Friday, January 1, 2016

To Doug from Debbie.

To: Doug  From: Debbie

I always thought that I'd see you again.

I never imagined that time would be so short, that you'd just drop dead at 52. 
Shopping for a toaster on New Years Eve. How ridiculously mundane. 
You'd be so embarrassed if you knew.

I never ever stopped loving you, you know. Well no, no, I guess you
didn't know. You didn't know that that was why I couldn't see you.
It could have spoiled everything. Our lives had already been ripped
to shreds once. I couldn't do that again, couldn't risk what I'd made
out of the ashes. It was never your fault, you tried so damned
hard to do the right thing, but my parents wouldn't let you and we
were both too young and naive to know how to make things turn out
differently. And then after, after,I just couldn't stay with you and keep
on living. I just couldn't imagine how to keep looking into your eyes
and not see hers, forever and ever and ever, and I couldn't
figure out how to leave you without being cruel. I'm sure you never 
knew how much I hated myself for that.

When I found her I thought my heart would just stop beating, or that it would 
beat its way out of my chest. The first time I talked to her on the phone I 
kept holding my breath, so anxious to hear her every word, every movement, 
every breath, so anxious to say only the right things, to be what she needed 
me to be and not to say anything that might spook her or scare her or claim 
anything at all. I told her, that very first time, that I knew where you were,
 that I had all your information and could give it to her when she wanted. 
She wasn't ready. She hadn't even yet thought about finding a father, at all,
 she was looking for her mother, looking for me, looking for ME, 
how amazing, looking for me. 

And so I waited, and then, of course, of course, it shattered us once again. 
Christmas day, early, you called me out of the blue, so unexpected after so 
many years, you called me to give me the exciting news, you'd found her,
 found our daughter, she'd been looking for me, posted online looking for me, 
you'd found her. You'd found her. You were so happy to give me this gift. 
I had just moments, a breath, a heartbeat, to think, to decide... and then I 
told you the truth, that I'd found her too, just months ago, that we'd talked, 
that I'd given her your information but she wasn't ready yet to talk to you...
 I could hear your heart breaking over the phone.  I told you I was sure she'd 
contact you, maybe not soon, she had a new baby and all, but she would 
contact you, certainly, sometime, absolutely. I wrote down your email address 
for her, your new phone number. You said goodbye. I sat quietly with my 
husband watching me cry as my heart broke once more. 

Twenty four years on, and the pain still fresh and raw as the day I let her 
be taken from my arms.

We never spoke again. Nine more years, and we never spoke again. 

I guess you never forgave me for not letting you know I'd found her right away,
 for choosing to honor her wishes. Even after she'd contacted you, you never 
forgave me, I guess. But I'll never know, will I? I'll never ever know. I thought 
there was plenty of time.  I kept thinking I'd call you again someday. Someday,
 someday. Or you'd call me. Or she'd get us together. Something. Someday.
 I never ever imagined that that call was the end, forever. I'd have kept you 
on the line longer, had I known.

I hadn't heard from her in many months when she called to tell me you were 
dead, that your sister had found information about her in your belongings 
and had contacted her to let her know. She wanted to be the one to tell me. 
She knew I'd want to know. Your death brought us closer together once again. 
One last little irony.  

I always thought that I'd see you again. 

Damn it Doug. 

I always thought I'd see you again, when we were old and gray and it 
couldn't hurt any more. People in your family didn't die young, after all. 
Your much older sisters are both still alive, 10 years after your death. 

Damn it, Doug. 

Damn it. 

I always thought that I'd see you again.