The 11th of July 1956 – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

(found stained and splotchy)

My Jessie,

See what you’ve done to me?

See, because now I’m really crying. Holy geez, I’m really crying. I can barely write this because I’m really crying. Holy shit, I can barely see two feet in front of my face because I’m really crying.

I don’t know how, but I’m in pain. I’m in serious, honest to god pain, and I’ve also never felt so alive. I don’t know why, but it just hit me. It hit me square in the chest – square, smack dead center in the chest. I got shot with something, something hard, something heavy, one of those realizations that you just can’t shake, one of those thoughts that you just can’t get rid of.

I could tell you all my history, and I could tell you all the stories that you’ve already heard, but, see, I’d keep you entertained. I’d keep you laughing, and I’d keep talking myself. I’d talk until the air ran out on earth as long as it kept you entertained.

The point is I just got the thought: the heavy, heart-stopping realization that’s heavier and all the more heart-stopping because it came after all the others.

Oh my Jessie! The images that flood my mind – you’d think I’m crazy, and that’s just fine with me because you’d be right. The images that flood my mind and make me seize and cry out in terror and pain and joy. The images that I hope, can only ever hope, are from futures not-so-distant, futures of you and I and us.

But then, today, came that thought. That heavy, heart-stopping thought hit me with a thud, with a thud that really did stop my heart.

Oh my Jessie! I’ve done everything – every, single, last and every thing – wrong. Or I thought I did. It depends on what you think is true. It depends on what you allow me to think is true.

Because I could tell you all my history, and I could tell you all about my loneliness and my despair, my dissatisfaction with life – my life – from the word “Go!” I could tell you that everyone I’ve ever met, I’ve only seen through a veil, a curtain, a fog – with them over there and me in isolation.

And, Jessie, I could tell you that all of that is my fault, and I know it. No man is an island, but any man can certainly get in his own boat and paddle out into the ocean and keep far away from the rest of them. So, of course, that is all my fault.

But then, Jessie, I could tell you that I wasn’t even trying. I wasn’t rowing back to shore or pulling back the veil or stepping through the fog or any of that. See, when I was talking to you, that’s all there was. I really felt nothing between us.

But I’m going to go now. I’ll leave you alone. Now I’m just going to go.

But I do love you.



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