He checked it for the nth time in the past two months, knowing fully well what the result would be. Still, he did it anyway and the outcome didn’t surprise him. What he saw was what he had seen all the previous times he performed the exercise.
It started after he had watched the movie – Wanted. Just like in the movie, he had googled his name – Wynchrist Tenenbaum – and just like in the movie, he had seen exactly zero results.
The first time, he brought himself to like the outcome. He thought that he could beat Google. He prized his anonymity. He had felt an cloak of invisibility and an aura of invincibility. Over time and after a few more zero-result searches, he secretly started to wish that things were different.
Now, after this attempt, he gave up; gave up on the hope that he mattered. If even the one place where everything resided - the Google - couldn’t find him, he was forced to come to terms with his reality and accept the existence of his non-existence.
At 56, he was past the age where he could look forward to what future had in store for him and not yet at the place where he could look back at what his past has given him. As he stood there, he saw nothing in either directions. He felt neither nostalgic nor hopeful.
He looked up from his phone and re-read the tombstone in front of him. It said, “Unknown Soldier”.
A pang of jealousy shot through him.
“Lucky you”, he addressed the unknown soldier. “Your tombstone has two words. Mine will have only one – ‘Unknown'”.