Happy birthday, Freddie

A note: This has not been dropped from the official greatest hits album. It has been dropped off a version of it that is being played on a children’s music platform. Rightly so. They can listen to this song when it’s actually age-appropriate for them. Holy shit, internet nonces, calm the fuck down.

Letter to Kay

After going back and forth for almost two years about whether to, I finally decided to write to Matt’s mother.

I put Matt’s home address as the return. If for some reason Kay and Roger (Matt’s stepfather and adoptive father) aren’t living at the house I used to visit, the letter will simply be returned to Matt. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that moment. Just one more little needling.

But, I suspect they’re still in the same place. I expect absolutely nothing from this — and they could signal to me that they got it; they’ve got one of those creepy Stepford joint Facebook accounts and I am a very easy find. They did not, however, attempt that when I first left. They just pretended I don’t exist. So I know what’s going to happen: nothing.

After what happened with Cheryl, my ex-husband’s mother, that’s actually sort of a relief. And I should have learned my lesson long before now: just because someone acts like they like you doesn’t mean they do. I have no real friends in life, and I may as well face it.

I wish I could say that was deserved. It really isn’t though. I see people worse than me with friends, family, and social circles absolutely everywhere. I think most people are just shitty, that’s all. I have my shitty moments too. I am not sure what to do with that information. I am not sure it matters.

I think I wrote the letter to give my side more than for any other reason. That way I can tick off a box and say it’s done and they can’t say they didn’t know. Or they could, but they’d be lying. Because sure, one of the worst liars I have ever personally known came from kind and honest people. Sure he did.

Anyway. Here you go. For posterity.

—–

22 August 2023

Hi Kay.

Sorry if you were expecting someone else. I didn’t put my own return address on this because, well, I don’t know why I’m bothering, and I fully expect this to go nowhere. But I also wanted to be able to speak for myself, which up til now I have not had the opportunity to do, since neither you nor Roger ever reached out to me after things finally fell apart. Thanks for that, by the way.

First of all, I wanted to clear up a particular point on why Matt and I never married. As you know, he was already married when I got pregnant with Althea. He ended up divorced the following year, however, so why didn’t we tie the knot then? That seems to have been a sticking point with some of you, your aunts in particular.

He did ask me to handfast with him (non-legally-binding ceremony) the year I was pregnant, but when he asked, it was with all the air of one being dragged kicking and screaming to ask for something he didn’t actually want. We never discussed how or when or where it was going to happen, and then he started screwing around with Yvette (it’s one thing to have an open relationship, quite another to sneak around behind someone’s back when you’ve told them you weren’t going to start any new involvements, which he had in my case), so things got really toxic and it would have been silly to discuss it then because no one wants to marry, legally-binding or otherwise, a person who’s making them miserable.

Well, you might say, but that was 2004 and you’ve had almost twenty years since. Yes, that’s true. And he’d shown me that he lies and he can’t be trusted to do anything but spend money, often inappropriately, which frankly does not make one a good husband candidate either. I needed him around to help with Thea. I did not need to be married to him for that. You may rest assured that after 2006 or 2007 we had nothing like an intimate relationship going on, either.

As to why I finally left. What happened in 2004 and 2005 (because he still wouldn’t stop lying and sneaking around) wasn’t bad enough. He had to put me through it again, this time with Crys. His argument is that we weren’t together. That’s completely fair, so my question is why did he carry on like he was having an affair, and right when we were running into serious problems with Thea, too. I’m also perimenopausal so I was going through distressing health changes, my daughter was in a crisis, and I had no one to turn to for help or support because Thea’s particular situation means everyone has made me into the villain because I won’t affirm it. Matt knows why I won’t. He didn’t want to deal with it. He wanted to escape again like the little fucking coward he has always been.

I am tired of people making me into a monster for the most ridiculous of reasons. And that includes my own daughter. I loved her before she was born, I loved her and was heartbroken when I left, I still love her now. But you must understand I am the villain because I still call her “her.” Because I know she’s female and can’t change that. That is probably THE most ridiculous reason to make someone into a monster that I’ve ever heard of. I wasn’t going to stay and keep being the odd-out scapegoat, watching her destroy her health and body for nothing when I can’t even try to stop her, being treated like an intruder in my own damn home because I’m harshing Matt’s special fairy tale.

But I’m out of their lives now and I’m sure they’re much happier. I’m sure you are too. Enjoy.

24 January 1999

I have been upsetting Reba in weird ways almost since I got here. Last night I upset her again.

I had been attempting to draw, and then I had to take a dump. Sean was watching TV and zoning out on the couch so I figured he was okay for a bit. When I came back, Reba barrelled out of her bedroom to tell me I’d left out a sketchbook and some other supplies. I’m not sure which pissed her off more, that I’d left them out or that Sean was still up.

After that she sat out in the living room writing a note, then went and showed it to Rick in their bedroom, then told me about it and said she’d give it to me in the morning (today).

To say I am pissed off at Mike for putting me into this situation would be the understatement of the year.

Reba says I’m reverting to Angry Teenager. Looks to me like she’s reverting to Nagging Nitpicker, and who’d be happy about that? Not me.

I’m really tired of her tattling to Rick, too. I may have Sean calling him “grandpa” but he’s no relation of mine.

Anyway, I had been working on a drawing but after this blowup she asked me if I had started drawing anything — stupid question, she could have seen it when the sketchbook was on the coffee table — and since we were all about the stupid questions I resorted to stupid answers, said No, and then ripped it up when I got it back to the bedroom.

Yesterday we went out driving and passed by the neighborhood where Reba and Dad had bought 1.25 acres of land several years back. In the divorce, Reba got Dad to sign away his share of it. Now she wants to sell it. Depressing. It’s like a piece of our family history and she’s talking about it like it’s a commodity. But it’s her land, not mine. I’m not entitled to inherit anything from her. Nothing I can do.

Another thing from yesterday that pissed me off was a conversation about Mom. Apparently she was living with a cocaine dealer during the time she was fighting Dad for custody of me and then visitation rights. Reba even thought Mom had been snorting coke herself, since she lost a lot of weight around that time. I suppose it’s possible. But it amazes me that whenever Reba has anything to say about Mom, it’s usually negative in some way. Reba says she avoids negativity in that area, but historically she’s used the tactic of talking about how messed up I was as a toddler and how Reba felt the need to “rescue” me.

It’s not like I need or want Reba to lie to me or cover up any bad stuff Mom might have done. But if you go around for years doing all but calling your stepdaughter’s mom a bad mother, it’s very bad form to deny what you did, years later. And it’s not like she never called my mom a bitch. Yep, that too. Late one night when we lived in Mississippi when she thought I was asleep and she and Dad were having one of their late-night discussions.

I’ll say one thing for Dad: he never said anything mean about Mom to me. He has always been something of a realist and recognizes that he and Mom were just kids who had no business getting married, much less having a kid. Didn’t spell it out in so many words, but. And I know enough about young single moms and the stupid shit they do to basically forgive Mom for anything she did.

Speaking of young relationships. One actually pleasant conversation Reba and I had on the road yesterday: She mentioned, in the past, having gone to the hospital on the Navy base at Millington and having been treated by Dr. Moody. In other words, the father of my first boyfriend. He’d look at her last name and tap his forehead and say, “I should know you, shouldn’t I…? Hm. Oh yeah, our kids dated, didn’t they?” The thought that Daniel’s dad remembered me even though Daniel and I were only together a month and I don’t think I ever actually met Dr. Moody in person cheered me up a good bit.

I wonder if Daniel is married now. I’d ask Marc, but Marc hates him.

Last thing for now. Reba keeps gushing on about Rick and how she’s finally found true love. She then turns to me and says she “knows” I still love Mike.

Mike wasn’t my true love. He was a four-year mistake who happened to be good in bed.

If that doesn’t suit her fairy-tale idealism, nothing I can do about it.

19 January 1999

Well, in the last few days I’ve gone over to Marc’s apartment once for a visit. Marc called and invited me over, so I took Sean with me. Wife was at work. I got to meet the little fella (Logan) and spent some time looking through Marc’s wedding photos and catching up, then watching Marc play video games.

It wasn’t as boring as it sounds. Barry also showed up with his brother Charlie. Ah, yes. Charlie of the Tales of Charlie his older brother used to regale us with in art class. Personality-wise they are night and day. Barry is friendly enough but kind of stoic and introverted, while Charlie’s the charmer. He also, according to Barry, spent time in either a mental hospital or in juvie, or possibly both. He also used to hang out with Doug, for whatever that’s worth. I know some characters, apparently.

Marc seems as gloomy as ever. I wonder if it’s a happy marriage. I wonder if I should even be wondering.

When I left, Sean was asleep. Barry carried him out to the car for me.

14 January 1999

Speaking of irritation. It’s wearing on me. Reba is traumatized by the assault on 3 January, I’m traumatized by all the shit with Mike, neither of us is at our best when traumatized, and on top of that her pain meds are scrambling her brains. Needless to say, we’re grating on one another’s nerves.

Talked to the Navy judge advocate general (JAG) officer and found out some interesting stuff. Apparently, conviction for a felony crime is grounds for divorce in Tennessee. Unfortunately, JAG doesn’t do family-court stuff, including divorce. So I’ll have to wait until I’ve got a decent job and, of course, until Mike’s convicted.

I’ve been making lists of what I want from the house with Mike and what I don’t want. Basically I want my stuff and Sean’s stuff. They can burn down Mike’s stuff for all I care. Once ours is not there anymore. I’ve also been apartment-hunting. I think I want to go with Flag Manor in Millington. Their move-in costs are not insane.

Storm Bear, one of my internet friends (no really, just a friend — he’s happily married and monogamous and I’m not even interested), called today but I wasn’t around. I’ll have to call him back.