So I'm out on this date.

First, bask in the weirdness of that - I tend to fall into relationships like a villain in an old Warner Brothers cartoon stepping into a collapsable hole and the idea that I'd actually be out dating, dating in the traditional sense, even, drinks and movies and that whole 'is it acceptable at this point in our embryonic relationship for me to put my arm around her if she's cold' sort of way, is a bit bizarre for me, and second...realize that this is a second date, the kind of thing that happens with me not at all. Less than dating. Never, even.

Fine. So I'm on this second date and we're walking down to Houston (the street, not the city; How-Ston, not Hew-Ston) to catch a movie, and out of the blue she says 'So...I think you grew up with my best friend.'

And I stop. This is dangerous.

I was a very, very different person in high school. I didn't smoke a pack a day, for one, and I certainly wasn't a dater - I was the kind of guy who ended a relationship and was set up in another one within twenty-four hours. I was the guy who, geek that I was, always seemed to have a girl around, not because I was smooth or anything but because I was so comfortable in relationships that finding them just came naturally. I was the serial dater.

...and then I moved to New York City and everything got shot to hell, but I digress.

So here I am, out on a date with a girl who now has a very, very different impression of me than I realistically wanted her to have. After talking to her friend, a girl I've known since I was four and who could probably give a pretty damn accurate account of my life up until I turned eighteen or so, she's probably wondering what went wrong with me. Realistically, I used to be a member of her crowd, the too smart, too ambitious, on track for something and more at ease (in a decidedly uneasy sort of way) crowd. And then I discovered dive bars and cheap booze (the two don't always go together in New York CIty) and the wonder of the kind of drunken conversation that really only makes sense in the moment. I discovered the ups and downs of the night shift and the horrors of unexpected daylight. And I discovered that, like it or not, I saw things a little differently than most people and that I had absolutely no problem telling them of the errors of their ways.

But to her...I get the feeling that I'm stuck in a personality that's seven years dead. And I have ZERO idea what to do about that. If she wasn't so damn perfect I think I'd end up crawling under a big, heavy blanket and waiting for someone to knock on my door and let me fall for them.

I wrote this letter to you back in November. November 20, 2004, to be exact. It was written on a mini legal pad in large print and cursive. It is 28 pages long.

I should have sent it to you back then, but I didn't for fear you'd hate the way I write. Instead, I put the sealed envelope addressed to you in a bin that holds old bills in my room. I found it today when I went rifiling through the mess of paper.

November 20, 2004

Dear (Your full first name here),

It's 11:53 am here at Lindelle Studios in Jenkintown, PA. I have been locked away in my digital dungeon since 8:46 am. The good news is that I have finished three digital repair jobs and have begun my fourth. The bad news is I still have a ton to accomplish by 5:30 pm and I cannot bare to look at another fat bridesmaid in a hideous dress. They have all started looking the same and yet each one makes me shudder as if she were the worst one I've seen this month.

By one o'clock today I need to have atleast started scanning the negs for the Morawa-Le sample album we are creating. That means selecting and scanning over 90 negatives. This will probably mean hours of endless fun for yours truly. I'm not really looking forward to the next six hours. I guess I will be taking a "working" lunch. So there that is.

It's Saturday, so you are probably riding around North Carolina somewhere. I hope that one day soon you will be kind enough to let a Northerner like me ride along in your truck. I call shotgun! Sadly, I couldn't do this while I was down last weekend, but I know other opportunities shall arise.

You are probably wondering how I can find time to write when I am supposedly "super busy". Well, the truth of the matter is that I bought a "wonder drug" from the local witch doctor up the road a ways. According to the label, the drug is supposed to increase productivity by 35%. This simply wasn't good enough for me so, I took twice the suggested dosage and have acquired two new arms. They are a littler scrawnier than I would have liked but, all in all the side effects have proved beneficial. I should go see that witch doctor again and see if he has any sort of pill for being two places at once.

(Ok-so realy it just takes forever to run a batch scan, leaving me plenty of time inbetween to write to you.)

You just wrote to me that you were attacked by a swarm of fire ants. That sounds extremely painful. I hope you are ok. Now, though, I have that darn song in my head. "Ants in my pants and I gotta dance!" Worst part about that is that I only know one verse and can't get the damn chorus out of my head. Hope you fought them off ok and arent too bitten up.

(Do you ever go back over a letter you've written and try to pick out the number of times your handwriting changes throughout the piece? I used to hate this during essay exams or in handwritten papers. I would start off with really nice cursive and end up with really funky print/script mixes. Every paragraph would look a little bit different and, as a whole, the paper would look messy. One of my pet peeves!)

I used to have the worst handwriting in grade school. I'm sure you are smirking thinking, "how can this be any better?" Trust me Sugar Lips, this is 100 times better.

I think my handwriting has evolved quite a bit over the years. Everyone has their own style; their own "font". I gues this is what my font has developed into (no photographic pun intended).

Did I ever point out to you that there really is a "(my first name here)" font? That was a great discovery for me. I use that font for a lot of things. It's fun, bubbly, and energetic. The same as my evil twin...I mean...ahem.

So have you ever spent 8 hours locked in a small office, in the dark, listening to the loudest, most ear piercingly annoying scanner in the world?! No? Boy, do I envy you!

I think I am developing my first migrane because of this.

However, the wedding I am scanning is quite beautiful. It is set at a mansion with stone archways, beautiful fountains, and incredible views. The bride is a beautiful, petite asian woman and the groom is a very handsome caucasian man. All in all, the bridal party is a good looking group.

So it looks as if I've been babbling for quite a bit here. So, enough about work and weddings from hell!

I have been thinking a lot lately about my childhood and my past in general. This thinking has been spurred by my parents divorce. Or so I believe. Perhaps I have been trying to back track through all of the memories of my family and how we interacted. How my parents acted together and when they started doing things separately. I know my parents have always had their independence and ability to be autonomous, but there was a time when they did a lot together and we all felt like a family.

We would eat dinners together, see movies together, and go on family vacations. That all stopped wen I was 16 or 17. Does that mean my paretns have been unhappy for that long? What clicked one day that made them give up on what we had as a family?

I spoke with Mom two nights ago. It was probably the first time I asked her about what was going on between her and Dad. She mentioned that there had been a break in communication. She and my fatehr had gone to couples counseling. She tried to keep a journal with Dad.

I remember when Greg and I had started a journal about how we felt, because things weren't going so well (2 years ago). She had said then that that was what they suggest to couples in counseling. I had never made the connection and thought that might mean Mom and Dad had been through that.

So I guess I can say that my parents did try to work things out. If they had tried for over four years and still couldn't make it work, I can't be upset by their decision to get a divorce.

My father enlisted in the Marines (or was commissioned, sorry) as an officer the weekend after my parents were married. My Mother wasn't too pleased to say the least, especially due to Vietnam, which was in full swing. Dad ended up getting shipped off to Japan for 13 months less than a year after their wedding. I've always wondered how my parents survived that. Were they faithful to eachother? There are a million questions that I will never ask.

Then the time my Dad lived in St. Louis (for a job). Rumors went around town that my parents had secretly divorced. I almost believed it. It's hard to know whats true and what is not when you are 10.

My Mom said to me in the car, the day she told me about the divorce, that she'd always been faithful and that she believed in the vows she had taken. She never mentioned if Dad had done the same. I thought it odd she would bring that up. Do you thin my father could have been unfaithful? I hate to think that thought, but I do.

Wow, that last section was messy as all get out! I have written a book so far and almost about nothing. Please forgive me while I ramble on pointlessly.

Do you know what your first memory is? I don't know if I can actually remember an event before I was four years old, but I have recollections of smells, feelings, colors and sounds. Even today, certain sounds and smells-even tastes-will shock in me a very random feeling of déjà vu or a striking feeling that there is a place or sensation that I experienced a long time before.

Do you ever worry that one or more of your earlier memories are actually false? Memories built upon stories or suggestions of a memory provided to you by your parents? I hope that 99.9% of my early memories are actually my own.

I wish I could take you to Disney World. (Don't laugh.) I remember you saying that you had never been there. Sure, most of it is super cheesy and meant to please little kids, but there is a magic in watching someone enjoy it for the first time. Plus, you have to let yourself be a kid all over again. Every time I go there I skip down Main Street, Magic Kingdom, I take pictures with every character I see, and I ride even the little kid rides. I just love getting sucked into the "youngness" of it all. Sorry. That place means a lot to me.

I think my Father always enjoyed our trips there more than Mom. Dad would put me on his shoulders and we'd gallop around and ride all the rides.

I guess I was Daddy's little girl and David was Mommy's little boy. I miss those days.

I remember one of the saddest moments of growing up was watching my brother playing airplane with my Dad in our front yard. I wanted to play too, but when I asked to play, my Father said, "Sweetie you're a big girl now. You're too big for me to fly, but we still have other games we can play." I guess he could see how tht upset me, so he picked me up in a great big bear hug and spun me around.

That was enough for me. Because of that I could think to myself, "I'm a big girl now. It's David's turn to fly. I have had more time than he has."

That just made me smile.

You are my never ending story; my tale to unwind. Every time we meet and talk, I get to read a little more. Like Frog and Toad.

Thanks for sharing those books by the way. It's hard to believe you would be trusting enough to share something as special and precious as Frog and Toad with a stranger. Well, maybe not a "stranger", but a mystery. We were and maybe still are mysteries to one another. There is a lot to learn about you Mr. (your last name here). Hopefully I'll be given the opportunity.

I think it may be time to wrap up this mini-novel of mine. I realize it is just big print and small pages, but I'm spent.

Take care Mr. (your first, middle, and last names here). Until the next time my pen should reach the page-

All my love,

(my first name here)

P.S. - My handwriting changed about 20 times throughout this letter!

P.P.S. - One! One handwriting change...mauahhahahaha! Two! TWO handwriting changes...muahahaha! Three! THREE!!! handwriting changes....muahahaha! (This, of course, is said in a Transylvanian accent - very dramatic.)

P.P.P.S - Mwah!

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