If I had a shotgun you know what I’d do… I’d point that shit straight at the sky and shoot Heaven on down for you.
I just want to start by saying that I debated with myself about whether I should write you this letter or not. I feel that I need to so that I can move on. However, I don’t want to hold you back so that I can move on, so I’ll probably never send you this. You’re a newlywed and what I feel or think should be the furthest thing from your mind.
When we broke up the first time, it really broke me. I don’t mean in a sad kind of way where you get depressed for a bit and move on. I was devastated and really had no idea how to process it. We both cried and I don’t think I’ve wept like that since my sister’s funeral (and that was after my dad broke down crying and grabbed me in a hug).
I don’t cry like normal people. When I cry, it’s the emotions leaving me, not healing me. It makes me callous and I don’t want to go down that road again, ever. I believe that is why we didn’t work the second time. I just couldn’t get back to where we were the first time. I had already cried it out. I loved you more than I’ve ever loved anyone or may ever love anyone. However, that love is dried in tears on the pillow that night I stayed over after the break up. I don’t think I will ever love like that again, not with anyone else and not even with you.
When you texted me from DC, I didn’t know you were married. I entertained the idea of us talking again. Then I found out the next week you were married and that you had texted me on your honeymoon. I don’t know why that threw me for a loop, but it did. I hit the whiskey for a few days and really discovered Gary Allan was singing my life in several of his songs. I don’t have the tears in me anymore, so I drank through the feelings this time.
I came out on the other side with clarity. I’m really happy for you, not in a jealous way, but in a sincere way. I want you to be happy and have the life you deserve. You would never have had that with me, my demons sneak up on me and get the better of me from time to time and you’d be the victim, like you already were a few times.
If you ever look at your life and wonder if you and I would have been better than where you are, I want you to consider these truths. I’ve never lied to you, ever, and I’m not starting now. You’re better off now than you would have ever been with me. I’m the one who broke your heart, not once, but twice. Remember how it felt when I walked out the front of your house to leave both times? I’m the one who wasn’t there for you when you had a traumatic incident that scared you really bad in your balloon. I’m the one who worked way too many off-duty jobs and didn’t make the time I should have for you (I still work too many off-duty jobs). I’m the one who drank too much from time to time (and I still do). I’m the one who was so stubborn I wouldn’t go to a concert with you that meant a lot to you and I refused to concede (I’m still that stubborn person).
You deserve way better than me and you’ve found him. I saw his picture on your Twitter (that’s also how I found out you were married). I promise I don’t stalk it, I just went on there after we talked, which was the first time in probably a year. He looks like a genuinely good guy. I know you can only tell so much from a picture, but often you can tell if they look like a douchebag and he did not look that way at all. You both looked very happy. It did me good to see that pic.
I’m finding peace within myself. I’m going to start going back to church. I’m reading books again. I’m enjoying scoring the baseball games and if I’m not going to a minor league game, I’m probably scoring the Rangers or Roughriders by radio. It is the most boring thing in the world, but it gives me simplicity and time to stop and enjoy the here and now. I’m also trying to learn guitar again. I’m engaging my brain and learning to be happy alone. I need to get to a place of contentment before I can let anyone else in and I certainly wasn’t there when I started dating this last girl. I knew all along it was not going to work, but I tried.
Jenny, I really want you to have a good life. I don’t know if you’re going to try to have kids or not, I pray that you do, you’ll be a great mother. It sounds like you’re in that role as a step-mother and that’s great. Thank you for being my friend and not hating me after how I’ve treated you. I don’t deserve as much, but all along, you’ve been the better of the two of us.
You’ll never know I wrote this, but my soul feels better having put it to paper.
Seeing you today was scary. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. I was terrified. You look so much thinner and fragile, like a single touch would shatter your heart into a million pieces. When you hugged me, I was internally screaming and when you squeezed me I knew you wanted me there as much as I wanted to be there. I tried to be calm, collected and confident, but I was just as awkward as I normally am. I dreamed about this moment for months and it was finally happening and I couldn’t even grasp onto the memories that were happening in front of me. Losing you once was enough for me to hold onto you forever. I’m falling more and more in love with you every day and I cant’t help but hope that you are too. Once upon a time we were ruling the world together and suddenly you were nothing but a sad memory. You look skinny, which is extremely odd because all you do is drink Starbucks all day. The day I lost you was perhaps one of the worst days of my life. Your smile and kind, beautiful heart means the absolute world to me. I have so many questions I want to ask, but they just won’t come out because I’m too scared to lose you again. I only came to see you because even though you told me you left, I knew you would still be here. I know you and you know me. I knew you would be there waiting for me when I pulled up. I knew you wouldn’t leave until we saw each other (even after the countless conversations we had saying that we could never see each other again, that you had to keep me at an arms length). It’s like we have this connection that no one can break up. I loved seeing you again. The feeling of being in your arms is indescribable even if it was only for a few seconds. Talking with you for hours and hours each day is what motivates me to get up each day. You are my sunshine, my best friend, my forever.
I don’t decide to get hurt. I just go along with all of this, knowing there’s nothing I can do but keep going. I am pushed and pulled by forces and I know that where I am is a place I will one day look back on, with a nostalgia, with a very intense memory. Because these things that happened, this life I have lived this far, is not a forgettable one. Every moment is notable. Every day there is something new.
It’s terrible and it breaks my heart but yet it is what keeps me going. There is so much bad. But yet there is so much good. It’s the combination of the chaotic calm. There is no real calm, just chaos, but the breathing in between is what shakes you awake. What tells you you’re still alive.
And you know. You’re more alive than any other time, you’re more alive than you probably ever will be. But this type of living. This kind, is the kind that keeps you awake and creeps into every corner of you. It lights fires and releases tsunamis. You never know when it’s gonna happen. What’s gonna happen.
It keeps you on your toes. But it hurts. You see sights you never thought you could. You want to stay at this level, this fast paced high up feeling. But you also know you need to come down. You need to rest. You need quiet. You need nothing more than just the silence. The silence that wraps itself around you, and keeps you there for awhile as the fire dies down.
But this fire, has been the biggest of our history. These disasters, the endless wreckage. It’s a tragedy that hasn’t stopped. An absolute massacre of everything you’ve ever cared for. You don’t even remember a day when it wasn’t like this. Because in reality, it always was. The gunfire was just quieter. It was behind closed doors.
Now it is out in the open and hurricanes rip through the towns. It turns everyone and everything inside out, as the nails from the floorboards pierce the hearts of those involved. It makes you wonder. How did you not foresee this? How did you not stop it?
But you can’t prevent things that happen in nature. You can’t stop an earthquake. Who are you, in this wide open universe, to think you can stop what was always meant to be? What just is, what just was, what must happen? The earth cannot stand without these disasters. They happen for reasons. They happen because they must.
The earth itself does not mean to harm you. Not even it’s inhabitants. Things just go how they are written, in the grand book of fate somewhere. And that’s just how it goes.
All I can say is this state of comfortable discomfort, is a time frame I will never forget. And what happens here, dictates everything to come.
I was 19, intoxicated, and vulnerable. I was stranded by my friends, totally without a ride in the middle of the night in a bar with hundreds of people that I “knew”… not in the sense that we used to know people, but in the sense that you’ve seen names on Facebook. But that’s beside the point.
In a mess of drunk college students at a bar that smelled like spilled liquor and sweat, you offered to take me home: a sober, humble gentleman.
Or so I thought.
I began to get suspicious when you took an unfamiliar route back to the dorms where I lived. You said that there was a road block, and your insurance was expired, so we needed to take the long way around. I believed you.
When we pulled up at a frat house, I was even more unsettled. “Come inside for a minute,” you said. “I want my friends to meet you. It’s the least you could do since I’m giving you a ride home.”
I was drunk. I was vulnerable. I’m not good at saying, “No.” So I did as you said. But I didn’t see your friends. In fact, I didn’t see anyone. The place was a ghost town.
“J,” I said, “there aren’t any people here…”
“They’re in the back where my room is. It’s a small gathering, not a rager like you’re used to,” you responded.
So we walked further into the maze of hallways full of fraternity boy bedrooms – all looking exactly the same as the last. Football team jerseys and flags, bottles and cans of beer, clothes and sheets in disarray.
Finally, you found the room you were looking for and opened the door. The room was completely empty. No people, no decorations, hell, no sheets or comforter. The mattress still had that nasty dorm room rubber lining with nothing covering it.
I nervously laughed, “Well, this can’t be the room you’re looking for.”
“No, this is the right room. Still waiting on the rest of the guys to get here.”
Moments after I had entered the room, you slammed the door behind you and locked it behind you. I knew what was happening now. I had a look of terror on my face.
What happened next, I can’t exactly remember. Must be a combination of the alcohol and trauma. But I do remember being held down with my face to that rubber lining, choking, and gasping, “Please stop,” whenever I had the chance.
You were sober. You were bigger and stronger than me. You took advantage of me that night, and left me there.
I want you to know that it has been 4 years since that night, and I still have flashbacks of utter helplessness. My heart is racing, my stomach sinks to the bottom of my gut, and I feel like I’ll never be okay again.
I don’t feel like I deserve love. I don’t feel like my baggage is something I can move past, or anyone who gets involved with me can move past. You took my innocence, you took my youthfulness, and you took a piece of my soul when you walked out of that room and left me curled up in a ball on that fraternity house bed.
And worse, my friends told me it “was my own fault” because I had “gotten too drunk” and “willingly followed him into the fraternity house.”
Imagine that, my own fault.
I hate you, and I hate what you’ve done to my mental health, and my current and future relationships. One time, I saw you in a crosswalk, and I almost ran you over.
I still regret that I didn’t.
Worse still, you’re one of the most renowned guys on campus. The “hot” one. The one girls fling themselves at.
So why me, J? Why did you choose me? There were so many willing teenage girls who were thinner than me, prettier than me, and more widely known around campus. Why did you pick the girl who didn’t want you? The girl who, in fact, begged you to leave her alone?
I tried to anonymously report you to the “head haunchos” in your fraternity, but nothing happened. Rumors were spread about how “some girl claimed she was raped at XX Fraternity,” but what do you know, nothing happened to you.
But I’m glad I got to listen to the buzz around campus about “some girl who claimed she was raped.” And better yet, I got to hear some of my closest friends talk about how “Girls love to claim it’s rape when the regret it, even if they consent and are willing in the moment.”
Nobody knew it was me. And nobody knew what kind of monster you are.
One day, you’ll get what you deserve.
Until then, I have to look out for myself. I’m through pretending like I’m “fine.” I’m through hiding this experience from some of my closest friends. I’m ready to speak out against trash like you, and hopefully if I can prevent one asshole from ruining another young woman’s life, it was worth all of this pain.
Good riddance, J.