Karen, i came across this in Mikey's writings he had saved to Hotmail account. I didn't know if he ever sent it to you but thought you might like it if he hadn't. Just so you know there isn't a day that I don't think about him and miss him still to this day regardless if i am with another i will always love Mikey.
Karen… Please bear with me – I began this last night and then received your message – I finished it this morning and am just now assembling the assorted bar napkins and loose pieces of paper in my pockets – It began like this…
It’s Friday night and I am waiting for a girl I used to knock boots with – I sit at a table upstairs in the bar around 4:00 pm just after they have opened, passing small talk with the barmaid and sipping cheap whisky for no good reason – Looking only to cover up the sensation of not feeling anything at all – She seems galvanized by big plans and high hopes, tragic in her certainty that things will be different down the road – I haven’t the heart to tell her – So I smile and respond in all the right places – We have done this a hundred times and she still has no idea who she is talking to – They never do – She would run away crying if she did – Soon she has customers and I am left alone with my booze, my thoughts, my various hungers – Somebody feeds the jukebox and in one outrageous moment it is thundering bubblegum anthems for wanna-be tough guys and counterfeit bad girls – The place is filling up now – A cacophony of idle conversation breeding a thousand awkward horrors for the morning – Swirl my drink – Play with my napkin – Rush outside to smoke in case I start screaming – Gulping in great lung full’s of cold California air, I close my eyes and think about you – I’m not certain, but I think you can feel me – Somehow you know that your on my mind – My cigarette dances in trembling fingers – My date arrives smiling in rare dark design – She’s dressed for the part because she knows what I go for – It occurs to me that she will expect my attention, so I take her arm and begin my sick little dance – I engage her in chit-chat but your still in my head – I take her inside and order a round – I struggle to focus but grow increasingly taciturn, distracted, indignant, stilted, remote – She asks me how I am feeling, and all I can think is that I will never be able to explain to her what you already know – Because you know it’s not always easy to just go through the motions – Controlling the ticks and the twitches – Concealing the confused ugly faces you don’t know your making – Grinding your teeth to avoid thinking out loud – Coming apart at the seems when no one is looking – Because I know that you know this I can hold it together – I can still nail this down without shaking apart – So I persevere and her legs do the trick – I drink enough to take her home – I awake in the gray light before morning and put this to paper – It go’s in a drawer with a handful of other letters I have written you recently, but have dared not to send – I sit smoking and stare at this girl in my bed – I don’t know what I’m supposed to be feeling at this moment – I’m sure it must be something, but nothing seems to come – Instead I watch her occupy these familiar shadows and I wonder how you are – On a whim I check my e-mail (now that I have access) – There are one hundred and forty two, but all I see is the one from you – I don’t know just what to say – But that’s the thing with you and me isn’t it? – What’s not said is understood – The words are implicit but I search for them anyway – I weigh every one I send to you – I do it because… well… You are you, and that’s just what I do – I know that things between you and your mother have always been… I guess “strained” would not be putting to fine a point on it – I know that when my mother died, I felt that despite any faults she might have had, she deserved every tear I cried for her – But when my father died I couldn’t understand for the life of me, why I should feel even the slightest bit bad about it – And what did that make me for having such a thought? – I am not sure that it means anything at all – It is what it is – I have not one good memory of my father, but I already have legions of indescribably beautiful memories of my daughter – So I win – “My head is bloody but unbowed” – I will not attempt to make comparisons between any of that and how you might have felt or feel about your mother – Just know that I know that you can hold it together – It is cruel and bewildering what our parents can do to us growing up – But you made it through that, and if nothing else you have become someone whom your children love – Someone who (if I may pay you the greatest compliment) I would encourage my daughter to emulate – In thought and spirit, in the lives of others and in so very many other ways – (I will tell you more about her next time) – And lets not forget what else you are to me – It might seem selfish to some but I need you as much as the air I breath – Without you, the wounds my parents inflicted might very well have been fatal – If you recall, they almost were on occasion – There is a great line I have vowed to borrow should someone ever ask me to sum up my life in fifty words or less, and I think it applies to childhood as much anything –
“It was as if he had stepped into the company of strangers, in a strange room he had never seen before, and the comedy they performed for him was awful and grotesque and impossible to comprehend.”
You and I have never been strangers – Not in this life, and not for a long, long, long time before it – I am blessed for that - - - - It has started to rain and the smoke from my cigarette rises blue in the tired early light – She is more than just warm, wrapped up there in the gloom – I know what’s in there – Dangerous and sweet as a candy coated razor – Tempting… but I don’t think I will be going back to bed – My boots and my belt and my cap and my jacket – I’m going outside for a walk in the storm –
Wish you were here.
It was like being visited by a ghost. I could see his mannerisms...hear his voice. Although, communication by letter or e-mail was far more common for us than face-to-face contact. This letter so perfectly encapsulates the way we communicated - talking about aspects of our lives and noting that we had some sort of connection - and always knowing the other would understand whatever darkness we were swimming through at any given moment. An "allowing".
It was hard to read - because I'm still angry. He showed up in my dream that night as well. Maybe the time is coming for me to forgive and let go. In some ways, I feel like I am clinging to my anger the same way I clung to his friendship. It was always hard to understand why we were connected. Though we had our similarities, the differences outnumbered them. I think maybe I just decided to listen and care at a time when that was what he needed. I saw him. He saw me. Maybe that's all it takes for a connection to become a bond.
I think, also, that some part of me still blames myself for his death. I know how irrational that is. Yet - if we had this connection or bond - then why didn't he reach out? About a year before he died, he had tried to contact me and I was in the middle of moving Pete into my house after he broke his Achilles tendon. I was completely overwhelmed and had nothing to spare for anyone else. So, I didn't call Mikey back. I think it weighs on me a lot. I think I feel that I damaged our bond and as a result, he didn't reach out the day he died. I don't know. I suppose if I didn't feel that way on some level, I wouldn't be writing about it - so it must be buried in my psyche. And - maybe it is even true. And maybe life is just like that sometimes and we aren't always capable of being there for other people. But, this one weighs heavily on me.
Guilt and anger and sorrow.