My name is Messie Denver. I live in New York, and wanting to stay here as long as I’m breathing.
I found this site while I tried reaching out for a new life. I think it should do well, since I never write for anyone before, especially in this old way. You know, our world is just about online text messaging, social media, and everything. Oh, pardon me, you’re not allowed to use the internet, right?
If you reply to my letter, I’ll tell you what the world looks like now. It should be fun, Mister Mark.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Messie Denver Saturday, 16 July 2016
Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York City
And by the next morning, she throws her envelope into the mailbox without having a second thought.