Anonymity guarantees your privacy, an option to live your life without desperate cries for a moment without saving "the world's ass". Nonetheless, anonymity grants you peace; at some point, because you can't ignore their pleas for too long; and a little bit of recognition in the form of the public adoration, after saving someone prominent. Without sharing your private details... But what if someone helps every time, not knowing that people already found out his true identity? Yet they respect his need for anonymity and let him in the impression he is not recognized?

This is the story of Eugene Jones. Of a man who dedicated his life to aid others and treat everyone with respect. Without being aware of admiration and thanks.

Eugene worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years, and his colleagues cannot speak ill of him. He was working in a team consisted of three people, including him, and never complained to the boss. His articles were always submitted before the deadline and were always neat. No grammar mistakes, flawless and full of wisdom between the lines. Though Eugene himself wasn't flawless. His personal life was tragically opposite of his work. After a terribly painful divorce with life-long wife, he stayed in a huge empty mansion all alone. His sons were already adults and didn't care much for their father. And the only daughter died after a long fight with breast cancer at age 26. Her death led to man's depression and divorce. Though what look-alike as a tragic story turns out to be a deep fresh breath of life, another chapter. Eugene found a passion for work with the stone. Even before he helped in the local community centre as a mason. But after daughter's death, he dedicated every building to her bubbly personality by engraving her initials into the last-laid brick in the middle of the building in eye-level height. Soon, it was a whole street. And then another. Before he knew, Eugene helped to build half of the houses in his hometown. Every house wears the name of the person he loved the most, after his ex-wife. CJ. Caroline Jones. It could pass by without notice if someone stepped in. 

Julius Branch was the last person you would expect to help someone else. Self-serving narcissi with megalomaniac complex weren't the brightest example of serving others. But after he accepted the aid of the local masonry, when the raging storm damaged his chimney and falling stones destabilized the whole construction, he met personally with Eugene. The man appeared simple-minded, even slightly autistic, but his passion for work with the stone and his concentration on the task were impressive. As time went by, Julius found him fascinating. Since the works on the chimney and house took a lot of time because of stabilization processes, Julius had a lot of opportunities to speak to the man. And Eugene at first reluctant started to tell his life story. The story of his family tragedy. And when they were finishing the work he told a man a history of the community he lives in. Julius seemed unimpressed at first glance and when masons left, he even forgot the man's name. Everything changed one night when another storm threatened his house by its force. The whole building was shaking. But the masons made a couple of precautions and increased the house's safety. After the storm, he went outside to check the damage and found the initials. He remembered the story of the man who did this immediately. And decided to show his appreciation in style, even when he didn't remember his name. Julius Branch never does things simply or anonymously. Everyone has to anticipate in his gratefulness. As he meant, he did. The day after the storm he went to the local newspaper central and sold them a story. The local journalist read it and was touched by the mason's spirit. After a bit of editing and a couple of grammar checks, he submitted the story into the next day's print. Eugene was reading the article with tears and in immense pain. As he was reading a story of his own life, the pain returned and hit him with a brute force. He wanted to throw the newspaper away when he saw a comment section. 177 comments? At first, he looked at the section in disbelief. Then curiosity won and he started to read. All those kind words of his neighbours and strangers, whom he helped during the biggest crisis, meant a lot to him. But then the reality hit him hard. No one knew it was him. He hadn't friends with whom he could share his troubles and beside Julius Branch, no one listened to him when he spoke.

A few days later he was invited to final building approval. It was the last house; before Branch one's; and Eugene was proud of its owners. They were able to rebuild their relationship after the husband's infidelity and they even moved out of the past house. When he arrived at the place, he immediately spotted something different. He recognized the people and so on, but something seemed odd. The owners invited him closer, and he saw something that broke his heart. Near the brick with initials of his daughter's name was engraved his own name and quote he loved to use in his articles: "Love never fails." As he was standing there unable to say a word, owners started to clap their hands in admiration of him. Eugene Jones burst into tears and excused himself for a moment. They left him in front of the house and he fell on his knees, observing the engraving carefully. It was made preciously, with deep admiration and respect to the so-called author of the quote. Of him.

After this overwhelming experience, his passion for masonry seemed to stagnate. He never wanted to be admired for work he did from a love to his community and started to shy away from people who wanted to thank him. Everything changed as he received an invitation to attend the gala of Julius Branch Charity. As a journalist, his presence was compulsory, though the gala wasn't his cup of tea. After arrival at the event, he spent some time interviewing guests of the gala, trying to avoid the organization team and Julius Branch himself. Then boss called him and informed him, that there will be an auction and he needs to attend. Eugene was feeling overwhelmed by the atmosphere and wished to go home, but the boss' orders were orders. The event was coming to the end when Julius Branch announced: "Today, with us, is the man whom I respect deeply. He is a mason by heart and journalist by occupation. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my saviour, Eugene Jones. The man who was saving lives for twenty years without being farther noticed by the public."

Everyone turned their attention to the man who was standing in the corner of the ballroom and tried to shrink. And they started to clapping. Then Julius Branch made another announcement: "Maybe you don't know that Mr Jones, but all people in this ballroom are people who owe you their lives, the roof over their heads. I found them all. 200 house owners with all their family members. All of them came here today to admire you and show you the respect you deserve."

Eugene Jones cannot believe his ears and eyes. He quickly scanned his surroundings. All those people were his neighbours, and some of them were quite famous. They all stood there and appreciate him. "All your life you were there for us, and we didn't see you. Now it's time for us to help you. To see you. To thank you for your dedication... all money from this auction will go to the cancer research centre named to the memory of your daughter, CAROLINE CANCER RESEARCH CENTRE in Missouri. I know this act of kindness will not bring you your daughter back, but it can save more lives... and that's what should matter." A journalist was then invited to the podium and said, stuttering: "Wh-what you have done... it will never be forgotten. My beloved daughter suffered and all family suffered with her. Her testimony was: "Love never fails."

With these words, he sat down on the chair and closed his eyes. After 23 years of struggling, constant self-doubting and wallowing in self-pity, his work has been done. The relief came in one huge wave, washed his pain away rapidly. He closed his eyes and rested in peace. 27.6.2020

June 27, 2020 00:10

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