I don’t know who it is for sure, but someone or somemany have been trying to find me. Matthew suggested the other day that perhaps it was just myself, but I know it isn’t. I stopped looking for myself on the internet a long time ago, when the search results yielded nothing but links to things I was trying hard to forget. The most troubling part about all of this is that I have often sought out people on the internet, but they were always people that I missed, people with whom I had lost contact and was too ashamed of myself (for whatever reason) to hunt down directly, people that I feared dead. There aren’t many people I can think of who would miss me.
My biggest suspicion is that it’s my mother. I haven’t written home in ages, haven’t called, haven’t tried. I am afraid of what she could be looking for and what she could be finding. I work hard on hiding myself in fiction, work hard on keeping certain facts of my life from being facts. In fact now that I think about it, this includes the majority of my family. Okay. Look. Might as well knock this out right now.
Dear family, should you find this:
Hello. Are you as surprised as I am? I am sorry for not writing, for not calling, for not trying. The facts are complicated, entirely too complicated for this medium. I work hard to keep a lot of things a secret (still not gay, though, and yet still not pregnant) (never have been either) but doubtless if you’ve been reading, you’ve found out all you need to know. Of course given the general introduction, you can deduce that my not calling/writing/trying is totally Not Personal. I have not written Aunt Vicky, either, Aunt Celia. Richie, you know how hard it is to get to Brookfield. Tyrone… I’m sorry. That’s it. Mom. I’m sorry. That is also it.
That would be the obvious guess, I suppose. The other obvious guess, I guess, are people from high school. I don’t talk to them either, and while I can’t see them missing me, maybe they do. Who knows.
Dear High School friends:
Hey guys. Uh. How’s it going? Look, about the whole not-keeping-in-touch thing… I guess I was supposed to keep in touch wasn’t I? Is that why you’re looking for me? To scold me for breaking a promise I made when I was sixteen? I hope not. No, wait, I get it. You’re just wondering how I am. I mean, that’s what you do, right? You get to wondering, sometimes. Wonder what happened to so-and-so? At least that’s what I’ve heard. The sad truth is, I don’t wonder. Never. Not once. Should I feel guilty about that? Even if I wasn’t picked on in high school, even if I had a lot of, I guess, friends, I hated high school. Didn’t you? I mean, Christ. All we ever did was talk about getting out. And now you want to hang out? Maybe that’s understandable. Maybe I am coming off like a jerk, but that’s not what I mean. I guess we had some emotional times, right, but we were teenagers, we were shallow. And, okay, fine, I am still shallow. But think of it like a prison relationship. For however long you’re detained, you become close with some people. But do you want to see them again after you’re released? I guess YOU do. But not me, man. Me, when I got out of there, I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to never look at another prison again. I don’t want to ever see another high schooler again. That’s why I don’t understand why these movies about high school that are geared toward older people, fucking adults, intelligent adults, no less, do so goddamn well. I mean maybe not great all the time, but well enough that people keep exploring the subject? Okay, I’m sorry, I’m going off here. Hey, well there’s news, I still do that, still go on tangents. But look. If you’ve been googling long enough, you’ve got some idea of what I’ve been up to. I spend the majority of my days trying not to be a douchebag. I don’t plan on going back there any time soon. If I show up at the reunion, I’ll probably be drunk. Don’t be offended. Just… my best wishes. I really do hope, with as much time as I can devote hoping anything for the lot of you, that you do well. The rest of the time, I don’t wish you harm, and that’s all I think a person can ask of me right now. The truth is, I ask even less of you.
Oh wait. Okay, now I get it. My teachers. That has to be it, right?
Dear Mr./Ms. everyone:
Hey! How are you? I don’t hear word from you. That saddens me, a little. I mean I totally understand it. That’s why I haven’t written many of you repeatedly. I hope you’ve seen the good news. There’s been a lot of it. A lot of pressure too. I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. But there isn’t a lot i can do about it. You know as well as I do about my ego. You know as well as I do about the gigantic checks that it’s written. I don’t mind that. But no, really, how are you? Has anything changed for the better? I hope so. Many of you, I think of fondly. In fact all of you, I think of happily, even if not in an altogether pleasant way. Hey Roderick, remember that time when I went to talk to you about summer assignments when I was transferring from regular classes to your AP English class and you told me point blank that you did not think kids from regular classes ought to be able to take classes in the AP tier because they just weren’t smart enough? And do you remember the following fall when I waltzed into your class out of the apparent mediocrity of Kramer’s American Studies English and got a fucking A on the first essay we turned in and the rest of your kids, most of them your beloved fucking AP pansies, got at best a C-? Do you remember how even after an extensive rewrite the next highest score was still only a B? And then I told you it was my first draft? Do you remember how we would always get into arguments because I thought you were a horrible teacher for thinking anyone under your AP classes were stupid and beyond hope and I had no problem telling you, you are a horrible teacher? Do you remember how during your beloved Hamlet speech I started a game of tag in your classroom and your beloved AP students fell in completely with me and before you knew it, it was anarchy? Oh and also, did you see the other stuff that popped up when you looked up my name? I think of that fondly. I don’t wish you harm. I just hope you remember that, and while we’re at it, I hope your little friend Sara does too. Because, man, I remember. Hey Mr. L., Mr. K, Barbara, I miss you all. I still study history. You’re the last group of people who expected too much of me, whose unfairly high expectations I can still forgive. I hope not to let you down too badly.
And now I guess the obvious.
Dear Men I Have Loved, and/or Men Who Have Loved Me:
I’m sorry. For anything. Really. I am fucking sorry.
I think that covers everything. I hope it covers everything. To be perfectly honest with you, friends, this whole thing makes me feel awful. I hate the idea of it, someone sitting at their computer late at night, typing my name into the search engine and reading on. It’s going to make it hard to sleep tonight, the idea that anyone out there could be wondering about me, makes me feel like I am doing something wrong.