Jack Roberts

1917 England

Today is November 13, 2017, a chilly yet comforting afternoon. With the sun and cool air clashing, creating a lovely warm breeze. The perfect way to describe the fall to winter transition happening. It’s like a ghost town here. Not a single person to be seen except me walking down the street at 2:19pm. It’s strange, but it makes sense. It’s a Sunday, the day I’m actually suppose to be off, but instead chose to accept a “huge” offer by interviewing Otto Fowler, an elderly man at the age of 72. Who is somehow weirdly important, my bosses words, not mine. He claims this man is an important figure and by doing this “very important” interview, I could also get a raise in my salary.

So that’s why I’m here. Only two minutes away from my destination. Till they showed up. Nothing, no emotion can describe why I hate these people with these flashy cameras so so much. I didn’t even know they existed in this town… there is nobody famous here. But I guess I was wrong, very very wrong. I saw flashes, heard yelling and demands for this person to look towards them, and there was this voice. If a voice could sound crooked, it was definitely this strangers. It sounded as if this specific person had multiple surgeries on their throat, or maybe they were just old in general, who knows. And there he was, this old little man with a cane, using it to hit the paparazzi out of the way to make a path for him. A path leading straight towards me.

It all went by very quickly. The man, who I still have no clue who he is, drags me along with him, once again using his cane to clear yet again another path, but this time to get back into the building that I’m assuming he came out of. And now I’m here. Sitting on this fancy vintage couch in this fancy office while this “celebrity” pours me a cup of tea. “Based on the look on your face, I’m assuming that you are slightly panicking and are confused. Right?” he speaks. I just nod. Mother always told me to never talk to strangers unless it has to do with my job or I wanted to be friends with them. “Hm, don’t talk much do ya lad?” he chuckles. I give him a tight smile whilst observing him preparing our tea. Who knows if this man’s going to try to poison me.

I take a quick look around the room, trying to find any sort of hint on who this man is, and land on a name tag on his desk. Otto Atley Fowler. Relief washes over me. Looks like death isn’t going to claim me today. I snap out of my little daze to notice that Otto is already seated, observing me. “I can tell that by the sudden slump of your shoulders that you’ve figured out who I am and that I’m not some crazed serial killer” he remarks. I let out out a breathy laugh. What now this guy can read minds or something? “My apologies. I’m Casper V. Wierst, I work for The Prime Telegram. I was just on my way to come interview you, sir” I say. He just nods. I prepare my notepad to start writing while he clears his throat. He begins as the tip of my pen hits the paper.

And then we start. I’m taking this over. My name is Otto Atley Fowler. I was born on October 14, 1945 in Norwich, England and was raised there for the majority of my life. I guess you could say my childhood was a little odd. I grew up with no Mum, she died after giving birth to my younger sister, so I was mostly raised by my father with the help of my aunt. 7 siblings. 4 older, 2 younger. Yes, an absolute pain not only for me but my father as well. Poor man, may his soul rest.

My older siblings, by the time I reached Year 7, were all adults starting their own lives, acting as if they weren’t related to us. I guess that’s the way it is. You grow up and get on with life on your own. My father died when I started Secondary school and my aunt had gotten tired of us.  Couldn’t even reach for our older siblings’ help, they already had their own lives to deal with, why three more. Me and my younger siblings were alone in this big scary and cruel world.

Till she came. I never learnt her full name until the time came, but we all called her Mother Vi. Oh, if a person were to be created by a goddess, she was the one. Sweet as honey, a smile that was brighter than the stars, and hair as big as the rocks over in Stonehenge. Mother Vi was breathtaking. She had took me, my little brother and sister in when nobody else wanted to. She was exactly like our mom. She had cleaned us up for school, made us 3 delicious meals every single day, had helped us with our homework, and supported us with every little challenge and dream. Looking back now, I realize how thankful I am to have her raise me into the man I am today.

I had my first kiss with a guy. It was during Year 11 and I don’t know why I did it. I just guess I though he was cute and somehow developed the courage to tell him. I’m a very indecisive person, so when I had returned home from school that day, I was wary of telling Mother Vi of it. It wasn’t until a week later that I had finally gotten the “valor” to tell her… and she wasn’t mad. I don’t know why I was so surprised at the time because now that I think of it, Mother Vi supported us with every decision we made so I don’t understand why I thought she’d be upset. Mother Vi would always say, “In your lifetime, which every living human on this very Earth only has one. You must make decisions and choices on your own. Do not allow or let people control you or tell you that its wrong or right. Wrong and right don’t exist in my head, and it shouldn’t in yours. In your head, you make your own resolution with nobody’s opinion involved. No matter how important they mean to you.”

Growing up, graduating Secondary school, I was confused. Ever since that little “meaningless” kiss that happened in Year 11, I’ve been lost. I liked men, even though I was one myself. But I also liked woman. And now it might not seem that confusing for kids these days, but back then it was. How could a 19 year old man feel attraction towards both genders?!  But that was nothing Mother Vi couldn’t help me with.

Within my Second year of University, I had finally figured out what and who I truly was and that there was nothing wrong with that. I was a 21 year old bisexual man, and my feelings towards both genders were perfectly okay. Though my family knew, announcing it publicly was a struggle. I had lost friends, gained friends, gotten bullied and supported for it. It’s a confusing world we live in.

Finishing Uni, I had officially graduated and had finally escaped the grasp of school. Had gotten through it with outstanding grades, 3 somewhat horrible relationships, and with the help of my family and friends. I still till this day cannot believe I actually got through it. That I am here where I am today after all the hate and discrimination that I got growing up. And now here I am, going up the path to death, year by year. It may be a confusing world we live in, but it’s changed now.

Mother Vi died at the age of 80. I might survive till then too. I realize now that I’ve never actually mentioned what her real name is. I mean, you’d never assume an absolute angel like her would have a name like that. But to be fair names do deceive. Her name was Vivian, and she saved me.


*Inspired by The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.*