A letter.

I knew a girl once. Shock blond hair and devil may care attitude. She gave it to me straight, no matter how much I might not have liked it. I learned a lot about life from this girl, things I wouldn't realize until I got much older. We got lost in separate lives somewhere along the line, and it was okay. We did some living and found each other again, but we were both different, polar opposites of our younger selves. And we kicked about notions of finishing old business, about the serious rings and the silly things. But, as life is want to do, things fell off, and it was okay. After awhile.

And now here I sit, far too tired to possibly be thinking straight, yet having what the drinking man likes to call a Moment Of Clarity in a frame of reference to her. She's not who I fell in love with. Why? I asked her, said she did not know. Most likely she doesn't, but it's there, buried somewhere under layers of hurt and the stench of places I never saw her in. Places not unfamiliar, however, to those caked with the mud of growing up. My point is, I wasn't there. And I innocently mistook a girl with the same face to be her. What has happened here? What could possibly take something so alive and quiet it into the person that is before me? Oh God, what I must have missed in her life. And I can't say I wish I had been there for it. You must have seen the face of hell and shined it's boots some days, girl. I don't envy you your roads. But what in His realm could have broken you so?I will earn a slap for it, but I knew you when you were a child of God. What you are now is not what you were then. And what you are now is not what you claim. The intent is there, but it's misplaced.

And what of our falling out? Hah. Here I am, finally able to swallow my pride and be straightforward, but I'm still risking it all just to get my last word in before you close the door on me. Enough exposition, to the fray:

I feel like this new you lied to me. I think that you believed that I was more serious than you about the engagement. And because you cared, you didn't wish to hurt me. So you kept things from me. And softened the blows of that which you could not hide. I have no anger for what you did. I cannot safely say that I wouldn't have done the same. I am disappointed that we didn't have a better understanding of each other. And I'd love to put in 'like we used to' here. But we didn't even understand each other then, just two wild eyed fighters who needed a kindred shoulder to lean on in private. And then off to the winds again just as quickly. The you I fell in love with, the you that you romanticize as still being, is still there. And I don't feel bad about telling you that there were many nights shortly after my loss to him that I drank in her honor, a comrade lost to the fates.

I'm not here to tell you how to live your life. In fact, even after all of the above romanticizing, I realize my reasons for this are still purely selfish. I don't understand what it is that made you want to protect me. All these months later, I realize that's what broke me. Not that you chose him. But that you, of all people, someone whose very spirit I admired and was attractive to me, had been put on the shelf like a porcelain doll of days past, for show. She did not exist in any form that I knew her. And the person I had mistook as her was who made the choice. My life was in shambles and I guess I was reaching out to those I knew to be strong. But she was not there. And against the bar rail I heard her laugh, still felt her wild kiss through the fuzzy vision and blurry music. It didn't make sense to me that something so alive could be pushed inside and held in place.

It's not right to hold old images of people like that. It's a silly, childish, overly romantic way to view people. These things I know. But imagine my sense of tragedy when I come to find through my verbal stumbling that this woman I knew is on a shelf she no longer can reach. This is why I write to you. I ask that you take my shoulder again like I took yours years ago. If you really want her back, if you want youself back as I do, then know that I will help as best I can.

No hurt. No worries. No regrets. Friends know of no such things. Love ignores such ugliness. Comrades forgive unconditionally.

So Spring has definitely sprung. Allergies are kicking in, everyone I know (with a few minor exceptions) seems to be enjoying life and love, Enterprise will air a new episode tonight (a much-anticipated one, too, for us folks over at SFM). Life has been quiet for me since I moved back into the cabin. My landlord (and friend, and fellow 3D modeller) has developed the most curious ability to wake me up with phone calls for the most mundane things... but that's mostly because I sleep when I am moved to these days, and that can be nearly anytime I wish (except when working, of course). Writing has picked back up, some. Not much, but some.

I had an interesting experience last week. On one day I was contacted by people I haven't seen or heard from in more than a decade. Three, all in one day. One email and two phone calls. Totally random and out of the blue. And, of course, these people from my past wanted only to check up on me, talk about old things, catch up on history.

My past is behind me, something I try to forget.

I have decided that I am a person who revels in living in the Now. Certainly, I am older and wiser than I was so many years ago, more reserved, but I find that the Now holds far less depression- very little cause for self introspection or doubt. I just Am (with a capital A). I exist in a state of Being and enjoy what comes my way, on my own terms. Tomorrow will come. Yesterday has gone. The Now is here. In front of me.

Years ago older people used to advise me to stop and smell the roses. I turn 31 next month. I am stopping and sniffing, unconcerned about where I've been or where I'm heading.

Will I be this free ten years from now? Will any of us?

Does it matter?

I sat staring at the screen, fingertips clicking gently against the keys. The remains of my dinner lay before me-- chicken nuggets and crinkly fries, cold and getting colder. They tasted vile. I knew now why catsup came included with the frozen "redi-meal." Too bad for me, I couldn't stand the stuff. My hand snaked up and away from the keyboard. As awful as it was, I was still hungry. I was about to down more preprocessed poultry product, surely to regret it later, when my salvation came. An IM.

Erika: There is a large, unattended chocolate cake in the leadership academy.
Erika: I'm thinking about going on a mission.
Jen: Reeeally?

My fingers steepled. Eeexcellent.
I put down the soggy mass that purported to be food. Checking my appearance in the mirror, I decided I was presentable enough for petty bakery thievery. Black dress. Black hose. Black hair, subtly streaked with purple. Blue Vans.
I really needed to do laundry.

I snuck through the building. Though I passed several people on my way to Erika's room, I doubt I was seen. On a college campus, people know to ignore the person doing the ninja creep. ...well, either that, or follow them.

Upon reaching the room of my soon-to-be partner-in-crime, we discussed the best way to make off with as much cake as possible. It is the end of the semester, after all. Almost everyone's mealcard is scraping rock bottom....but I digress.
Armed with tupperware bowls and knives, we stealthily made our way to the Leadership Academy. Opened the door. The cake lay before us, waiting.

It was massive. Sugary white frosting, edged in blue, was slathered over top. Our knives flashed. (...sort of. They didn't really flash, seeing as they were made of plastic. But you know what I--- oh, screw it.)The knives flashed, and we packed our tubs full of stolen confectionery. A quick look around told us we hadn't been spotted. Looking at the cake, then at each other, we nodded and booked it the hell out of there.

We waved our cake-smeared knives in victory on the way back to her room.

It was a hat.

A non-descript hat, one that sat upon my head and showed the world how my brain worked. It was a top hat, one with red and blue fur, and it was easily crushable.

I'm losing what's left. I hope it'll come back, though. It always does. Usually at the end of April, but now it's the worst. I'm losing my memories, my train of thought, my soul. The last few days have just been one continuous blurry haze; my music sounds broken and messed up, and my world looks very flawed; fuzzy and swirly at times.

But it'll come back, though. It always does.

There was a car. This one had a black hood, and a white body. Three noders climbed inside, and together, they went across the valley. They went to Wilsonville, and to Newberg, and to Sherwood.

I was one of them.

Fry's is not the place to be if you're sensory/mentally sick. Everything just blurs together, both picture and sound, making English/Speak even more unintelligible. Just stand still, or follow Blister or Spike; they know the way. And the way they went was a way that was very confusing indeed.

But I was here.

To Newberg. There was a payphone. I used it to call back home and check in.

"Who are you?"
"Huh? What's wrong?" I shifted to my left a few inches and tried again.
"Yeah?" It worked.
"I'm gonna be at Sherwood a while, alright?"
"Sure. Just come back." He was always lenient, I think.

There was an abandoned movie theater. The hat was perched atop my head. I followed Spike around the place, while he was sitting in every seat. I amused myself by raising up the cup holders. There were 259 seats, I remember that. But Blister was long gone; he said he was going to do the girl next door. What next door? I didn't get it.

After the arm rests were raised, Blister and Spike took a sleep on the seats, with about four or five seats apiece. I sat a couple seats away, thinking. Thinking about my brain. Trying desperately to keep the world together.

There was a forest. There was also a signboard with a map tacked on it, and a flashlight laying on the ground.

"Hey. Tanis. Does anyone know we're here?" Spike asked.
"I'm not sure."

I had to use the bathroom. I left the auditorium, auditorium No. 5, and walked off to the toilets. This place was no longer abandoned, but there were people milling about. All kinds of people. Not that many, though. The hat was still there.

I arrived in the theater once more. There was something on the screen: they kept referring to something called 20wenty. It couldn't be that, no. That was blatent deception by my visual cortex.

Only another week. Then I remember.


What the hell is it going to take? Richard Clarke's book. Bloodbath in Iraq. 9/11 hearings revealing incompetence and apathy. A rehearsed press conference where not one question was answered. And his poll numbers still go up!

The latest Gallup and Pew polls have Bush ahead by four and five points, respectively. Where is John Kerry during all this? Paddling along in Florida with Bob Graham and John Edwards saying that it is important to save the environment.

As a Floridian, I wholeheartedly agree. Bush's environmental (non)policy, like so many others, has been dredged in Orwellian doublespeak. However, I'll gladly pave Tampa Bay to have a regime change.

So I emailed this to the Kerry campaign:

What in the world are you guys thinking???!!!!

Bush is halfway through the worst month of his presidency, and John Kerry has been silent. As American troops are being slaughtered in Iraq and our meager coalition understandably unravels, Mr. Kerry is in Florida talking about the environment.

I agree the environment is important, but I'm seriously afraid, afraid for my family, my children and my country, that if Mr. Kerry does not wake up and start playing hardball with Karl Rove & Co., he will not stand a chance in November. If we have learned nothing since 2000, it is that the Bush/Cheney machine will steal a close election. John Kerry must win convincingly to win at all.

I was encouraged early in the campaign once Mr. Kerry became the presumptive nominee that he seemed to grasp this would be a bare-knuckles fight against the Republican spin factory. Unfortunately, he seems to have lost that edge and aggressiveness. With so much riding on this election, with the administration's arrogance, deceit and ineptitude being displayed daily, Bush/Cheney is backing toward the ropes, if not on them. Now is the time for Mr. Kerry to zero in and hammer away.

I can understand not weighing in on the pre-9/11 issues. However, as a former soldier he has no reason not to make the Iraq issue his battering ram. America needs a bold fighter to deal with the urgent issues of our times. I urge Mr. Kerry to roll up his sleeves, take off the gloves and start swinging.

Where is Howard Dean when we need him?

A series of commercials from thetruth.com folks ran a few months ago here in America where the well-meaning young people ran a county fair-type attraction called Welcome to Crazyworld. They'd engage passersby with carny games or shows while gradually revealing horrifying statistics regarding cigarette smoking and its effects. At the end, they'd mention what they apparently believed to be some grand irony, like how cigarette packs list no nutritional information, and remark in a grave and disgusted tone, "Welcome to CrazyWorld."

Listening to NPR on my way home, I heard Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel discussing what has to be their favorite thing ever, which is the current war in Iraq. They, as nearly all of their fellows in Congress, are of course not opposed to the operation (Senator Feingold excepted, and bless him for it.) No, what bothers them is that it costs alot of money to break things and kill people, and they're worried that we might not have enough young men and women who will volunteer to leap head-long into the meat grinder. This talk led inevitably to the possibility of another Draft, though they stopped just short of naming it.

Vicious old men send the idealistic off to die in far-away places for terrible reasons. When they run out of willing ones, they start in on those guilty of being young and poorly-connected. One thing they never worry about, of course, is how they would feel were they the ones being shipped off against their will to fight people they don't want to fight. Neither are they in danger of losing their sons and daughters to this fate. They know people. They have the money, and the power.

Kids, welcome to CrazyWorld.

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