Short story: Alone.

Oftentimes, memories can be unreliable, tempestuous, and even traitorous to their own host. But if mine does not fail me, I remember first spotting the poster for the book as I was pacing around the glorious library of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in Berlin, Germany in December of 2014. I coveted it, not only for its beauteously saturated white cover that markedly appealed to my sense of aesthetics, or even the socially content people that were drawn on it but for its title, one that prompted me to recall countless moments of gut-wrenchingly lonesome and

immeasurably painful instants in my life. One may judge my statements to be oxymoronic, for how may someone desire that which would reverberate the terrible days within their finite and fragile existence? And for that I offer a simple retort, the title simply reminded me of two traits which I have longed to possess but alas lacked, “How to Win Friends & Influence People”.

I never had any friends, and the majority of my acquaintances were either family members, or the educational staff of my high school, who are forced to see me every day, but due to their job liability, are sadly unable to treat me as their personal punching bag like my fellow classmates. Regardless of the myriad motives one can elect to be the issue, such as my inability to immerse myself in the daily trends, my peculiar fashion choices, or even my

unfamiliar accent, people have always found a reason to utterly and violently hate me. But the book promised to change all that.

As soon as my brain made sense of the letters, I ran with the entirety of my strength to the cashier while simultaneously navigating my path for any nearby employees. And after what felt like countless light-years, I was within talking distance with the cashier named Rick, whom I seemingly interrupted from an inaptly timed salivary conversation with a good-looking lady. But Despite the uncooperative settings, I preceded to inquire Rick about the whereabouts and availability of the book, to which he simply responded with “I’m sorry, but the book has been sold-out, nationwide.” I froze in disappointment but soon regained hope as I remembered that fortunately, my generation is blessed with online shopping. I hurriedly typed the book’s name on Amazon, and frustration once again ensued me as I read “We are sorry, but this product has been sold out. Would you like to be notified when its back in stock?”. I clicked yes and marched hopelessly out of the store.

Days funneled by, and my relentless hunt for the book never ended, until March of 2015. As I was conducting my rather trivial tasks, I got alerted by a buzzing sound from my pockets, it was my phone. I slowly freed my phone from its dark prison and swiped the screen to check the source of the alert, it was a notification from Amazon; “The product: How to win friends and influence people is now available for purchase” I felt my entire body jolt as I jumped higher than I have ever had, I was, for the first time in a long miserable while, happy, hopeful, and a feeling that I seldom experienced, excited.

I got the book three days after I ordered it, and luckily due to my rather unsocial and uneventful lifestyle, I was able to effortlessly find an adequate timeslot to begin my life-changing discovery, one that could result in blessing me with the world’s greatest gift; a friend, or it could be my gloomiest hour to find that all the hopes that I had mounted upon this book are misplaced, and shockingly, what I had thought to be the worst but most improbable case, came to pass. The book consisted of two hundred and eighty-eight pages of what turned to be a repetitive but different rewording of the notion “Believe in yourself, and all shall come by.”

By a biological characterization, we are a social species, ones that seek and survive upon social contexts, and without social links, human life would be arduous and laborious. I have tried different means in the past, and none have beavered any fruitful results, but I genuinely believed this time to be different, that some form of wisdom would be bestowed upon me and render my remaining days joyous and eventful, I thought that by the time I finish reading the book I would stand at the top of the world, as a normal teenager, that I would possess a number friends who would call me by my original name and not “window face”. Instead, I was told to believe in the same self that I sought to change, and rather than standing at the top of the world, I am currently hanging from the ceiling of my room, pale and lifeless. For all my family members, I am truthfully sorry, but perhaps, if the tales of God are true, I am not alone anymore.

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