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Message Man

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sometimes bad things happen to you. often. very often. one unfortunate action leads to another one and another one. you don't know, if you're constantly doing something wrong, or if it's just a bad luck. you are trying to take control over your life, but things keep slipping out of your grasp. you become the child of misfortune. nothing can stop that.

sometimes good things happen to you. often. very often. you are confused, because you can't remember doing anything particular, what would cause that coincidence. you have no idea, what did you do to deserve it, but you don't mention that, because you don't want it to change. you can't complain.

sometimes life makes fun of you.

life makes fun of tyler. ever since the school year started, tyler is being guided by thin strings like a puppet by some person above, just to meet that one person and make a fool of himself. a portion of amusement for everyone. except for himself.

he lays outstretched on his bed, staring at a ceiling darkened by closed blue blinds and curtains, and thinking. he's thinking a lot about how big victim of his own life he is.

he still finds this week impossible. it's still scary to him. let's turn to the beginning. his role model talked to him, when a week ago tyler complained, that he might never see him again. then here he is. in his city. in his school. in front of him. offering a help. but tyler runs away. again.

he runs away to find the nearest women's bathroom to find his best friend, who's fixing her make up. if he went there with her earlier, none of what happened a few seconds ago would happen.

there's no use pointing out any what if's. everything that happened, had to happen. we keep thinking, how would it be, if we decided to do something different way, but actually we waste our time on it. we couldn't decide different way. there was actually only one choice. no coming back.

but tyler still finds this week impossible. he finds impossible, that he and josh dun were meant to be situated in such position. you can compare it to meeting your most favourite band on your balcony in the middle of the night out of sudden. yes, impossible.

yet he did meet one of his favourite people out of sudden, never expecting that would happen, ever. well, life sets us a challenge, when we least expect it, right?

he wonders, what would any other person react in his place. probably really similar. most of people don't actually run away whilst meeting their idol, tyler wouldn't do it too, not if he weren't so obsessed. not if he weren't stalking josh on the internet. tyler thinks, that josh might in some magical way find out, read it from his eyes, and for some magical reason know about tyler even more, than tyler knows about josh. there's no better choice to avoid such a shame, than running away and never showing your eyes again.

on the other hand, tyler blames himself, and thinks, that everything, what's happening right now, is only because he's such a creep and coward at the same time. he can count out every member of josh's family he dared do mention, but isn't able to look at him truly in the eyes and reply to a simple hi.

the only thing he's sure about, is that both of these reasons are true.

he wants to fix it. he doesn't want to be known as a victim in front of others. he doesn't want to feel like a walking shame whilst looking at anybody's eyes. but isn't it too late for that already?

in our lives happen some events, that affect on our relation with the other person forever. most often for stupid reasons. something like a silly fight on a playground near your family houses. you fight over your favourite swing for fifteen minutes, and eventually win. but your friend doesn't sit on a different swing. they go to their house and never talk to you again.

you avoid each other in elementary school, and still send evil looks even in high school. your hatred for each other grows for unknown reasons. you never meant to fight. you regret that every time you see them. but you both got used to it. that's how it should go. you don't feel like you both could exchange simple words anymore.

tyler doesn't feel like josh hates him. hopefully. tyler doesn't hate josh. obviously. it's just a simple example, how a single act might make tyler look like a fool for the rest of other person's life, even though he isn't, and he tries his best not to be.

tyler has always dreamt to be friends with somebody like josh, especially when he got to know him more and more, and began to realise that it's too good to be true. sure, he has ashley, who is always beside him, who will always offer a helping hand and is able to defend him. everything you look for in a friend.

but ashley is like a bigger sister. it doesn't matter, that they are cousins, because they forgot about that a long time ago. it's just that they really act like siblings. laughing, fighting and sitting in silence is their daily routine.

additionally, people make fun of their relationship as friends by calling ashley tyler's mother. it's not that one of them complains, because they both find it funny, and it's true in some way. ashley sometimes acts like a mother more, than tyler's actual mother does. tyler can do most of things alone, he got used to that in the past, but ashley is ashley. she doesn't do it to make any harm. they both have to protect each other.

tyler often thinks about how it would look like, if he and josh were friends. probably not like with ashley, but quite similar. well, what would it look like introducing each other? yes, josh, that's an interesting information, but i know about that. you said that in one of your videos in january, if you give me a minute i can examine in my head, which day it was. tyler wouldn't let himself do that, but he's such a bad liar.

they could be a trio of friends. ashley wouldn't care about being the only girl there. but that's ridiculous. that's insanely ridiculous. josh probably hates ashley, and thinks tyler is a creep. maybe hates tyler, too.

tyler just envies other people, that they make such a good team with josh. he's brand new here and has already better life than tyler for all these years he's spent there. having so many friends within one week in school is beyond the reach of his expectations. he could be one of them too, but he already lost his chance.

"i can feel you overreacting, tyler," he hears ashley interrupting his intense thinking. he even forgot she is there, still leaning against opposite headboard of his bed. she spends too much time in his house since her parents aren't home. she hates being alone.

"because i am." tyler sighs loudly.

there's a moment of silence after that. ashley probably debates about ways of smacking tyler in the head.

"josh?" she finally asks quietly, and she doesn't even have to say more, because, yes.

"yeah," tyler answers. ashley groans loudly, and before she manages to say a word, tyler adds, "i know, i know, you're going to shout at me, but i met him today. again."

"when?" she asks curiously.

"when you were in a bathroom."

"what a coincidence." ashley snorts. "is he going to be meeting you, when i'm not near you from now on? i'm too tired to argue anyway. he can calm down."

"no, he didn't mean to meet me. he just... kind of bumped into me, hitting me on the shoulder, and my phone slipped out of my hand by the way," he chuckles and ashley frowns. "but nothing bad happened!" he pulls out his phone, showing to her clear screen with no scratch visible. luckily. this phone is the most valuable thing he owns. he couldn't record and edit videos if he shattered it in some way.

ashley rolls her eyes. "is your shoulder okay?"

"kind of. i looked at it after school and it's a little bruised. i had no idea it was that bad. but it's fine. it doesn't hurt anymore."

ashley makes her way to tyler hurriedly and rolls up a little a sleeve of tyler's shirt, noticing a few, small yellow-brown bruises. "that asshole!" tyler only starts laughing. "what's so funny? i swear, if i only were there..."

"it's okay, he didn't do it on purpose." tyler still chuckles.

"sure. who knows," ashley grumbles with a huff.

nobody knows. only josh knows. but he wouldn't go this far to harass tyler. he finds tyler weird and he finds tyler strange, and he wants to have nothing in common with him. that's the truth.

"do you want to know, what happened after that?" he asks quietly with his eyes closed. ashley hums. "i ran away."

ashley eventually starts laughing. "wow, that was predictable."

tyler shakes his head. "i hate myself for that." he buries his head in the nearest pillow and begins shouting to it, "i hate myself, i hate myself, i hate myself, oh my gosh, i hate myself so much! shit!"

it only causes ashley bubbling laughter grow in volume. "should i call mom?" she asks between her laughs.

tyler looks up from his pillow, all red. "no. i just hate myself. it's nothing new." ashley laughs even more. "why don't you hate me? everybody else does."

"everyone else doesn't know you like i do. how could you hate this pouty face?" she leans and takes tyler face in both of her hands, beginning to squeeze his cheeks.

"shut up," he whines and turns around to the other side of bed.

ashley sighs loudly and sits up on the bed. "okay, tyler. i don't know... maybe you should... take your life in your hands and... casually talk to him. it's not that hard. you will get more comfortable if you try harder."

"i'm scared."

"why are you scared? you don't have any problem with talking to me, and even the most popular guys in the school, tyler."

"yeah? i'm a nervous mess. everybody can see that."

even though tyler seems to not have problem with talking to people, he's having an intense battle inside just to not move and run away too. he got used to talking with ashley and it comes out naturally, but with other people, even these, who are friendly with him, it's casually difficult. with josh it's even worse.

"besides, it's josh," he adds.

"yeah? and what does it change?" ashley raises her eyebrows. "is he some person, who needs special language, or what?"

"no, but he's seen me at my worst already. he saw me panicking... and crying, while you were leading me outside that day. i ran away from him just after he told me his name! what a wonderful first impression. it's been just a week and i'm probably already the main topic of his nightmares."

"well, right," ashley agrees. tyler wants to cry and shout onto his pillow again. ashley doesn't know, what to do. he doesn't know, what to do. he shouldn't care so much. he hates himself for that. he's empty.

tyler tries to close his eyes, but his chaotic thoughts don't allow him to do it. he hates making what if stories inside his head, he hates, but he does it anyway.

if ashley weren't a member of his family, or just someone, who had known him before, they would never become friends. tyler wouldn't take a sit beside ashley that first day of school; he would sit alone, as always, and still deal with his life with no one by his side.

suddenly, tyler can hear a buzz of a phone. a buzz of his phone, emanating from his back pocket. he doesn't move. nothing makes sense.

"your phone," he hears. i know, ashley. "it can be your mom calling you for dinner."

it can be. his mother got tired of shouting from kitchen downstairs to be heard in tyler's bedroom when dinner's ready. she sometimes decides to text him.

"fine," he sighs and turns around. "it's not mom."

"then, who's this?" ashley asks, uninterested, still looking at her own phone.

"hmm, i don't know. someone messaged me."

"someone?" ashley chuckles.

"yes, someone." tyler says. "i have no idea, who's this. someone from my channel? don't know."

"oh no, you have notifications on from youtube? dude, your phone must be buzzing all the time."

then the realisation comes to tyler. tyler doesn't get notifications from youtube, obviously. he doesn't subscribe anyone. he doesn't care about comment notifications. he often reads all comments in one go., when he has time.

someone messaged him. not on youtube.

he opens his tumblr and sees one (1) unread message. his heart stops. he thinks, finally, but on the other hand, what did take so long?

then he realises again. it doesn't have to be anybody with an answer to his last post and a will to help him. it can be anybody wanting to, for example, promote themselves. however, he opens the message, and it says;

"hello."

it wasn't what tyler's has been expecting after all. he doesn't even know, what brought that person to tyler's messages. was it his last post? or just a casual want to talk? tyler doesn't know, how to react, so he just responds simply;

"hello."

not even a minute passes, and tyler can see another message on his screen;

"i saw your most recent post."

oh. sure, tyler posted that to bring out some reaction, but he wasn't truly expecting to get an actual response. he's surprised.

ashley notices tyler's conflicted expression and breaks the silence, "is it some rude comment?"

"no, just," tyler begins. "somebody wants to start a talk with me."

"well, maybe it's finally the time to agree on that?"

"maybe," tyler mutters.

"okay, but when you make a new friend, don't forget about the best one, named ashley," she says, with a serious expression this time. tyler doesn't have any response to that, but, fortunately, he can hear footsteps somewhere near his bedroom.

there are a few knocks on the door, and a voice of tyler's mom, "is ashley here?"

"obviously!" ashley calls back and stands from the bed.

"dinner is almost ready, i better see you both downstairs in a minute." his mom disappears from behind the door and ashley hurries just to reach her.

"i'm sorry, you maybe think i use you all for food, but i'm so hungry, dude," she says without turning around and reaches her hand to tyler to join her.

as usual, they spend their time waiting for dinner at a table, talking. or not. it's just ashley talking for her and tyler at once with the rest of the family. she always has too much to say.

nobody seems to complain. tyler knows his parents wanted to have more than only one daughter, but they happened to be gifted with one loud child, who looks more mature, than he actually is, and somebody might be disappointed, if they realised, how dumb he is; one popular kid, who invites at least three friends every day; and one disappointment of a child. guess, which one is tyler.

but also, they have one, perfect, daughter. it's no surprise they prefer ashley and madison instead of their sons.

tyler sits at a table, looking at his phone under the table, and not caring about his family's conversation. he stares at this one message, and thinks, and thinks, and thinks, how to respond. he doesn't want to make a fool of himself again.

"that's... great. i thought nobody would see it. it was dumb."

"well, it got me worried. do
you want me to leave?"

the response is so quick it's impressing. the person in front of the opposite screen must be really firm, in comparison to tyler, who thinks ten minutes, what to write.

and no, he doesn't want this person to leave. the last thing tyler wants is somebody to leave again.

"no, you don't need to leave."

"do you want to talk then?"

"sure."

tyler found it a little creepy at first, but then he remembered he asked for that by making not less creepy post. talking through the messages isn't dangerous. it's going to be fine. just talking to a complete stranger. seems fun.

"okay, tell me something about
yourself, if you want. then i'll
tell you something about myself."

what should he say? he knows he can't reveal too much. however, telling a little information won't be anything bad. he thinks. he looks up at the table. almost every kid looks at a phone screen, ashley too, but the family conversation still continues. he's safe.

"what do you want to know?"

"what you're interested in,
place where you live, i don't
know, whatever."

"i love music the most. i compose and write my own songs, but they're shitty, though. i try."

"do you play?"

"the instruments?"

"yeah."

"piano and uke."

"that's great... do you show it
to other people?"

"you should."

"kind of."

"kind of?"

yeah, kind of. just to people on the web. but i'm too scared to show them my stupid face, he thinks.

"not completely."

"okay, at least you do."

tyler doesn't know, how to respond to this. he sucks at being a people-person. that's why he is always alone. he doesn't respond. the person on the other side doesn't either. at least not as fast as they did before. they found tyler boring and rude, that's sure. or not yet, because another message pops up.

"what about your name?"

tyler forgot about that. he forgot, that the main way of starting a proper conversation is introducing yourself. telling your name. he can't reveal his name though. yes, youtube knows his name is tyler, but he isn't on youtube right now.

"would you get mad if i didn't tell you?"

"at least not yet."

"how would i call you then?"

"whatever you think is fine."

"will you tell me your name then?"

"well, i shouldn't tell you my
name if you aren't going to
tell me yours, should i?"

"how do i call you then?"

"whatever you think is fine."

the irony.

tyler's mom tells kids to put their phones aside, because the dinner is ready. all of them are obedient, and so is tyler. maybe it's time to listen to family conversation for the first time. he just decides to check his phone for the last time.

"okay, fine. i'll make it easier."

"you can call me message man."