Sunday, September 27, 2015

Letter to 1990 Lance

Dear Lance,

I tried to send you a letter in 1984, but my Tardis broke down, and the Delorean is in the shop.  So again, I write to you.

At this time in your life, late September 1990, your world has come crashing down.  The girl you loved and intended to marry cheated on you, and you broke up with her the day after your birthday.  Your sanity is hanging by a thread.  Your drinking is out of control.  You are still working at TGI Fridays, and getting angrier and more depressed by the day.

At work, circa 1990-91.  This Fridays no longer exists.

Shall I tell you what happens next?

You and she will get back together briefly.  All will be well, or so you'll think.  To do this, you will sacrifice a blossoming relationship with a coworker.  Then, the woman you love will visit HIM, in Florida where he is stationed.  She promises to end it with him.

She won't.  So you end it with her.  For good.  A couple of drunken weeks later, you'll go to a Halloween party.  Before you go, you'll call her.  And she'll tell you she's in love with him.  You leave the party early, to meet with her as arranged.  You will lose your temper, hit a stone wall, and break your right hand.  You will then throw her out of the house.  From there, you will drive to Valley Forge Park, without wearing a seat belt as has become your habit.  In the car already is a bottle of Southern Comfort, rat poison, and Drano.  You park the car at a spot where you know the Rangers don't often check, and mix the Rat poison with the SoCo.  The Drano will be your backup.

At Penn State, you were known for your ability to drink hard liquor, especially SoCo.  So you take large swigs from the bottle.  Too large.  You open the car door and vomit out everything.  You reach for the Drano, but your hand hurts so much, and you forgot to leave a note.  The note that will explain to the world that SHE is to blame for your death.  The note you hope will stick in her conscience for the rest of her life.  So you go back to your parent's house.  It's past midnight.  You are drunk and your insides are twisted into a knot.  Your mum hears you come in, and finds you at the kitchen table, writing the note in one of your writing notebooks.  She sees your hand is badly swollen and that you can barely write.  You break down, and tell her you want to die.  She takes you to the hospital and, while your hand is being X-rayed, tells the doctor everything she knows.  As you wait in the emergency room for the X-rays, you see three paramedics walk in and sit at the nurse's station.  You recognize two of them as being from West End ambulance.  They all try to act nonchalant, but you know why they're there.  They are there for you.

The doctor brings in the X Rays and confirms a boxer fracture.  He wraps the hand in a bandage, and hands your mother the films.  He tells you that you have a choice: go voluntarily to the psych ward, or...

You look over to the three paramedics, who are now looking straight back at you.

You realize you have no choice.  You agree to go.  They strap you to the gurney, and out you go.  Your mother follows them in her car.  You are checked into Paoli Hospital psych wing.  It is 4 AM.

And there you stay for your mandatory three days, refusing medication.  You miss your friend's wedding.  Your parents visit.  But you don't tell anyone your REAL secret.  No, you've kept that to yourself all your life- and it means nothing right?

When She comes to visit, you cry and she cries and nothing is resolved.  She then goes out on a date with yet ANOTHER guy.  You will not speak to her again for a decade, but, eventually, you will become friends again.

You finish your three days, and are released.  Six months later, you meet your wife.  You don't dare even think of your Dark Secret.

Sounds horrible doesn't it?  How do I know all this?  How do I know your secret?  After all, NO ONE knows it, right?  You've buried it in anger, drinking, and violence.

That's simple:  I'm you- in 2015.  That's right, twenty five years later to the day.  Yes, you live that long.

I no longer feel that anger.  I no longer drink hoping to die.  I wear my seatbelt, not wishing for the accident that would kill me.  I am at peace.  Why?

Because I finally am living life as I should have.  I am now Sophie: a woman.

Yes, really.

You- September 2015

You will be me someday.  I wish you could spare yourself all the pain, drinking, and stupid decisions.  But you won't.  Someday, you will break, devastating the woman you married 22 years before.  You will transition.

By that point, many of your old friends will be gone.  You will have new ones who KNOW who you are.  You will share a community, which will give you purpose.  Are you still an asshole?  Sometimes.  But you don't try to be.

I really wish I could send you this letter.  But- being you, you'd ignore it anyway.

I wish I could speak to you, face to face.  But I can't.

I wish I could tell you that you WILL find peace.

You will.

Lance, you will never be at peace as Lance.  You will be happy as Sophie.  And at peace.

I promise.

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