[Semiotic of a ballpen]
Alice was a lady who had a lot of friends, but does anyone of them really know her well? Does anyone of them can see through her bright smile? Does even her best friend, Hannah know more about her? Can she see through the beautiful barrel Alice was hiding herself in?
Alice and Hannah’s family were neighborhood friends, which made the two of them best friends. When Alice’s parents died in a car accident when she was just 13, Hannah’s parents decided to adopt her and treat her like their own (daughter). Alice and Hannah reached the point where they were already like sisters – the latter had no problem sharing everything and every story she had to the former, but the former is the exact opposite. Alice may be a kind of bubbly girl but she does not feel like expressing herself to anyone else, not even to her best friend. She rather write and rant on her diary than share it verbally. It has always been the company of her pen and paper she felt comfortable the most. Even though she liked it that way, that does not mean she does not like the company of other people, especially Hannah’s family. Alice did not stay in Hannah’s family’s house for forever – she moved out and lived independently when she graduated.
Years passed by and Alice became a writer for a variety show where everyone admires her. It was because of her creativity that made the show achieved its consistent high rating. In her work, aside from being creative and a bright writer, she was also known for being approachable and such a nice person with a nice smile; and for being the ‘girl with the purple ballpen.’ Wherever Alice went to, she always made sure to bring her (specific) ballpen with her – she had been using it for 13 years and she wanted it as the only one she will use for writing and signing.
People around her praises how compatible she and her ballpen was – how the purple barrel of her ballpen looks so nice that suites her beautiful face; how even the color purple represents her personality, and how its black ink looks so fine on a sheet of paper whenever she write down her wonderfully created scripts. For Alice, it was not the compatibility of her and her ballpen that made her love it, but because of her parents. Her parents knew how passionate she was on writing and that certain purple ballpen was the last birthday gift they could give to their unica hija before they die; and that is what made Alice treasure her pen – she wanted to use it until her last breath.
Her parents may have died; her best friend may be married and have a family of her own; she may lived by herself, but no matter what her circumstances are, she always made sure to keep positive in her everyday life. She smiled all the time. She always sent her co-workers who are also her friends her bright smile that signals them that everything is doing great in her life. Therefore, the day the news reached them: Alice being dead… left them flabbergasted. That was the point when the people who know her thought that all the smile and laugh she showed them was just to window dress her pains so they will not worry about her.
She never told anyone about her cancer but her pen and paper. Hannah found her dead in her room, when the former decided to check her out when she did not answer all of Hannah’s text messages and phone calls.
Alice knew she was going to die anytime soon, but she did not let it pull her spirit down. She decided to spend her remaining lifespan by making other people happy, with the help of her ballpen. Every day and night she tried and thought hard of humorous and wonderful scripts and skits for the variety show that would surely make the viewers smile and laugh, and feel the good vibes. Even until her final breath, she was thankful for her ballpen for helping her fulfill what she wanted before she left this world.
Hannah, after visiting Alice’s funeral went straight to the latter’s apartment. As she enter best friend’s bedroom, what caught her eyes first was the purple ballpen lying on the bedside table. Upon reaching for it, it crosses her mind that she never saw it ran out of ink and never saw Alice refilling it nor change its ink chamber. Hannah noticed a letter envelope – addressed to her, and recognized her best friend’s penmanship. She cannot help but shed tears, and using Alice’s ballpen she tried doodling hearts on her best friend’s letter to her, but to her surprise, not a single ink came out. Since Alice’s pen was not transparent, Hannah decided to pull out its ink chamber only to find out that it already ran out of ink. She cannot help but gasped and say, “Did you run out of ink the same time your owner ran out of breath?” Feeling defeated, Hannah threw herself on her best friend’s bed only to stare blankly at the ceiling, but later on talk by herself, “You know Alice, you are just like your ballpen, particularly the ink. You don’t let anyone know how you were doing – you keep on hiding yourself in your barrel. What you only show us was how great you were on the outside, but you never show us nor tell us how you struggled inside.” Hannah’s tears flowed uncontrollably down her face while she added, “I am so sorry Alice. I will not blame you. We cannot blame you. It’s also our fault that we bought all of your facades. What we also only chose to see was your bright smile, and how great you are in terms of looks and talent, but none of us concernedly check if you were running out of ink… we only checked on you thoroughly when you were gone… only to find out that you were battling cancer for years.” Hannah gripped the ballpen near her heart and continued, “I am so sorry Alice, I wasn’t a reliable best friend and a sister. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to put this companion of yours in your casket. This is yours and will only be yours. This accompanied you when you were alive and will still accompany forever – wherever you are. I love you, Alice, till we meet again.”