Saturday, June 28, 2003

A letter from 6 years ago

The letter came six years later

This week was finally all that I thought living in Atlanta would be.

Dinan, Ron and I went for walk through our neighborhood, and found the MARTA train station. It's close enough for me to consider taking the train everyday to work, and I'm going to try this plan starting Tuesday. I ran around the train station feeling like a million bucks, thinking I'm in civilization again, happy as a damn lark.

There was a cop hanging out at the train station talking to people loitering on benches. They were talking about the two big funerals, because the air above us buzzed with helicopters as the media came to feast. The first black mayor of Atlanta and the last segregationist governor of Georgia died within 48 hours of each other down here, and social weirdness ensued. Plus, the big gay pride parade was going on, and extra craziness was happening because of the supreme court ruling. This is such a great time to be alive.

I opened an account with the local credit union here in Little 5. My new bank is really personal and small and fitted with old wooden furnishings. The old-timey feel of the place is in contrast to the workers, who are tattooed, shaved, pierced, and generally unbearably hip. I felt like such a dork compared to the punks behind the counter. But I was happy to open an account there. I love my neighborhood.

It's good that I had such a nice week, because my sisters left Tuesday, and I felt all hollow afterwards. I miss them and worry about them a lot, but I've done all I can, and I just have to trust that they'll be Okay for a little while longer. People are always talking about how they'd love to be a kid again, but not me. When you're a kid you have no control over your surroundings, or the plans other people make for your day to day life. Growing up was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I remembered how happy each passing birthday has made me especially today, when I found a letter sent to me almost six years ago. Dinan and I were unpacking our books, building the small but diverse library we'll share in this new home. And I opened a couple of boxes of books that had been closed since January, 1998.

January 1998 was the last time I lived in a rental house. When I left that house - and the fiance I shared it with - I packed up a good many things that it would take me years to get back. Most of my furniture went into storage, along with pots and pans, silverware, and all those other things you can do without for a while.

Most of my stuff stayed in storage for two years, including my dating life; everything slowly phased itself back into my life bit by bit - half my kitchen stuff, summer of 1999, some furniture and knick knacks, summer 2001. I wasn't in possession of everything again until last month, when Ron and Dinan lent me space in their moving truck to get the last of it. A six drawer horizontal dresser, a couple of boxes of books I couldn't bare to give up but hadn't needed on hand. And in one of those boxes of books was my Senior High School yearbook. I grinned when I saw it; I had forgotten I even owned a yearbook.

I opened up the yearbook and it fell open to my picture right away, because on that page someone had left a folded note. It was a note from the ex-fiance, dated May 3rd, 1997. It was handwritten on a scrap of druggie computer art, and it said this:

I don't know when you may find this but may it serve as a reminder, if you ever need it, that I love you with all of my heart and I hope to remain at your side until the end of time...and then some.
Your Dearest,
T---- E---- S------------

When we were together, he was always doing stuff like that - leaving little notes or reassurances where he knew I'd find them. But of course I don't look at my yearbook that often, even when it's in my possession, and when we split seven months after he wrote the note, I had chucked the book into a box where it sat for six years.

It's even odder that I should find this note in June of 2003, just a week after I heard he's set to be married this summer up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. When I heard about his engagement, something deep and important settled inside of me. I know he's OK now, clean or not, medicated or not, poor or not. I don't have to worry about him anymore, because he's going to be settled now, safely kept well by his new wife.

I'm am fully exorcised of Tom, six years and several thousands of miles of traveling later. I have all my furniture again, all my books again, and a letter that I can read, six years after it was sent, without the slightest bit of regret that I never became Mrs. Scarborough.

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