Friday, October 11, 2002

A Letter to The Little Boy Left Inside Me (or "How I Abandoned a Child to Fight on His Own")

Dear Young Me:

This letter must seem a surprise to you, probably - if not completely - a little unwelcome.

How have you been all these many years ?
It's been what - 20 years, 25 years since I've thought of you. I'd be lying if I said there weren't flickers of you in my subconcious - crap let's be honest here - you fucking haunt me. Sometimes when I awake early in the morning - in those moments before dawn takes into my darkened bedroom, I almost feel like your there - afraid of what the day may bring. So I know, I know you have things to do - roll in autumn leaves, watch "Land of The Lost" on you and your older brother's 13 inch B&W TV, your chores and then climbing that tree on 2 Fairhill Road... busy, busy aren't you ?

But listen, we need to talk and in all fairness this isn't easy for me.

I so remember you, running off to Sabold Elementary in the morning , that messy head of chestnut brown hair - always a mop, that huge beaming smile ever present, almost as large as your gigantic brown eyes - you saw everything with those didn't you little big man ?? Huh - funny - I just realized that you did see everything with those big brown eyes - that must not always have been fun for you.

You know I can look back now and since I'm older and wiser and - well your still so young - I can see some things better than you.

Where do I start to say what I need to say to you - how do I find the words to say...

It wasn't your fault - your Mother drank and screamed and swore because she didn't know any better - you weren't the cause - it was like a cancer that had set up camp in her so many years before you were born.

It wasn't your fault - that you disgusted him, he couldn't understand - he wanted you pitching for the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth, no men on base with two outs and two strikes and the trophy almost in hand - but you wanted to be an artist, a writer or maybe just a human. His anger was his fuel, you were kindling in the fire without even trying - you cried because you were human - he hit you because he wasn't.

And then there was me.

It wasn't your fault - I left you

I'm sorry - there it's done. I'm sorry. I miss you.

See I was a coward, when things got tough I abandoned you - I went my own way. I couldn't stand to see you cry, I couldn't continue to make you laugh, I couldn't protect you from them - what they would do to someone like you - someone so good, so kind, so sweet and gentle. I didn't pull away all at once - there were many moments - our parents and their back-n-forth "for the sake of the kids" marriage-seperation-divorce-whatever, the violence, the drinking, the dirty old men pawing you, the bullies in school, and when we moved to Arizona I had to close up shop move on without then I was 10 and things couldn't stay the same. You weren't tough enough for life at the house back in '79, you would cry and it was embarrassing and girly, you were letting them get to you - so see there had to be a split. I had to go my own way. I was able to not care - about anything. I was able to not love - anyone, and they couldn't hurt me - these were my super human powers. And you weren't ready to let men touch you - not the way I was. And you see I didn't like myself anyway - so they couldn't hurt me when they touched me even if things got scary - I had stopped feeling.

So let's face it I didnt even look back.

It's so hard to look at you now - to know what I've done. To know I left you when you needed me most.

Wow - funny I never realized what a tough little fella you were for just being all the things you were - just how tough you were to go on feeling anyway. All these years later - somehow we both survived.

I want you to know I'm here for you - I won't let "anyone" hurt you and I won't use my old ways to protect me or you.

We can do this.
I'm alive with you in me.
We can learn to feel,
it's ok to be in love,
we can reinvent ourselves,
we can make our own family - the two of us together.