A Pen Story
Let it be known that the various stories I am about to tell took place over the span of two years, but the meaning of them will take longer than that.
In my opinion, things of my origin deserve to be treated with wonder. And, in return, wondering that progressives will be rewarded with answers. However, recently, the wondering has ended. People I encounter are now wealthy enough to take things for granted. They stopped questioning the way they used to—no longer does the beauty of finding old pennies on the ground or the catching of a cold spark curiosity. Instead, they immediately turn to credit cards and focus on abstract numbers, instead of the physical meaning of currency and exchange. People get sick as usual, but they now expect prompt treatment, vaccines, and bullshit quarantine legislation as if they were rights in constitution. Did they forget about the limitations of self-sufficiency? Did they forget the vitality of bartering? Will they forget… about me?
Made in Japan
It is always polite to make introductions. Colloquially, I am called Hi-Tec-C, but my formal name is Hi-Tec-C Gel Ink Pen. I am purple and two years old. I was produced in Tokyo, Japan by the Pilot Corporation, the largest pen manufacturer in Japan and the third largest in the United States. Recently, Pilot produced the first pens that contain thermo-sensitive ink as well as eco-friendly pens made out of recycled plastic bottles. I am proud to call this recognized and reputable company my creator.
Everything that comes out of this place is unanimously recognized as reliable, high-quality, and affordable. We are popular in school and hoping to start associating with the older, artistic crowds.
Thus, although I originally knew nothing about the outside world, I was not scared or anxious about my future. Even after I passed quality control and underwent the rite of passage consisting of being packed into a package, I was not a bit worried about where I’ll end up. A Pilot pen is produced so well, I should be prepared for anything.
This is the best part of our lives. We are at our peak appearance and usability. It was here that I got to see so many different kinds of us all at once. At 10 AM each morning, The Shop opens. For the next eleven hours, there is nothing but excitement and suspense. Is that person looking at me? Is he or she going to test me out? Will he or she be my owner? Every once in awhile, there would be drama regarding one of us getting misplaced or lost.
It was my five weeks here in The Shop that I learned the most about the human species. A lot of the older one that weren’t selling had a lot of observation to pass down to us younger ones. It was also during my five weeks here that I decided that I wanted my owner to be the type of human called a girl.
He was a senior in high school. He was quiet and simply followed orders just because he did not like to put up a fight. Thus, because it was his mother who advised to do some school shopping before the fall started, he did not seem particularly interested with us and simply bought about fifty of us from The Store, packed us in his suitcase, and took us to his boarding preparatory school in the United States. Here, my owner spent a lot time with me, studying and taking notes. During his classes where his peers would be also have pens of their own, I realized that all the pens that looked like me came from Asia whereas the pens that originated in the US looked and behaved slightly different from me.
One morning in October, my owner rushes in the room and grabs me and few other pens and pushed me into a backpack. For the next hour after he pulled me and the others onto an empty desk with a blank paper of it, I was furiously trusted all over the page. After hundreds of words, he got up to turn in his paper and accidentally pushed me on to floor. He forgot about me. And I sat there on the table until morning when the janitor found me and tossed me aside on a table.
Another young man with a distinctly lighter hair color than my first owner picked me up.
“Look, this is the pen that all those Asian kids carry around,” he said.
He hoisted me up to the ceiling, and then used me for the rest of class. After class, he took me out to the parking lot where he was meeting with some friends. Before reaching his friends, he puts me between his index finger and thumb and flung me far across the parking lot until I hit the concrete cement. I think he did this to show off to his friends or just to release pent up energy from having to wear ties and dress-shoes every day. Luckily, I didn’t break. I don’t want to be broken yet, I’m not ready yet.
A girl with brown hair found me three days later. She looked nice and took me to class, keeping me in her purse when she wasn’t using me. She treated me well, but sometimes she puts me in her mouth and bites down. I hated it, but felt that I would rather deal with her than the guy who threw me in the air.
One morning in May, during exam time, this girl did something unusual. She takes me out of the purse and brings only me and some sheets of paper into the bathroom. Was she going to study in the bathroom? I didn’t understand. Then, she pulls down her sleeve, revealing her arm and had me begin copying down the numbers from those papers onto her wrists. Number by number, I kept thinking that she was out of her mind.
For the next four days, she repeated this process and became even more aggressive with it. I noticed in her front pocket, she stuffed miniature photocopies of notes to refer to during exams and had also begun using her other wrists for me to fill in more information. I then understand why she used me. It was because my tip size was so small, she would be able to write smaller and fit more words onto her body. She was a pathetic, pressured person.
Please don’t look at me like that
Or pick me up.
I no longer flow
And once you figure it out,
You like all the rest will violently grab me
And press me against the white sheet
Harder and harder until I bleed
Oh, when will this misery of false hope end?
For now, let me lie in this box
Along with the forgotten, yellow ones.