Raymond felt he sand between his toes and just kept on walking, not even realizing he was walking towards the ocean. To him, it didn’t matter anymore. His life was stuck on a loop and he had lived what he needed to live. He felt there was nothing more he could do or that he could get out of life on Earth. He had decided to think things by taking a walk and, unknowingly, his subconscious had already decided that it was time to end it all. The water reached his pants fast, and then his underwear. Then his belt, his shirt and finally his glasses. The current and the sheer strength of the ocean did the rest, taking his body from that cold, windy beach to the bottom of the ocean, from where no one would be able to take it for some time.
He wasn’t someone people would miss and, although the ocean released the body, the police didn’t identify him for several months, as no one would ask for him. When they finally did identify the body as Raymond Bloom, it happened just because of a casual matter and not because someone was looking for him. The truth was he had no wife, no children, no parents and no friends. According to the information an officer was able to gather, he had lived alone for at least twenty years in a small attic on a very old building. The place smelled awful, as no one even knew the owner was dead. The officer found there some leads on who the man was and, maybe, on why he had done what he had done.
Officer Jenny Marshall was one of those people who believe the best of every single person. It was strange for a cop to have such an attitude towards life but there she was, trying to cheer people up and making the best of her day every single day. She had been transferred recently and it was only the second post she had held ever so she wasn’t really assigned to the streets or to some interesting investigations. Jenny normally did the paperwork for every case and was in charge of keeping the archives in order, something she took very seriously. Deep down, she knew that her male counterparts loved to see her tie down to a job that didn’t lead anywhere but she ignored that fact and just did her work.
Investigating the death of Raymond was assigned to her because she requested it. She told her boss she wanted to change her work a little and such a case would be perfect for her. After all, it seemed pretty straightforward and she could even do all the paperwork herself. So she convinced her boss and there she was on Raymond’s apartment, pinching her nose to avoid the foul smell of rotten food and trying to uncover the reason why he had committed suicide. To Penny, personally, it was not clear how a person could do such a thing. For her, life was sacred and no one had the right to take their own, even if they felt helpless and desperate. She knew there were always better options.
She went through Raymond’s things and discovered that he had been published. The books did not look very nice on the outside but then she decided to sit down on the bed and just read one of the many stories the man had written in them. One was particularly moving; dealing with a ghost that saw how his childhood home was tore down to build an apartment building. She found very interesting but very sad too. She kept on looking for clues on Raymond’s house but she realize the only thing worth looking in there was his books so she put them all in boxes and took them to the station. She would try to find something in them and get to the bottom of the case, that way making everyone realize she could be a great agent and even a decent detective.
Jenny started ready every single one of Raymond’s stories at work. No one really said anything to her because she wasn’t annoying anyone and she was doing her main job, which was taking care of the all the data. As she did that and on her free time, she would only read and read everything. Months passed until she had read every single piece of writing in Raymond’s apartment. It was winter now and the last words she read from him where strangely appropriate for the climate: “I feel the cool breeze coming and telling me it’s time to go”. That was a short story about a man radically different from Raymond, with family and love all around him.
The officer decided to let the case go for a while, so she went home and spent the holidays with her parents and her boyfriend and every other family member that had decided to come to the city for Christmas. She had a wonderful time eating and talking and dancing. She laughed a lot and wished for life only to be like that, full of joy and people whom you loved and who loved you. She realized Raymond’s writing had begun to depress her a bit but her family and all the love and special mood of the season brought back to her the best feelings and that nice warmth that only love can take to someone’s heart. And then, right in the Christmas dinner, she understood what had happened to Raymond.
He had killed himself, not because he was weak or suffering in a too awful way. He died because he was alone; he had no one to take care of him or to even listen to what he had to say. And that was obvious just by reading what he wrote, as he said everything about anything he had ever thought about in life. It was amazing to read about so many things, but funny and serious, happy and sad, short and extremely long. His writing had been the way for him to externalize every single thing he had bottled up inside, as he ad never had anyone to properly talk and share his thoughts with. He had been trapped by his own life or, at least that’s what Jenny thought. Even if he was to blame, he had no choice.
When the holidays ended, she wrote her report on the death of Raymond Bloom and decided to properly request her transference to the detective’s unit. She knew she could do more there and when her demand wasn’t accepted, she resigned the police. Jenny had learned from investigating Raymond that she needed to do with her life as she wanted, she couldn’t afford not living and not doing what her heart demanded of her. She didn’t want to end up like Raymond, all alone and talking to the books because there’s no one there. Unappreciated by the world and ignored to the point when, at her death, no one would ever think of grieving her. She wanted more from life and, eventually, she got it.
Raymond’s books were donated to a public library and it was almost two years later when Jenny saw Ray’s name on the news. She was working with the FBI and now had a partner and was properly working the field. But during the investigation of a case, she saw the headline and bought the newspaper to find out what it was all about. Apparently, a book expert had been investigating the libraries of the cities looking for antiquities and particular books and so on. He had discovered Raymond, who had been an unknown author all his life, and declared he was one of the best storywriter he had ever found. He didn’t know that Ray was dead but he did know something else that Jenny didn’t: Ray hadn’t been as alone as she had thought.
According to the article, the man had found several letters in the apartment Raymond had lived in, now turned into a posh flat. During the reforms on the place, they had found several letters and the expert had read them, discovering he had owned a dog for a long time and that he had died just about the time the author had stopped writing. Besides the dog, he had been in love with someone he described thoroughly in his letters, every physical aspect and some traits of characters. The letters, with such richness and passion, ended up being edited into a book that sold millions of copies, making the expert a rich man.
Jenny was sad that Raymond had not been there to enjoy his fame and fortune. They eventually discovered he had committed suicide and that made his letters and all his books even more popular. Eventually, there was no one that didn’t know the name of the author and his tragic story. Jenny had thought, for a moment, that she had known the author but she realized she never did. She realized that no one had ever known him properly. He had been in love, that man who felt so alone and so sad. He had experienced life and life had not experienced him and Jenny felt that he finally understood why he had done what he had done. It was clear as water and she wouldn’t argue with it.
Raymond became famous, as well as his views on life and his pain, which was painted all over his letters. But no one would ever know him as he was already gone and everyone had lost the chance to tell him “I’m here”.