He sat alone in the big meeting room. He had played his part well, pretending he understood, pretending he knew what Kevin was talking about:
a next phase in his life. Yeah, right. Truth be told: he did not understand!

Slowly he got up and walked out. He left the big folder he had brought only hours ago. He had been full of ideas, news songs, ideas for videos, ideas for business ventures which would have involved all 5 of them.
And then Kevin had told them his news: ĎIím leaving the groupí.
Stunned as they had been, they all assured him their support, good wishes and a promise to keep a place for him always.
Any opportunity to talk about future albums, songs, endeavors were all thrown out of the window.

He drove home in silence. His house seemed extra quiet.
He poured himself a drink and stared out across the water.
What had happened? What had gone wrong? Why did Kevin go? For 13 years Kevin had been one of his best friends, a brother, someone he could turn to, talk with, have fun with.
He had said he understood. But he really didnít.
He had to find a way to air his frustration. He could not do it in music. But he remembered the BSB website.
Thatís it. He would pretend to be a fan and write Kevin a letter.

Purposefully he walked to his desk and opened his laptop.

Dear Kevin,

OK, that was a good start. But how continue?

Iím older than you but I wonít say Iím wiser. But you do have me worried. ĎNext Phase of your lifeí? I know we deserve better than that.

Lately, Iíve been going through some hard times. Still, with all that is happening, and not having any friends I can lean on, I talk to the five of you a lot. True, I talk to Howie the most. But I talk to you a lot as well. Hey, I can pretend we have some good conversations!

He knew that was not all together true. He did have friends, Kevin being one of them. And he talked a lot to all of them, and himself, even if they were not really with him.

So when I read the news of you leaving the group to start the next phase of your life, I was very sad. And puzzled. How do you start a new phase. Do you just stop doing what you have done for so long, what is in your heart, your blood, your very soul?
Iíve been wrecking my brain trying to think of something so big and important that you can not do with the support of your family. And with family I mean Howie, Nick, Brian and AJ as well as us, the fans. I donít care what the official statement said, the guys are sad. And donít fool yourself: deep down, they donít really understand.

So I decided to write you this open letter and tell you about how I see life.

For me, life is like a string of beads. When you are born, you start of with a long piece of string with nothing on it. As you walk along, beads are added to your string.
Each bead is a challenge, a struggle, a joy, an achievement. And each bead makes you richer. And after many years, when you near the end of your string, you can look back at all the beads you have collected, all the memories that make up your life. Some of the beads have turned into precious gems, signifying your greatest loves and accomplishments. Other beads are plastic, wood or coal. Those are the troubled times in you life. But all together, gems mixed with ordinary beads, they make the most beautiful testament to your life.
At least, that is how I see it.

So when you say you want to start the next phase of your life, itís like saying: Iíve had enough of this string of beads. But, Sweety, there is only one string, only one life.

I can appreciate you want to do something else. No problem. But donít treat us like fools. Donít say your next phase in life and then not even say what that is going to be.

We are friends, You have thousands of friends. We have walked together since 1993. You have helped me through bad times, sang to me in good times. We carried you through good and bad times. We walk along the same path. Donít say that all of a sudden you donít want to walk the path any more.

There, Iíve said my piece. And this time I actually said it out loud, well kind of anyway.

You will never read this. But believe me when I say that all any of us wants is for you to be happy.

Weíre just sad you feel you canít be happy with us any more.

Goodbye, Kevin.
Keep The Backstreet Pride Alive!

He ended the letter with the words he had seen fans used: Keep The Backstreet Pride Alive!

So what if some of the letter had not been quite true. The beads he believed in very much, the feeling of sadness and frustration, the feeling of loss, he felt all that very clearly.

Login in under a pseudonym, he published the letter on the weird world site. How ironic, he thought: isnít it a weird world indeed.

He knew he would never get an answer to his letter. He knew he had to accept Kevinís decision and live with it.
Closing his laptop, he picked up his drink and returned to staring over the water.

It would not be easy. Not al all.

The end.