The 19th of June 1982 – Hometown, Pennsylvania

(found where nobody else could see it)

Dear Matthew,

Do you think you’re right?

I shouldn’t start with that, I know, because it’s been such a long time, and it was so nice to have received your letter. But I feel the question must be asked. Whatever you think of me, however little or much, has been made very clear. But now I would like to know what exactly you think of yourself.

Tell me, please, what do you think is happening in the mind of someone who differs from you, someone who disagrees with you, someone like me. I think, if you think about it, you’ll find that – whoever they are and whatever they think – they’re convinced of their own correctness to the same degree as you.

I know you think I’m childish. I know you think I’m unprepared and naïve and weird and that I’ll soon come to regret most or all of the decisions I’ve made so far. I know, and I know this most of all, that you have affixed that label onto me, your favorite term for those moral castoffs quaking at your feet. I know you call me with my habits “unhealthy.”

I’m tired of you saying that you’ve “never seen me that way.” I’m starting to think that you’ve just never seen me.

I may be wrong. You may be wrong. I may be right, and you could be right too. What we both know, what I am certain is what gives you the most comfort, is that you have more people on your side than I have on mine. The lucky thing is, though, we aren’t fighting a war. I don’t need to convince you of anything. I’m just trying to live.

I can’t tell if you really are that stilted, stagnant and boring of a human being, or if you’re merely trying to maintain some façade of adult maturity.

It’s hard for me to believe the latter as your behavior strikes me as being so childish.

I know you want me to live one of those lives, normal, functional, productive like a good citizen. It’s always about the path with you, the path and following it. When it isn’t, when you finally open your eyes, catch a glimpse of the world and take a detour, it’s always conscious and deliberate. It’s always just another path for you, always following a path.

I’m sorry Matthew, even though I’m not. I appreciate your patience and your care, but I’m sorry because I know that I can’t do that. Even if I wanted to, I know that I just can’t do something like that.


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