To Someone Who Vanished And Left Something Behind.

“He built it himself, with his own hands. It’s weird, my parents not living there, anymore. It’s going to be weird, walking up to some strangers and going, ‘Hey. Do you mind if I show my wife the inside?’”

Sometimes I think about the house your father built. No matter what else happened or didn’t happen, that seems to be the easiest truth left standing.

I wonder, if you really did swallow all those pills in college and slept with blood so thin, whether or not you pissed your pants. Before, I didn’t even think to ask, and you failed to mention. So that leaves me wondering.

I think about how in a few weeks, I’m going to be the same age you were when I was sixteen. You were supposed to be so smart and experienced, and yet here I am, at a place they claim I’d only understand once I was older. And guess what? Looks like you didn’t know everything. At all.

I think about how I’ve spent the past few years hoping to reach you, somehow. You abandoned everything here in a respectful vow to a better life, so I never took very drastic measures in finding you. Every few months I checked the internet for your name. Neal’s concert at Carnegie. Your Brotherhood chapter. Proof that the story in my mind hadn’t been a dream.

Eventually, and I mean, after a very long time, I started to think of what I never liked about you. No matter how hard you claimed to disprove it, the design you wrote everything into fit a Southern Baptist cliche, from the homophobic republican bit down to your righteous laws on love. A few of those were greatly challenged, I understand, and yet some things you may never – as I can now dare to realize – begin to understand even if you experience them firsthand. Like, how hard Celine Dion blows, for example.

I think about “Titanic” whenever I see used VHS copies propped up on the shelves of our used media store. Just the sight of that thick, 2 cassette package decorated with a sappy photo of the leading characters forces me to turn my head. Over time, my Sap-tolerance faded with the popularity of that film. Since then, I’ve replaced its poster on my wall with a framed photo of Leonardo in Rolling Stone, smoking a cigarette beside the quote: “Titanic is something that will never happen again – nor will I ever try to repeat it.”

With you gone, at least, there isn’t a better writer around. Because we both know who the real writer was. Anything I do is merely fucking around, in comparison. If they think that I can get a story across, then you must have the ability to transport an entire world apart with the power of words. You did, for me, after all.

My biggest regret came from using a name I couldn’t live up to. As Faith, I didn’t have enough in myself. Every time we drew each other in was another reason to fear that you’d eventually see less than my best and then ultimately ruin whatever you liked so much, about me. And I guess-that no matter what, I always refused to believe that…that’s where the story dropped off. Things have happened to me since that were massive and very demanding for room in my heart – every day the noise comes and goes, breezing in and out of my life as I’m figuring out who I am. But for years after you disappeared without warning, I allowed an unfinished ending to taint every decision I made.

I saw your website last weekend, in what was going to be the yearly, five-minute check. I saw you had changed your name. I saw that she had her baby girl. Beautiful, even despite the gay “angel” blanket trend and pink clothes from hell. Looking hard through the corniness of loving family-owned business complete with images saturated in nauseating holiness, I’d found you.

Even though I’m glad that I wasn’t in that photo, wearing some ritualistic dress (another issue we disagreed on unbenownst to you), seeing and officially knowing that you had taken her, changed enough to stun me. My mother walked into the kitchen, glanced at the laptop and reached for her glasses. In dead silence, we scrolled the last page, together.

“You’d think he was normal from the way he worded that. Must be on meds.” She removed her glasses, took her water glass, and went to bed. Just like that. And I had to smile…

because against my will, she’d been along for the ride, too. In her mature, over-the-hill kind of way, she had perceived most of what I had. She was there when your track hurdle broke. She was there when the cop shined his flashlight onto the man passed out by the tombstone. She was there through the curse of 7. To have her say that, acknowledging the selfish, sick bastard who told me that he loved me, meant a lot. God, she hated you.

I’m okay feeling alone right now but I was so sure, at one time, you’d walk along with me. I had you all picked out when I was still waiting for driver’s training, getting on and off the bus every day. The plan was followed, after all, for years. I was loyal to it and even from now on (which is what life has been since Monday), however far along the road I am, should I come upon a passing train, I’ll feel that .0001% chance of jumping it to Missouri,

and passing the house your father built.


2 responses to “To Someone Who Vanished And Left Something Behind.

  1. You probably have no idea that I come back and read this entry ever once in a while [or is it every once in a while] wondering if it will still be here, or if at some point you trashed it.

    She finally took the advice you gave her all those years ago, so be proud of that. I’m sure you won’t get any credit for it, not in her mind, but you do in mine. Often, I wish she would have been a bit weaker, and this whole illusion would have crumbled long ago.

    But that’s sentimental bullshit that I leave reserved for people that actually DO have a connection to the basic human experience. You and I both know that I do not have that, never have, really … well, maybe once. But that was so long ago [many years. many regrets. many promises that it all meant nothing]

    My nature is to mark this comment anonymous, because let’s face it – I always thrived on being dark and mysterious. That’s because when I was in my early 20s I actually thought things were cool that actually were stupid and childish. So I’ve moved on to things like Iron Man and Selena Gomez, because I can blame those guilty pleasures on having kids. But I’ll go ahead and mark it with the journal I just created, because I don’t want to come across as I always have before. There’s no need for you to read anything into it…..

    I am happy for you, truly. I won’t lie to you … over the years, I kept hoping to see his name disappear from your profile. Maybe if it had, my path would have been much different. But here am I, and there you are, and it’s as it should be. I hope the wounds I caused have long since healed, and this is nothing more than a reminder of what you survived. And if he is responsible for that, then you deserve it.

    I hope that what they say is true, and time really does heal people. Because if it IS true, then perhaps you no longer hate me and we can be [friends]. Not friends that swap pictures on Facebook or text what value menu you chose at McDonald’s. Because I really couldn’t care less about that [well, the second one anyway]. But it would really be great to stop wondering if this entry will be here when I come to check it ever[y] once in a while.

    So that’s it. Seven years ago, I lost [Faith] and to be quite honest, I don’t think I have ever found anything that could come close to filling the darkness left behind. But I probably deserve that, and every other time I’ve stumbled trying to find my way, and every time I will stumble going forward.

    I don’t know why I think you deserve to know all this, or [even more importantly] why I think you will give a flying fuck about it. After all, I’m the guy who hates dogs and trees and your the girl who hates wedding dresses. We never had a chance, we were just too young [and stupid] to realize it.

    Or, [and this is significantly more likely] your Faith wasn’t enough for both of us, and I guess the point of this message is to let you know that of all the regrets of my life, that is [without a doubt] the greatest of all. Maybe you’ll accept my apology, and maybe you’ll just be satisfied to know that you weren’t the only one who lied [Faith Rivada] because I never actually had the guts to take the pills. I had the bottle, and I wanted to take them more than anything, but I was too afraid of disappointing all those people who actually believed in me.

    I suppose the real humor in it all is that, instead of disappointing them with one fatal gesture, I prolonged that disappointment for the next decade [or two].

    And with that, I will end this message … not because I’m afraid you have already stopped reading, but because I suddenly am aware that I could write you an infinite number of pages. I could fill those black binders [that she hated so much] twice over and still not feel the words fade. But, that is the life I sacrificed, and I suppose seven [wow, there’s that number] years is just enough to time for me to find the courage to admit it.

    Goodnight, Autumn.

  2. Re: Happy New Year.

    [this site confuses me now … is it the same, or have they changed things??]

    I made my entries public. They were supposed to be public in the first place …. I rarely ever kept my entries closed off from “the world”. You know, I am so fucking interesting, I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone the potentially life-changing experience of reading my thoughts.

    [is that it, or is it because no one on this planet can read my thoughts and have a clue?]

    no one. except one.

    Anyway. I had made a faulty assumption that you knew more than you did. Because, obviously … well it’s obvious to me, anyway. Not sure what is obvious to anyone else anymore because most everything I ever say or do seems to confuse the hell out people that [should] know me.

    The young, naive version of [me] thought it was because everyone else was missing something, and I had it.

    I’ve grown to realize that …. it’s probably the other way around. And I’m just too delusional to grasp it.

    I visited the house, just a few weeks ago. The new owners have put ornaments in the yard and landscaped…. and the trees I planted as a kid are fucking huge. But the house itself … the actual blocks that have defined my dad for a quarter of a century …. is run down. Severely run down. That made me sad.

    And despite how hard your gag reflect reacts to this …. I thought of this entry, as I looked at the house my father built.

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