Living To Tell

Dear Diary,

he came back. My twenties rolled by, but he made it.

I had taken the majority of my pieces, as shattered as they were, and crafted a sort of temple for myself. I have beautiful stained glass windows telling every chapter of my past, helping to make me who I am. I have a code to let in all of the light and try to appreciate each depiction for what it is. Every memory lives, every feeling stays, and life is always beautiful.

Going against logic, I opened the door and let him inside of that.

Within a secluded adolescence I maintained an online relationship at sixteen, with a man in his twenties. Adults were parents in my eyes, and the other people were peers who taped idols inside their locker and counted the hours until lunch. This became a strange place in between that I had never known.

He presented ideas, to say the least. And I exchanged letters with him that shared my thoughts and the life I lived. I spent years, much of the nineties, actually, approaching the concept of him with the millennium. Perhaps some of those concepts were too mature in nature or just unrealistic. We discussed that a little, this time, the sort of impression and immortal adoration a young person can develop under the assumption that they will meet and be saved by true love.

We wrote the pages of past, present and future and archived them like Holy Scripture. The realness of the binders, the weight of them, was either incredibly rewarding or horribly damming. All I cared about back then was having someone special to share my soul with and I didn’t understand the danger beyond potentially being rejected. The plan was to meet and begin living face-to-face.

My best friend was about to invite him to graduation, which I think she actually did. By then I would be deemed “free” from the system I followed, mainly translated to a very upset mother who found my letters and tried to monitor something that she thought was out of hand and a bad idea.

Long letter short, he had been seeing someone. If I had been smarter I would have picked up on it because he had dropped hints in a very subtle, cruel way throughout the previous few months. I opened a hand-written letter on my swing set about an unplanned pregnancy, “you’re so fucking precious and I’m so sorry but my hands are tied”, in all caps.

Rather than see it through mature eyes, I carried the image of an imprisoned person with me for several more years. Although pages blew away and life went on, I had a tragedy not so repressed that paralyzed me. I was an Old Soul with a candy necklace. The early years of this journal, riddled with vague references and obvious damage, is a record of that.

In fact, I only started this because I wanted to shout out into the world, somewhere, hoping he would hear me, somehow. I had written my life and my heart out every day and that need to express myself never stopped. Thankfully, I found my voice in the  (very long and difficult) process and learned that there was more than one person to share with.

Not that it didn’t always feel a little lonely.

Sometime after I slept-walked through college and was home, without a care in the world, I broke down in my mother’s kitchen and sobbed over having never made a plan B because of some ridiculous faith in ‘plan A’. She knew what I meant.

She said, “I know, Honey, but you refused to talk about it. Now you have to do something. What am I supposed to tell everyone at work when they ask how you are? What are you making of your life?”

I found Flint, an entire city more rundown than I ever was. The chronicles are in my index and I occasionally get an e-mail stating that it was their favorite part of my blog. Did all of those things really happen, was I really there? Yes. The early 2000’s, I left school behind and found night clubs, tattoo parlors and drag races.

But I would not really feel like a participant. I had become a journalist, understandably, because my disposition had crafted me into a functional iceberg. Everything was something a part from myself – not unlike the difference between writing a letter and living the material within it. There was also Tera at the coffee shop: she extended a great deal of courtesy, practically forcing me to become her friend, which I quickly realized was because she chose females for partners. I admired her strength and effort so much that I just couldn’t tell her the truth. I treated her like everyone and everything else. And she noticed that.

I remember watching her spill Runes onto the wooden floor in her house in an effort to address it.

“There is something in you. I can’t tell if it’s something that happened, something you believed, but you carry it around.”

The Runes and Tarot cards, they told her to tell me to Let It Go.

Then 2003, he found my blog (Live Journal at the time) and all of the thoughts and feelings I’d had for years.

I immediately sort of holed up, putting the latest scene on pause, and went back to writing him. His then-wife had done something to upset him and all of this came pouring out, how I was always the girl who should never have been left behind. How he had always loved me and knew by my writing that I had taken his last words, “maybe, someday”, to heart.

Maybe,

s

o

m

e

d

a

y…

When he came back, it was like the sun rising. Like the lights of life had come back on and that yes, I always knew the truth.

“Autumn, is Glendan back?” my mother asked while we were in the car.

“Yes.”

“I thought so. You seem happier.”

His entire family was hooked into the network, which eventually became a sticky web. Love letters turned into flame wars and I remember him becoming irate. He divorced his wife and ran into the arms of some blogger down south who he doesn’t remember confessing love to. I remember her comments to him. He claims that I remember more about it than he does.

I had just carved a jack-o-lantern. He had complained about “Satan’s holiday” and how he would never acknowledge it. The demonic references he had reserved for his wife, suddenly felt fitting for me. He deleted his words to me and got a new handle. Slapped up lots of photos of the new crew. Some of the entries attempted to summarize his present and path in life. I wasn’t a part of it. He didn’t speak to me for several years.

Apparently his wife insisted that Autumn be forever referred to as fall.

I am never mentioned in the autobiography of his online diary until 2011…and I am only briefly referred to as “the words”.

Such mania, such drama from the moment he made the decision to engage with another woman online. I think I spent the remainder of that year in a silent daze. A Jehovah’s Witness my age would sit at the kitchen table and read from the Bible. Her name was Amber Davis. Her perspective seemed wonky but I was captivated by how hard she believed.

Obviously, the last disappearance felt different. I recognized a very troubled person. I took offense to the declarations and devotions that had been trashed. Life would never mirror the way I felt in my heart and I accepted this. Even so, in reaction, I stopped seeing everyone I knew and stayed inside my family’s house. For months. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I never went back to Flint because something was lost, inside. Confidence, security, drive… I’ve never handled personal trauma very well. When something goes seriously wrong, I can allow myself to feel devastated if I’m not careful.

That’s how Brad found me. He was one of my brother’s good friends, always around. Fast forward, a time or two when I tried to explain the complicated “thing” buried inside me, which he waved away as toxic nonsense, and we bought the house in May of 2010.

Waiting for lightning to strike is a weird thing. With all of the fair weather you just about put it out of your mind because it doesn’t apply. You find other things to do. You go with other weather patterns. You know the odds are low, but there. One out of every two hundred dreams. A few nights out of the year, and this is life.

Dear Diary, I never prepared.

In the new year, there was a letter waiting for me. I knew before the first sentence had finished, whose voice it was.

Just to let me know that nothing had ever been so electrifying.

And that if Brad’s name had only disappeared from my journal that life may have taken a very different course.

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.

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Seeny

Seenie ran into me at the comic book store. I never know how to feel, about him. Or perhaps it’s more that I DO know how I feel, and that it’s a bit sad, like seeing a ghost after he has gone, occasionally fading in for never long enough.

We briefly worked together, played pranks as a team, discussed media, significant others and whatnot, and he was pretty important, to me. Then he left with hopes of moving on to better things and would only really engage in conversation if I initiated it. I got tired of that rather fast, so I stopped. All of the stories (i.e, Gretchen the sales girl who drove a cool car), the topics (how much of a loser my friend Erik is), the truth (the only thing that could ever challenge his contentedness would be a woman), the laughs – when he stopped sharing that world, I felt dumped.

Now he’s always toting around this baby boy of his, excusing comic binges on the fact that he has no other real addictions. He sounds painfully moderately happy but I can’t say for sure. Both of us asked “so what ELSE is going on” but neither one said anything particularly real.

Right before Seenie came in, a girl in fish net stockings walked across the floor, tucked some green locks behind her ear and asked me if I needed any help. At one time we shared, everything that was new.

I knew that she was Gretchen.