He waited for the next few days. Still, there was no sign of the official statement. Joss checked his mail box every day, but there he only found new bills to pay and promotional papers for new stores opening in the city. One morning during breakfast, Joss read an article in the newspaper about a bizarre accident in which an elderly man tripped on his doorstep, slipped backwards and died from the fall consequences. Apparently, his wife reported that she saw him receiving the mail for that day and that he did not pay attention to his steps because he was opening a letter he did not really expect. Joss remembered how he reacted when he got the statement that said that he still had to pay the loan back. Of everything that could lead to a person’s demise, mail was probably the least expected. Two weeks went by and nothing happened. Joss was concerned.
After a couple of more days passed, Joss decided to call the number from which he received the information about his student loan status. He wanted to check what was going on and why he was not getting any mail from the authorities.
“Yes?” the familiar voice answered the phone.
“Good day, my name is Joss Key. You informed me that I have to pay my student loan back because I did not fill the form properly, but that I can file for an appeal within two weeks of receiving the official statement from the authorities. But, it has been almost three weeks and I still haven’t got the statement,” Joss complained.
“If you can hold for a minute, I need to check your status. Your name is Joss Key?” the voice calmly replied.
“Yes, that’s my name,” Joss said. A couple of minutes passed and then he heard clearing of the throat on the other side of the phone.
“The statement has been sent and we received the confirmation that it was delivered to you two weeks ago,” the voice said.
“How can that be? I did not get any mail from your office! Check again!” Joss shouted.
“Please, don’t be upset. But, I have the information here, it was given to the post office and the post service delivered it. If anything went wrong, I don’t know what did,” the voice said.
“I am telling you that I got no mail from you,” Joss replied.
“And I am telling you that the official statement was sent and accepted. And given the time when that happened, your time for appealing is out. You will have to pay the amount of your student loan with interest included,” the voice said.
“I figured I would have to do that. Can you just e-mail me the copy of the statement letter that you supposedly sent to me? Because I need to know what went wrong,” Joss said.
“Give me your e-mail address and you will get the copy of the letter that the post service delivered, along with the information about the procedure for paying back your loan,” the voice said and then went quiet.
“Thank you,” Joss said and ended the phone call. Everything was like a bad dream, but he was not allowed to wake up from it. The e-mail was sent soon and as Joss read through it, he discovered the mistake the post office made. They got all the right information from the authorities on him, but they apparently wrote it down badly. Instead of delivering the letter to Joss Key, they sent it to Jo Keys, and obviously the man behind that name accepted it. Again, it was all a misunderstanding. But, unlike the last time, Joss had no will to fight it. He was exhausted, and even if he tried as much as he could, he knew he could not win. Something would still go wrong. So, why would he bother? He was just tired of the world.
Joss did not want to tell his parents, at all. There was no point. He wanted them out of all of this, and in a way he wanted them to be surprised. He was simply not ready to listen to their reproaches at the moment. They meant all the best, but he had no energy to explain what happened. In fact, Joss simply gave up on everything.
Over the next couple of months, he lost his appetite and secluded himself into his room and left it only to have long walks by the river. It was as if he was sinking into a pool filled with tar that was suffocating him and closing the little light he found in life. There was no way he could be saved from it. The sentiment of defeat followed him wherever he would go. Joss avoided his friends. He tried to stay away from people in general. There was nothing that could amuse him anymore or distract him from thinking about his failure. The defeat was painful.
Joss was not someone who would think that the world was turned against him. But, an idea grew inside of him. The system was not flawed. In fact, it was great. It was designed to seek flaws in people, to wait for them to be revealed and then, with absolute legitimacy, to claim the fulfillment of its demands. The lessons he had in school kept returning to his mind. He tried answering a few questions. Words were spinning in front of him, authorities, country, state. Joss wondered if he knew the meaning of those words. He was supposed to be a significant part of all three, but there was an abstract wall rising and pushing him out. There was no point in living such life, when he participated so little in it.
Disappointed, one day Joss went to the river again. It was running fast as always. It was going to suit him well. He got to the bridge and approached the iron fence and went over it. Soon, people walking by noticed him and stopped to take photos or to try convincing him to give up. Joss smiled at how easily he was crushed. But, if there were supposed to be more challenging moments in life, he did not want to experience them. He did not leave any messages, he did not write any notes. He did not explain anything. Joss simply decided that he had enough. The air was sharp, whipping his face. The water was cold, soaking his clothes. Then, the shouts from above were silenced. In the end, it did not matter.