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.

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5 responses to “Not This Time.

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