Of Root And Reason

I came home yesterday, to be with my family. It can be stressful, entering that environment, but I needed to see everyone. This weekend felt like it should be about the most important things.

One truly horrible sight to see was of uprooted trees in the field as I came down the road. The old farmer has died and the barns, buildings, everything beautiful is getting hacked to bits. I don’t know why I should care so much. But the scenery has been here, forever, even before I was. I came into a story that was already ancient. Walking by it, exploring it secretly, the entire three-mile radius around our house is sacred, to me.

And pieces are falling away.

While Christopher was out I went into his room and half-hid chocolate. You’d never know that I’ve painted his walls over, once before, and I’m still caught off guard when I see his reflection in décor.

A far cry from the double twin beds and forest decals we grew up with. I remember when we would sit around a cassette recorder and do audio skits, laughing manically, knowing Mom would come in every night to give back scratches and tuck us in.

Now, ash and grime. Torn off closet doors. Knives, lighters, scattered papers. No light switch or lamp actually works.

Dad is having trouble, breathing. The hospital’s semi-diagnosis is “acute bronchitis with an obstruction”. And his white somethings are high, whatever that means. On Monday he sees a lung specialist because we’re apparently still looking for answers.

I should have known it was bad when he had such a hard time, tying his shoes.

He grabbed his chest, gasped, “I’m just about out of breath.”

We were going into town for late night ice cream and, because the boys who ride in my car like to JAM the fucking passenger seat WAY back like fucking adolescent assholes, the seat was stuck and my dad couldn’t breathe. Something having to do with his angle, like his lungs were sloshing with water or his heart was being crushed.

“Pull over. I have to get out!”

We got out, crossed in front of the headlights and I handed over the keys. I was staring at the fields, rainy, dark and scary as shit, you know, that home sweet home-

“Be kind,” I order, close to tears but not there, yet.

“What?” Dad asks. I don’t answer. We duck back into the car. I fix the seat but let him drive. It’s not easy (for me, because I worry the entire time). He can’t see very well at night, anymore. But he makes it. We walk through the front door with ice cream and listen/watch Sirius music stations until it’s time to go to bed.

Did you know, that the Buckinghams (“Kind Of A Drag”) were thought to be British when in fact, they came from Chicago? Dad knows that. Now I do. I also learned that I really like the bluegrass channel.

Today, while Dad was fighting with the original Nintendo, I grabbed glasses from the cupboard and filled them with water.

Dad told Mom many years ago to wait at least three days after he dies. Just in case.

***

I tell Chris as he’s walking out to smoke, “Put these rubber bands on this one.”

Of all the tantrums, blasted gangster rap and other bullshit he is capable of, he always seems to notice when I am trying to do something. Remember? Fix this? He quiets down, his brow relaxes.

He fusses with the rubber bands, drops in colored tablets and sings, “Jesus Is Just Alright With Me, Jesus Is Just Alright With Me…”

This Is Where It Got A Little Muddy.

This was not written by me, although I inserted a few reactions in italic. This was written to me.

And I believed it.

————————-

I have poured about a fifth of Gin down my throat tonight, and to be completely honest, the light of this monitor is giving me a significant preview of what tomorrow’s hangover will feel like.  But you know what?  It is time to do this.

The dark chapters of my life, the ones that only I know about, MY secrets
I don’t want them opened
I resisted, because
the truth that lies within them is horrifying to me. And thus,
I expect
to you.

You spent a long time going through your journal
explaining passages
giving me clues to the thoughts you’ve had for years.
wondering where i was
why I left
what i was doing
why i left.

When driving home, late at night, from selling a machine in Whothefucknowswhere, Kansas, I would listen to the radio and imagine what you looked like.  What you were doing.  If I would ever actually meet you.  The concept, at the time, was remarkably insane, and I didn’t care, because … there was something spiritual about our time together that could not be explained with the usual logic that I built the rest of my life around.  There was a calmness to your being that kept me hooked…like a drug.  Like an obsession.  An obsession that I chose.

And songs even now, remind me of that time.  All Cried Out, by Allure, Butterfly, by Mariah Carey.  Songs that I would otherwise NOT care about, that are some of my favorites now, and people have no idea why.  “You don’t even LIKE that kind of music, why are they on your playlist?” “Not sure, Susan, I think it’s a mistake”  [hopefully she doesn’t notice how pale my face has become]

Two applicants came across dad’s desk, and he interviewed them.  Next thing I knew, we had a phone crew of 4 people.  Brandon, Tiffany, Misty and Susan. Within a week, Tiffany was slipping me a piece of paper, a torn shred of a yellow legal pad, and it said, “Susan likes you”

And that’s when, the insanity of what Glendan shared with Autumn was put into perspective, thrust under the microscope, devoured by the gods of logic that terrorized me for years to come.  I agreed to an innocent “double date” with my brother and his girlfriend, and we went to Oklahoma, to the county fair.  Lots of Vodka.  Bad decisions.  Pregnant.

I could stop the story, right there, and you have all the information you need to know in order to illuminate all the dark corners, all the dark chapters, of my life.  The rest of my life, was defined, by the next decision I made.

I convinced her to abort the pregnancy.  Was it because I didn’t want to be a father? Wasn’t financially secure?
I did not love her.
And she did not love me.

But that decision, the one I convinced her to make, the one we drove to Wichita to enact, the one she was barely old enough to consent to, the one that happened when she was in her third trimester, it killed any hope of she and I ever being happy, and it sealed the end.

I moved to Dallas, after the event, and I expected to never see her again.  My cousin, Mike [who I still do business with today] put me in contact with someone who hired me to run the hotel.  I became manager within two months.  Had my own hotel, in Lewisville.  An opportunity to excel..  But did I do it?  No.  Because I let [her] back in, and then … suddenly the addiction, is it okay to call it that?  Not love, not anything … an addiction to …?  something? unexplainable.  Certainly unhealthy.  Or maybe I’m just excusing my ignorance.

We lived in Dallas, with Brandon … he hated Susan.  He thought she was nothing but a leech.  If only I had seen that, then.  But I wrote to you.  I was there, with her, when you sent me the Kenny doll from South Park.  The “Truth Serum” flask.  She knew they appeared, she didn’t know where they came from.

I finally escaped, again.  I went to New Mexico.  To get away.  But I brought her back in.  I didn’t SEE it as a pattern.  I bought our wedding rings in Amarillo, Texas.  I proposed in Clovis, New Mexico, in a hotel room, playing a Bon Jovi song.

Weeks after this letter my friend Nicole was pestering me for info as we sat at the bar. I told her he had proposed in a hotel room to a Bon Jovi song and she spit out her Mountain Dew and almost drowned, laughing.

“To which #%6ING  song? YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME??”

We married, and Karmynn was born about 11 months later.  And then, the bottom dropped out on our “seemingly” perfect little life.  Susan abandoned Karmynn and me, to carouse with her new “walmart buddies” who were 5 years younger than her.

My family bombarded me with God and all the shit that just turned me away.   I was unemployed, living off of BRANDON’s income.  Trying to figure out what the fuck I wanted to do.  Neal counseled me on the phone.  He reminded me of something I had already thought of, many times, in the last few months.  The girl from (was it Michigan??) who had once held my heart?  “Why don’t you give her a call?”

and somehow
i ended up
on this strange site, an online “diary???” [how gay]

really, people actually DO THIS????

VOICE 1: You can’t just show up and say, “Hey it’s me” and expect her to take you back.
VOICE 2: He needs to just stalk for a while, watch carefully, see what she’s up to.
VOICE 1: Perfect!  Then he can make his move, once he has evaluated the situation.
VOICE 2: So, pick a screen name… how about “watchful eye”?

A lot of his behavior had always seemed predatory but I told myself it was always in my head.

And we spoke on the phone, a few weeks later.
I remember your voice, as if it was…tonight.

LJ was a poison.
It introduced me to “that other girl”.  The other one, the one Susan hated ALMOST as much as Autumn.

I noticed he was connecting with other females, collecting their numbers. The letter had yet to tell me anything I didn’t really know.

She was young, way too young, but she had a kid k’s age, so we bonded.  We talked about “single parent shit” and I was lured away, to a distraction.
It kept me from falling back to Susan
and it kept me from continuing the imaginary with Autumn

I met Ashley in Dallas.  The same night my brother met his wife, Tracie.

We had what could be considered a “one night stand”.  We lived far apart, we were separated by many years in age, and …. she wouldn’t take Tylenol because she was morally opposed to medication.  Okay.  There is PROBABLY not a future here

Short and to the point, one-sided and not exactly understandable reasons for why it didn’t last. Also, a lie. “Ashley wants a garden,” he went on in covered tracks he’ll never know I found…

I brought Susan down, from Oklahoma.  We “rebooted” our life.  She swore she would do everything right.  So we begun the next 7 years, in Jan. 2004.

Why is it always up to the female, to do everything right? Has he never done anything wrong in-betweeen

We fought.
MANY times.
You would come up.
That Autumn chick from Michigan, I loved HER, why can’t I love Susan?  Why can’t I feel the same?

“uh, maybe because you are fucking bitch?”

T was born.

Susan would occasionally take the kids to Wichita Falls, TX, to visit her brother’s family.  I would stay behind, to watch over the storage facility, with 72 hours to kill.  I would always
A
L
W
A
Y
S
end up on your journal.
Reading the happiness that Autumn shared with Brad
The stories
you told
because you never wrote about the bad
just the good

Susan: “Why are you so hung up on her anyway??? She HATES you. She wrote me on LJ and told me I should leave you!”

Yes, and she is happier now.

Brad
Brad
Brad
“My Brad”
“My Guy”
Brad

“she HATES you”

Brad? REALLY? This is the girl who …hated? wedding dresses?  What the fuck ever.  She deserves it she honestly, deserves …. it.  (but why? not ?  …… me?)

30 clients
Susan meets Deloma
We argue
we fight
she starts hitting the bars
swears she’s working overtime, but refuses to show me her time cards because “she shouldn’t have to”
stumbling in drunk at 2 am after texting at 11 that she’ll be home in 15 minutes
kids not understanding why mom’s never home
Brad? seriously?  fuck, I really truely FUCKED up,

Best of the Best, award,

comes home so fucking plastered she pisses in the floor, thinking she was sitting on the toilet
she tells me the reason she hates me is that I didn’t let her go to her uncle’s funeral
I feel bad
i never said she couldn’t, I just said I don’t understand why she would WANT TO
“he raised me”
she thought he was her father, till I figured out.  Great uncle
“YOU TRY TO CONTROL ME”

Dad has a manic attack, becomes God, becomes jesus, says he’s leaving my mom,
i spend
3 months
dealing with him
and NOT dealing
with my home
Susan drifts further
Dad records my mom arguing, screaming, he cuts it into tracks and emails everyone

Facebook – dad preaches there, because ‘that’s my ministry” he says

I laugh a little, because I know he’s currently okay and that this happens, on and off. He has told me about his father in detail throughout our lives. I will never be shocked if a man tells me that heaven is waiting, in the road. I’ll understand.

Susan – tells me – she doesn’t know how she feels about me anymore…nothing left??

Dad agrees to take his pills.

Christmas.

“You never buy me jewlery” are you fucking kidding me????

$800 ring.

“Thank you, it’s beautiful” hug. won’t make eye contact.
Kids know something is wrong.
Christmas is ….. silent
decorations hollow
no music

December 30th.
Time for work.
We hug.  “I will see you this evening,” she says.

“Have a great day” I say.
5:49 pm.
Text, Susan to me: “I’ll be home in about an hour”
Text, Me to Susan: “okay, grab some Taco Bell.  The kids are starving and I didn’t cook”.

We did not see her.
for
4
days

She returns, and tells me she is not in love with me anymore, and she just needs to leave.  It’s better for the kids.

Sadness? No.
Relief, yes.

[incidentally, i am more sorry than you can ever know, Autumn May. I AM SORRY]
I caved.
I caved, hard.

I remember your voice.  On the phone.
You never tried to talk me out of my decisions.
Sometimes, I wish you would have.

I am torn
to bits
inside
because
I know that I am only one bad decision away from my third strike, and I know, that you are
there
waiting for me to
FUCK
up.

you are too smart,
to fall
for this

For ME..to talk about the past…to tell you things like …. I got drunk and created a life that I then killed, or that I abandoned all I cared about … for nothing.  that takes…more strength, then I have ever … actually….felt…in my body.

Truth?
You asked what the fight was about.
She admitted to me, that the abortion haunts her, daily.  Makes her hate herself, hate me, hate everything.
And I admitted to her … that I feel nothing.

and she left

All reason, no compassion. When someone is devastated by trauma and you wish to remain with them, you need to accept that you could be apologizing every day for the rest of your life. This is not the first time you fought about this or became annoyed that ‘the past’ came up with your ex wife. The past will suddenly crash over a victim like unexpected waves no matter how good life may be.

Truth is
i don’t remember as much as you do.
and i feel bad about that.

then i realize that …. while I don’t necessarily remember every detail, what I DO know
is that you have
completely
enveloped me
for years.

I tell him to gather his friends and family, that they will need to be in place if we are ever going to help this man. I realize that I may not be present, at the end.

I think about your mother.  I could make her smile, I could make her laugh.
I could make her take you aside, in the corner, and tell you that you made a good decision, getting rid of Brad.

I could have a beer with your brother, your dad.  I could make them smile.

And I could shake hands with Nick, and tell him thank you.

He is not a fan of the person he knows took his piano teacher and turned her into a woman with secrets and faraway stares.

Prelude To His FaceBook Life

Autumn,

Now that I know what you said, earlier, about K and how you felt you lost her.  Wow.  I cannot …. even…begin….to describe what it felt like, in my heart, in my soul, for you to say that.  I felt more connected to you at that moment, then ever before.  Not sure why…but, that was fucking real.  Autumn.

What I want to say …. what I did say …. is that YOU are my GOAL.  I realized, somewhere between ….. today and the other day when you said you loved me … I realized that this chivalrous thing of not actually ….pursuing…. you … that’s not. Right.  It’s not what I should be doing.

I can’t [won’t] try to make your decision FOR you…..but
god help me

I will try to make you see that what I am … is not words on a screen.  I am not that … “thing” … from your past, the “thing” that you can’t let go of due to some half-crazy obsession.

I keep coming back to the word soulmates.

[two words, apparently, because spell checker does not like it as one]

I have ridiculed that notion, so many times, the past 7 years.  Mostly in my mind, but even aloud a couple times.

Every time I said it … every time I thought it ……. i was trying to hammer another nail in that coffin, the one where I buried you. I let so much slip through my fingers back then….and again…..and now, at the moment when this universe has given me one more chance…

I still feel a tinge of excitement when I pull up email on my phone and see your name on dozens of emails.

The darkness of this room is pierced by the light of this phone.  And that is what I feel, Autumn. The darkness of my heart being pierced by the light of your soul.

I can’t go 10 minutes without seeing your face, thinking of your words, and hearing your voice.  Though it has been years, I can still hear your voice in my mind.

And I love my life.  I love who I am, when you love me.  I need you. Like air. Like blood.  You are my passion and my strength.

I feel like that gambler who hesitates for a moment, then slides all his chips to the center of the table.  I am “all in” …. and I am happy.
And I want nothing more than to hold you, and let you cry or laugh or whatever you need to do.  To trust. Instincts, or fate, or faith, or love.

You are precious to me.  You have saved me.

The life I want exists in you and begins the day we transcend words once and for all.

But for the moment, I realize that all I am allowed to give are words.  So all my words belong to you.

Love,
-me

——————————————–

I tell him how I felt when he changed the password to my e-mail, after a vanishing act. He had sent me
a cryptic message and locked me out, entirely, forever. I would never share a password again.

He also needed to learn just how much damage he had caused, burying me alive.

Glendan,

“When will she learn to be… free?”

It was instantly there, at the top of my inbox, sent from myself. In
your voice. I became uneasy in my seat, as if looking up and down the
monitor and all around me would reveal you. But it didn’t. It was an
isolated whisper as if you solely existed in the question, frozen.

And then you were gone. My primary e-mail account was gone. No matter
which links I clicked looking for a way to recover my academic
contacts, friends, enemies and mostly the only means to the voice that
had visited… there was no way back.

You know my thoughts about the drone of college life, the hatred I had
for evaluations, papers and bells. I kept wondering if you had been
asking me if I was sure that I had gone in the right direction.

I was locked in a room smaller than before, sneaking out with enlisted
partners to destroy reputations, school property, prevent annoying
students from getting into the sororities of their choosing, all of
it, for what? To find myself walking the campus at night, past the lit
fountains in the dark, back to that little room where the other
roommates would watch me walk past, saying nothing.

With all of that pain, loss, frustration and damage to myself (lying
about who I was) I had become the opposite of that angel I envisioned
as perfection. I took the screen out from my window entirely and would
look down onto the college, wondering how much longer the awful
sentence would last. As it turns out, the answer was one year before
suspension for poor grades. After that, with some counseling, I would
be permitted to give the institution another $10,000.00 to guess at
which undesired degree I could have and maybe even show up to class,
for.

All because you couldn’t stay out of the window?

It brought too much confusion and
regret. It made you ill, being torn into pieces. Your ideals were
shattering.

I was not free.
Something is sacrificed, something is stored out of the way and this
process is years in the mastering…

Until something cracks. Something falls from the sky. Something bursts
to the surface in fear of finally dying.

You come back.

And you say that this is it, that it’s time. Wake up, wake up. Hey,
what’s going on? We’re this close. What are those things
that still…

Trap you?

When will she learn to be… free?

——————————————

Autumn,

I struggled with a thought today.  That thought was beginning to transform into a philosophy.  And, when I tell you the thought, you’ll understand why I tried to prepare you for the letter I was planning to write.

When you left the chat session, your last words told me that he has always been there for you.  It didn’t bother me that you said it, what hurt was that those were the last words you wanted me to read for a time.  That pain stung … the point that you made, or that I thought you were making, left me with one haunting sentence burning into my mind.

Maybe she needs to ask me to go.

Maybe I’m killing her, forcing her to live this split.  No person should have to endure … this.

I began to ponder the idea that my coming back was not meant to bring us back together, but allow us to finally close those binders, and walk away.  With peace.  With understanding.  And with a mutual sense of admiration and respect.  And.nothing.more.

I fully appreciate where you are with Brad.  I do, think about it.  The mother of my two children is still in my world.  She is right there, just a few counseling sessions away from being a viable option for me.  The option Tyler says should be my only goal.  In his mind, it’s what is right by God, and by the kids.  Statistics don’t lie … if Susan were to change her behavior and her attitude, the kids would be better off if we reconciled once again.

I don’t feel love for her, but I’ve been with her 12 years and there is something there.  Call it love, call it comfortable, call it nostalgia ….. call it dependence.  I can’t deny that there could be feelings there for her, if I were to stop resisting them.

It did not help that a few minutes after you left our chat, she texted me.  And for the first time since she left on December 30th, I could tell that she was feeling ….. homesick.

Autumn, you don’t need to read any more of my words that explain how much I love you.  Not right now.  You already have those, and you can hold those close to your heart, and cling to them whenever you start to fear or whenever you start to doubt.

I miss certain things about Susan, I have been lying to myself this whole time.  I’ve been so angry, that those feelings were dismembered along with everything else in our life.  But tonight, I felt them again, and I felt guilty for it.

But at the same time, I realized how easy it would be so to say the right things, do the right things, and I could have Susan back home within 2 weeks.  I could avoid the heartache and pain of living a life separated from my kids 2 or 3 nights a week.  I could avoid the hassles of splitting property.  I could avoid the headaches of making sure she pays the truck payment that’s in my name.  I could just ….. be satisfied …. with the life I’ve spent all these years creating.  I could do the Facebook life again, and probably be okay.

And if I did that, you would be free to live the life you’ve created with Brad.  And you would also be okay.

I would not disappear this time.

But you need to know that I do have that choice.
Or I have the choice of moving on, with no one, until I find someone else later.

If you need to stay with Brad, then I understand that decision.

I realize how utterly CRAZY it is, to think you get on a plane and I meet you in Kansas City, and we drive back to Joplin, and you …. meet my mom and dad.  That you bend down and introduce yourself to my children.

And what if we fail? … I believe we both are prepared to deal with that fallout later.

But the more important question is …… what if we succeed?

Please. Let me plan this.

Just tell me when.

Birth and Aftermath

I always wonder when I’m going to feel like a grown up. Did it have something to do with the way I was brought up, physically abused, forever taught the wrath of adults? Is it from social anxiety when I refrained from conversation around my friends’ parents, always told how “polite” and “sweet” I was with nods and handshakes?

Is it because I never understood where I should go or what I wanted to do?

His children could have sealed the deal of doubt and despair. Whenever I hear that someone is interested in a man or woman with kids I give two big thumbs down and tell them to kiss their finances and freedom goodbye. Keep lookin’, because you don’t need someone else’s hell.

I heard that a baby had tied a man’s hands and forced him into doing the God-ordained thing. When I saw photos of a girl down the road and realized how recent they were, it became clear to me that God had lost a round, somewhere. Children were mysterious to me when he insisted it was the way of his holy family.

Years later the stranger sat his daughter on his lap and let her run her fingers over the keyboard. He said, that if I was not around at the end, she would hear about me, one day. I knew before they both vanished, that he would be unable, unwilling, to keep his word. I would be a secret left untold.

She became a mystery, too.

It was baffling, trying to imagine her growing older, unraveling the past. I’d pass by the strangest things and think of her. She was the cover of books I refused to open. She was Olivia, Fancy Nancy, Pinklicious. She represented the never, the why bother, the I Honestly Didn’t Want To Squeeze Someone Through My Vagina, Anyway.

So many broken dreams, hearts destroyed. Step parents and awkward questions. I vowed that my life would make much more sense.

Not This Time.

Glendan,

The last time that I can remember you ever and officially saying
“sorry” was in blue ink capitals, on my swing set. I don’t eliminate
the possibility that you haven’t offered more than one, but I have
been unable to hear much of anything, since.

You let that silence speak for you. That was your decision.

And what you need to understand is that *I took your decision* as
seriously as any and all of the words.

Your self-proclaimed disconnection to the human experience is deep,
but not because I believe it. The concept in itself is a lie, like the
serial killer who only kills serial killers. It makes for a good
series on HBO but it isn’t true.

Now, after a couple more years (what’s a coupla’ more years) it’s as
if I stood the test of time. DAMN, I really did have an impact, didn’t
I? We really had something, didn’t we?

I could never close the binder.

——————————————–

January 4th
Autumn,

The first time we met, the days that melted into months so seamlessly that I found myself in a cyclone of emotions that I never knew existed, were truly magical.  We did indeed create a hologram, or a miracle, and you are right when you say I wrote it off.  I did.  And for that, [and I mean this with ALL.OF.MY.HEART] I am deeply sorry.  I.AM.SORRY.

Even if you’ve just stumbled a little

I cannot ask you to believe anything that I am about to say.  I wouldn’t believe me, if I were you.  And that is what makes me think I should just sign off once and for all and walk away from the past.  I should just put to rest all of the fear and joy and triumphs and failures and heartbreaks and long nights and [love].  And, honestly, there’s really no question about it ….. I SHOULD do that.  I SHOULD. For your sake, and maybe even for my own.  But I know that I cannot.  I never will be able to.  And that is what has tormented me for over a fucking decade.

I once was special to you, I was this mysterious guy that seemed so different than everything you had ever known before.  I was the figment of your imagination [the subject of your dreams] yet all the while, real.  What we shared was real.  What we HAD was real.  And what I lost…..was real.   [not lost … that is not what happened…… what i sacrificed]

You know me, Autumn – you know that I often make decisions based on what the “signs” are telling me to do, not what I believe is right.  It’s a flaw in my personality that I have never been able to overcome.  And though I’ve wanted to have this conversation for years, my commitment to [her] has kept these words locked in my heart.  Now that [she] is gone, the words are being released.  I’m not even sure it is even a choice anymore, I think it is what MUST happen.  It was going to happen, no matter what, no matter when, it HAD to happen.

I haven’t stumbled, I have been set free.  [and this is the part where any sane person would call bullshit]  I am doing NOW what I should have done in 2003.  I have been set free of my commitment, I have been set free of my [moral] obligation.  I am NOW where I’ve always wanted to be.  I am standing, once again …. not leaning.  Not cowering.  Not hiding.

Not that [she] held any true power over me, but my daughter did.  The decisions I made were for her, because I truly thought it was RIGHT.   I thought my daughter’s life would be better if I gave her the “typical” life that my parents talk about when they blast my brother being gay.  I thought I would be “depriving” her of normalcy to pull her away from her mother … regardless of the circumstances.  I made [what I thought was] a purely unselfish decision.

The next 7 years [dad said seven good years and seven bad years] were sprinkled with good times, but for the most part our lives were a train wreck.  I’m not going to lie and say I was miserable, but let’s face it ….. a truly happy person would not have been checking great_dame to see if she still [remembered] the house my father built.  Call it nostalgia.  Call it guilt.  Call it a remnant of the only moment of my life that I felt true love [Is it too cliche to use that term?  I’m pretty sure we called it that, did we not??]  Call it what it REALLY was …. it was me, inching closer and closer to “the line” that I knew I dared not cross.  It was me, getting as close as I could to
that
line

The past 6 months I knew that [she] and I were over.  The very end was abrupt – I told Facebook friends it was like being blindsided by something I saw coming miles away.  Honestly, it was something that I WANTED to come ….. but I knew I could not be root cause of it.  I could not be the one that brought “the end” about, because then I would lose the very thing that put me here in the first place.  My daughter [and now also my son] depend on me to be the one that does what is right.  So it was their precious hearts that kept me locked in my box, just waiting…….hoping…….for the moment when [she] fucked up.

The moment she told me we were over, do you know what my first thought was?  Of course you do.  I’m not even going to bother saying it.

I hadn’t checked your profile in months ….

<!–[endif]–>

and had to speak with Autumn again

When I commented on the one entry [anonymously] I felt guilty.  But not because of [her], but because I instantly felt ashamed that I had willfully twisted the dagger that I once put in your back.  Not because of what I said, and not because I thought you wouldn’t knew who said it ….. but because you would see that as the me [from 7 years ago] who did not have the courage to face you.  It was not my intention to step back into your life all “mysteriously” to play more mind games [not that mind games were EVER my intention, but I’m quite certain over the years, you have come to believe that’s what I did]  It was NOT my intention to stir up shit, or use you as an emotional crutch during a “rough night”.

I can only ask you to view this as I view it – and then you make your own decision.  I have nearly every female from my past on my Facebook, and I carry on normal, every day conversations with them.  I discussed the merit of the Pony Express [as compared to carrier pigeons] with Melissa today.  I see pictures of Angela’s baby daughter about once a week.  Those relationships are what they should be … mere snippets of my life that, when added together, mean virtually nothing today.  [She] could never understand that, and she hated all those people and [she] hated me even more for refusing to pretend like they did not exist.  But. She hated Autumn much, much more.

Why? For the same reason that I’m pouring my [heart] out to you now.  Because what you and I shared was not a snippet of my life that, when added to the rest, means virtually nothing.

And even though I treated it as such when I left you, I knew then and I know now that it was the [absolute worst decision of my life] thing I would regret the most for [the rest of my life] eternity.

So.  There you go, Autumn May.

Which brings me [finally] to the real question.  I would be surprised if you haven’t already thought it once or twice or [over and over and over] and then I remember, it’s Autumn May, so she probably hasn’t asked it because she already knows the fucking answer.

[have i ever mentioned that i fell in love with your name the moment you revealed it?]

I have spent years lying to [her] and saying that what Autumn and I had was merely a connection between two writers, nothing close to a “real relationship”.  For Christ’s sake, we never even MET.  I don’t even know what she LOOKS like. Lies, abundant lies, the kind of lies that one tells a person when they are trying to honor a commitment that they abhor

But whether I said it once or a thousand [zillion] times, [she] knew better.  You know why?  Because [she] read the pages within those binders.  [She] did.  I truly believe [she] read every page, maybe more than once.  And it finally killed [us].  The truth I felt forced to abandon finally came to the surface and set me free.

i.am.free

from [her] and from the pain that my decisions have caused me [a lie, a vicious lie] and now I can truly move on with my life [lie] and find someone that will love me [lie] and finally be happy for the first time in my life [lie]

i.am.free

So what AM I doing here, Autumn?  I told you I could fill the binders many times over.  I COULD.  you know that, don’t you?  The real question is, if given the chance, WOULD I?

I think it’s clear, however, what I would say to you, if I could only say one more thing to you for the rest.of.my.life.

I would say “Autumn, I am so very sorry that I hurt you. Each and every time.  I am sorry.”

[and if I could say a second thing, it would be]

“Autumn, I have loved you since the day we first met in that chat room so many years ago.  And I will love you for the rest of my life.”

———————–

Autumn,

Today I am fueled by coffee, which is probably much safer than last night’s empowering blend of Sam’s Choice Cola and Seagram’s.  These days I don’t really drink the “Hutchison” anymore, despite the fact that it truly is my favorite.  But the taste of it, just seems to remind me of the long night’s living with my brother, with Craig passed out on the couch, “My Heart Will Go On” playing on repeat on the stereo, and me waking up with a burning feeling in my gut.

I really would not have expected to be writing you at 9 am.  I figured, if our writing persisted at all, it would be in the late night when “my style” comes natural, instead of having to be a forced thing.  Should I put a [ ] here or should I use italics or a

line break

because each of those things mean something different, if you know how to read them.  And you do.  If I’m talking to someone who isn’t you, then I’m sure they have thoughts like….who the hell actually USES the keys that have [ ] on it??  And why WOULD you?

Or they just stay confused.  They are confused, and don’t want to admit it, so they say ‘your writing is beautiful’ and that is sufficient.

Neal won America’s Got Talent.  He won by 1,800 total votes.  He had 120,000 visitors to the site that I built for him which had pictures and songs recorded in my dad’s studio.  One might assume that he would have lost had it not been for the site.  He never thanked me.

I think calling [her] …. sorry, Susan … a shadow is a little bit too 2015 for me.  Right now, she exists very much in plain site …. a fucking reminder of a lot of really, REALLY bad things.  And I don’t just mean what happened with you and me, but that’s part of it.  A big part.  Even more so, now, because I feel a little bit embarrassed in front of myself as well.  I don’t want you to think that any of this was said or done with a presumption that ANYTHING would change.  My goal was [and still is, I guess] to ensure that you look back on “our time” with a different understanding [not of WHAT happened but] of why it happened.

I don’t think “guilt” is a good enough explanation for why I continued to think about Autumn May for the past 7 years.  You know me well enough to know, if I don’t want to feel convicted of something, then I just force my perspective to change until it no longer feels wrong.  Guilt does not truly exist for me, at least not the way it would need to in order to be the true reason you never faded away.  Because everything else DID fade away.  The few things that you and I DID actually take stands on and ram our heads together about, most of those things are no longer even merit a moment’s thought in my mind.  My kids have a little black ugly as hell puppy that shits in the floor and I go out and hug my trees at least twice a day.  :-)

I haven’t listened to Green Day in a long, long, long time.  But “All About Soul” is on every playlist I have on my iTunes.

The entire 5 years I lived in Dallas, no one even knew my real name.  Once we moved back to Missouri, Glen was too confusing because, of course, that’s my Dad.  So I went back to Glendon.  I actually changed the ‘a’ to ‘o’ so far back I don’t remember.  Maybe the first time I lived in Dallas?

You and my mom are the only people in my life that still write it that way.  Perhaps everyone else has forgotten, or have no reason to fight it.  My mom named me, so I understand her issue.  Not sure about your issue with it, but to each her own, right?  Maybe it isn’t the same shifting from Glendan to Glendon as it was shifting from Faith to Autumn.

I’m not over you, your words [the good ones, the bad ones, and also the ones that seem so careless and flippant but sting like gunshots through the flesh].  And I am not going to tell you that this is the closure I needed to move on, because … it isn’t closure that I need.  It never was, never will be.  This chapter of my life won’t be the LAST chapter, but it will be the unfinished one.

It won’t be “all she wrote” for me, ever.  And I understand if it is for you. That’s okay.

I’ve looked at your LJ a hundred times, and each time I wanted to see his name conspicuously absent.  Yet, despite that hope, I feared it as well.  As long as he was there, I knew it didn’t matter that [she] … ahem…Susan was with me.  I feared the day he was gone, because then the equation would become unbalanced, yet again.

But it isn’t balance I wanted, and it certainly isn’t balance I feel now …….. but perhaps I do deserve it.  After all, I’ve abandoned you twice.  There’s no other way to look at it.  The hologram was shattered, and the pieces still continue to fall ever[y] once in a while.  For both of us, apparently.  [i really don’t know if it’s ever or every…..but I do think about you EVERY time I choose to use that expression]

This is the third time I have tried to end this letter.  It’s almost like I feel that I need to get EVERYTHING packed into this, because it’s most likely the last one.  I know you said “Thankfully, you knew (remembered enough) to simply… say something more.”  But … Autumn …. what if it really is time to close the binder?  What if that time has finally come?

[enter the demon of long-winded emails] but what if we close it, and the torment doesn’t stop?

What if? well, if this is the last email I ever write you, Autumn May, at least I got to say the ONE thing I wanted to say.  And I also said that SECOND thing.  The thing that I now kinda wish I would have kept to myself, but oh well ….. there it is.  It’s not like you DIDN’T already KNOW it.  But the fact I said it makes it linger in the air, at least MY air, like the scent of last night’s fire.  Still smells good, but … all that’s left there …. are ashes.

I am not frustrated, and if you felt that from me, then it’s because I have not governed my emotions well enough during this incredibly exhausting process.   [funny how something so wonderful can be, at the same time, so utterly exhausting …. it’s like, every time I finish a letter to you, I have just swam across the Gulf or something]

I realize that so much of what I say can be easily read as sarcasm, or angst, or confusion.  Please, don’t.

I think what has presented itself as frustration is actually my …… desperate .. need …. for you to understand just how much I don’t blame you for anything you do, say or feel now. How much I want you to know that I am truly sorry, and that whatever transpires as a result of this conversation, I will cherish it because it will be what Autumn chose to give me.  Does that make sense?

So I have to ask myself, why didn’t that part of me perish, alone in that cell, and fade away?  Why do I now feel it rising up within me, again?  That is what I am dealing with, and there really is no purpose for the question, because it has a simple enough answer.  I just keep avoiding it.  Because to admit the answer is to put my heart out on the table, and ask you to cut it in two … and ask you take the half that is yours, and … to… do with it…..
whatever
you
want

i’m not frustrated.

i’m terrified.

and i will never….EVER….ask you to change your life, for me.

but please. only read the words i typed, do not add anything or take anything away.  there is no veiled message, there is no cryptic symbolism, it is what it is.
-G

***

Autumn,

“If ever I had a soul mate, it was Autumn.”

I would never have said that to YOU for fear that you would have thought it cliche.

My sister says that she is half a person, and Doug is half a person, and together, they are a whole person.

Susan was NOT my other half.  I think it was clear to everyone that knew us, but people typically try to be nice and keep thoughts like that to themselves.  Not my mom, she made it clear of course.  But everyone else wished us well, and was sort of glad when we moved to Texas because then they didn’t have to witness first hand the destruction they knew was coming.

The last laugh was on them.  We moved back here to self-destruct, so they got to witness it anyway.  That isn’t the point, of course….

[soul mate]

Brandon knows the whole story.   He knows the day we met.  He knows the way I felt, back then.  He knows the day I met Susan.  And he knows how that paradox utterly destroyed me.  The one my soul was connected to, and the one my life was connected to, were not the same.  And he saw how it brought me to tears, literally.

I think, to be quite honest about it, that is why he never liked either one of you.  Because in his mind, he blamed you both for the shell of a man I became over the years.

I watched Titanic with Karmynn a few weeks ago.  Susan refused [she knows what it means].  Back story: Branson, which is only about 70 minutes from me, has the “world’s largest Titanic museum”.  Lots of actual artifacts they’ve raised from the ship.  Lots of stories, memorabilia, etc.  They have a trough you stick your hand in, full of water that is the temperature of the water Jack and Rose were in the moment he died.  They have a replica of the stairwell, which [incidentally] looks identical to the one in the movie.  So, her interest was piqued after the tour, so I showed her the movie.   The child can’t hardly sit through one episode of The Wizards of Waverly Place without fidgeting, but she sat through all 3 hours and 23 minutes … spell bound … by the story.  By Jack and Rose.  By everything.

And then at the end, because she’s only 8 and doesn’t have all her emotional wiring hooked up yet, turned to me and asked, “Why are you crying?”

[this was literally just a few weeks ago]

I remember vividly the day you and I both went to theatres in our respective towns [Corunna and Sikeston] and watched Titanic “together”.  I might have mentioned this before, but … as a guy … watching Titanic … alone …. anyway, not the most “masculine” moments of my life.  I don’t remember noticing…really.

I have found it nearly impossible to believe in God, ever since the day I disappeared from your life.

Tyson is gay …. full on queer.  As my friend Jon Paul used to say [years years years ago] queer as a football bat.  And apparently [because he decided one night that it was time to finally open up to his big brother] he is a GLITCH BLACKENED FONT. thanks Tyson, for completely ruining that episode of Fringe for me.

He wrote a series of letters called “The Truth” that he posted on LJ.  Then, a few weeks later, he printed them and gave them to my mom and dad.  Within months, he had dropped out of medical school.  His guilt, or the distractions of my parents preaching eternal damnation at him, or maybe he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was and that was a good excuse.  I’m not sure.  Now he has a quarter of a million dollars worth of student loans and a bachelor’s in biology which qualifies you to do absolutely jack squat.

Kirsten has a bachelor’s in psychology, which, also, qualifies you to do jack squat.  Except go on to graduate school.  Yeah.  I got my degree one month before Tyson.  I was first.  So there.  Ha.

I could never give Susan my heart, because YOU had it.  I gave it to you, and maybe I never said it [probably did] and maybe I never even realized it [oh yes I did] but that’s the way it was supposed to be.  That IS the way it was
supposed
to be

“Why don’t you ever write me love letters?  You wrote AUTUMN love letters, and you didn’t even know her.”

Because, Susan….I don’t love you, and I loved ahjdfalhdfaghkf laghfkdhakgjqh 3u [LOVE] Autumn

Didn’t KNOW her?  Christ.

I can’t honestly tell you what specifically happened to the binders.  They were packed safely away in between track trophies and text books from college.  Then …. suddenly …. they weren’t.

And Susan….knew about Titanic.

She destroyed them, and she hates you.

***

I promised myself, the night I responded to that entry that I have [so desperately wanted to respond to for years, now] to stop with the alcohol.  I rarely drink anymore, because the person [she] became when drinking was vicious.  She would bring up you, she would bring up the [abortion] thing we did a long time ago, she would bring up the Budweiser bottle at the bottom of the fish tank and somehow she even knew THAT had “something” to do with Autumn…

but I associate the taste of gin, with you.  No offense.  That probably really sucked that I said that [ but like i told you a lifetime ago, i do not delete when i’m writing you……apparently, given your earlier message, you don’t either ] but I drank a serious amount of gin around the time we met.  I remember, those late late nights, not unlike now, when I was writing you, and the gin helped release the thoughts.  Isn’t alcohol supposed to be [a truth serum] a depressant?  Why do I feel so alive whenever I drink and then start writing to you????

I guess the gin really has nothing to do with the feeling I have.  That’s all you.  I know, because I didn’t drink last night, and I went to bed and loved you.  I went to sleep [i WAS exhausted] but you were on my mind, and i remember thinking that i wanted nothing more than to reach over and touch your arm, so you would instinctively know that you were safe and that I

[love you Autumn]

I wrote a lot of letters.  I intend to write more.  You know why?  Because the secret to life and all that is sacred…..comes back….each time I do.

The celestial hourglass ….. i picked out blue and gold border for our bedroom, because when I went to sleep at night, i remembered…

the tiger
the Truth Serum
the cassette with your voice that proved this was not a dream at all

[i was a little pissed when she threw the blue diamond into the water, because I was thinking, okay “I draw the line there, why WOULD she do that????]

but then, you know.  well.  Britney found it, didn’t she??

Susan tried her damnedest to destroy every last piece of you, Autumn May.  And she did….destroy…every piece…..except for the one that I kept inside of my chest.  She couldn’t touch that one, because …. well, Tyson’s not the only actor in the family.  You know the expression from the Spacey movie: ‘the best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist?’  My trick, all these years, was convincing everyone……EVERY O N E….from Susan to Brandon to Neal to [maybe even Glendan] that Autumn did not exist.

Autumn, can I tell you a secret?

i love you

Autumn,

I think you would like my dad.

One of our websites received an email from someone, written entirely in Spanish.  Dad forwarded it to me with a note attached, which read:

“Someone really needs to teach this guy how to spell.”

I laughed out loud.

————————————————————-

And there you have it. Most of a single week, when my heart took off into the middle of the night. The words that, no matter how many times repeated in a destructive cycle, I answer like a distress signal.

Eyeroll Of the Morning

"Have you been talking to someone else?"
"NO."
"Why are you leaving like this?"
"Tell Brad, congratulations. Maybe someday I will have more to offer you. I'm bowing out. Let's just leave this with mutual respect for each other."

"?!?!"

It feels like poison has drained from my head and out from under my toenails. I think I remember crying as I separated from it. This morning the glowing goo boiled on the floor boards, exposed, disoriented. It hissed, it bowed out.

Clearly, goo (even the glowing kind) does not have any brains without a host.

That was no bow.

This One’s For Rachel

 

***

Today they charge someone with the murder of Rachel M. Scott, the dark-haired beauty whose body was discovered in one of our country fields. She is the Ugly Thing That Happened At Home, to one of my peers. She’s the awful horror that would be unsolved for what felt like forever. She’s the black marble stone I have visited, the scenes I watched unfold, the girl who drove me home from school one day. Everyone claims a piece of her in the legend her mystery and black mascara has become.

Now the mystery has been solved.