Fan letters.

So, I see you’re furiously and publically masturbating over your own pathos. A webcam show without a face. You want to turn your grotesque acts into another source of what’s more important to you than anything—attention. You have the gall to write off your utter lack of character as mental illness. That’s disgusting. That is an insult to those that are mentally ill but morally sound. #bipolar. Yeah. Your problems reach well beyond that. You are poisonous to your core. You know what you do. #facade, fear, whore, sociopath, pig, cheating, half-truths. Do not try to frame the way you drove me out of your life as an attempt to protect me. You did what you did because I became inconvenient and you feared I’d find out the truth. “Don’t try to turn this into anything other than what it is,” you said, as I wondered how I was such a failure to you, all the while unwittingly garbed in the t-shirt of another guy you were simultaneously deceiving. It’s grand, black comedy. I don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror. I know you do, though, obsessing over your hair while a trite track of “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” runs through your head on repeat.

You sent me away in tears. Veering off the road. I could not eat or sleep for weeks. I was a sobbing mess at work. I wasn’t interested in anything. You were ultimately okay with that. Or knowing that was a possibility. When I talked to you, you said you blocked me because you didn’t know what to say. Please. Fabrication is your life. It you spent half the time at least coming up with a well-meaning lie as you did painting your nails or taking pictures of your dog, you could have quelled the sorrow-cum-anger that drove me to find you out to begin with. I think you were too indignant at me not taking home a reminder of someone who just screamed at me and kicked me to the side (“I PAID TO HAVE THAT MADE FOR YOU”). I think you were too busy worrying about how you were going to explain your bed. You may hate me for putting your behavior out in the open, but take solace in the fact that you probably made me suffer for longer than you will.And I will.

I am so fucking embarrassed that I ever exalted you to others. At how open I was with you. The way I said you were an amazing person who’s been through so much. God knows how much of that even happened and wasn’t just a way for you to garner sympathy and a protector. You said Matt didn’t say he loved you for two years into your marriage. Wouldn’t tell a pet snake that, myself. Of course, I wouldn’t marry it, either. God knows if you even have a brain tumor—though your brain is malignant for sure. I’m insulted that I ever spent any money on you. I’m nauseated that you hold onto antiques that you only got because I stupidly talked you up to my mother. Like you’re a trophy hunter. I’m furious that I stressed when you initially broke up with me, and absolutely remorseful that I took you back. You knew my situation then. The same one you claim is the reason you didn’t want to be with me. I’m trying to figure out why you got back with me then. Probably you were just insulted that I was as cold to you as it turned out you deserved. It ruined your sense of control and diminished you. It bothered me then that you said it was embarrassing that you were trying to get in contact with me so fervently. That if I didn’t respond, you were going to block me. I would never be embarrassed at trying to get back to someone I’ve wronged. And I would always available to them.

I started reading up on people like you. The charm and the need to ingratiate. The grandiose statements of love used to reel in patsies, although you’re in no way capable of anything but affection that leads to opportunity or is a hobby. “I love you madly.” “I could die happy like this.” “I’m going to fall in love with you, and you’re gonna break my heart.” Boy, were you projecting on that last one. And certainly were when you said you were constantly worried about me cheating AND when you told me to stop using your name so much. You and I are nothing alike. I justly flatter myself in saying that.

None of the sweetness was expression for its own sake. The expressions that really come from you are like when I was anguished at you initially breaking up with me and you told me to “take the whine out of my voice.” You later applauded yourself for that line. In hindsight, I’m shocked I didn’t need a sweater as much you did, because those are painful douchechills you gave out. I want to make sure I avoid mammals of your ilk in every avenue of my life. I think of the planets in your son’s room. You come off as Earth, initially. Nurturing and fertile and colorful and livable. You’re more Jupiter. Red streaks and gaseous and toxic to man. Or Pluto. Cold and dead and no longer carrying the distinction of “person” anymore than Pluto does “planet.”

“You were both very hard to get rid of.” I like that admission. It says a lot about how you look at people. You can’t recognize that your actions have consequences, huh? Consequences and self-preservation are the only things that inform your behavior. You know the difference between right and wrong. You just don’t care to abide by the former for its own sake. You’re not “crazy.” Just diseased. As a friend of mine put it, “People are options to her. What you’ve stumbled upon here is a personified pop up add. You clicked it and it led you to a web page you otherwise would have blocked. Too much has been invested in this clunt. You’re way too smart and capable to have let a spam bot get to you like this.”I did, though.

The fucking nerve of you. Claiming I have no ambition. You had this dream of me going into a job that I explained might shatter me and does to plenty. I think this would hardly be the first time you’ve tried to attach yourself to accomplishment and status that you play no part in. I applied to so many other jobs. You claimed to understand the market and even that you defended me from the shallow and ignorant contempt at my status that came from others. And in the end, it was Brittany’s alleged words coming out of your mouth. “No ambition.” For fuck’s sake. That’s something that should probably be said of a mother and “partner” that can’t even aspire to follow the social contract (“THIS ISN’T A CONTRACT!!!”) or be a decent person. The bottom line is, things weren’t working out for you fast enough, and you decided on a fatter host. And I was “logical to a fault?” I recall the way you dated all those guys, saying you use them for dinner and gifts. Ultimately, I find I’m part of a simultaneously smaller scale and more “ambitious” version of that. Pathetic. Your actions and me ignoring their significance. Those guys were probably at least 90% better people than you.

I looked past so much with you. Your phone always grafted to your hand. A seeming majority of your friends being guys you’ve slept with. You mention the sexual proclivities of Germans. Couldn’t be that…no. One of the pictures you sent me—who’s flannel were you wearing and who’s room was that? Must be from the distant past, right? It’s almost like you wanted to be caught. I don’t think you did. I think you liked that you could wave it in front of me, and I’d be too spellbound to notice. “You don’t know a thing about me.” Well, how could I? I think you shifted your “opinion” on fucking goddamn pitbulls wildly within a week’s time. I obviously assumed way too much, and you were all the happier for it. Deceit is the only career you’ll ever have. The Hump thing slipped because you can’t remember who you told what. It’s disgusting that I was going to the same places as you probably within days of you being there with someone else that thought he was in the same position. You fabricated cutting off your prior dates/other boyfriend just to keep me around. You knew what you were doing. Just not being that good at it. I wonder how many of your family members knew what you were doing. Doesn’t matter. But it makes me wonder of Brittany didn’t actually call you a whore, like your mother said. They both should have.

You got off on me being wrapped around your finger. Many sociopaths thrive in business. I guess you thrive at getting busy. I know on some level you must get off on how you affected me. Makes you feel important. That you at, various points, and particularly when you got “rid of me”, thought “I’m getting/got away with it.” You looked at me as a puppy whose brainless adoration you’d get a rush from, but would ultimately be willing to kick. I love that you said that even after all this, I’d show up to jail for you. I’ve neither the duty nor the inclination. Know that I never would have taken you back even before I found out about you cheating. You have no control over me. I think it always bothered you that you never did to the extent you wanted. You once said that every other guy you’d been with just did what you said. You tried with me. Pushing me to cut my hair. Obsessing over my chain. Forcing me to get out of my work clothes while you were at my parents. Pushing me to make your bed. Threatening to break up with me if I didn’t vote, the day before you broke up with me. On that note, I find it absolutely rich that a narcissistic, cruel sociopath like you would be anti-Trump. You’re right insofar as neither one of you should hold any kind of power over anything or anyone.

You were pissed about the resume. I always suspected that you were, but you hid it because you were trying to get back into my good graces. I told you why it wouldn’t work and thanked you. I told you I appreciated it. And I did. But it was 90% fabrication that would embarrass and cost me in the long run or even at an interview—not completely unlike our relationship. I’ll have you know a law office has contacted me because of the resume on hand, and me listing my work history accurately and completely proved that I was someone worth training and investing in—the entire reason I listed it in the first place. That I’ve always worked. What you think was a weakness proved to be a strength to someone that’s far more solid, genuine, and accomplished than you’ll ever be. “You never listened (re: obeyed) to me.” As if that held me back. The fucking arrogance of you, I swear. What have ever done aside from have men and lose custody of boys? I find it comical that you think I’d ever desire to use you as a reference. I have more people that actually know the person I am and would back me up than you’ll ever have. Probably your “friends” would diminish by at least 75% if they knew who you were. And I would never and will never ask you for a thing from you.

“Did you think me cheating would lose me a man, honestly?” Did you for a second ever consider that it should, honestly? Before: “I deserve every single bit of what is going to implode from this. I’m getting my just desserts.“ The swingback. It’s breathtaking. A large part of why I did what I did was to hurt you. To leave you as disconsolate and alone as you left me. I do not feel an ounce of shame. I have a feeling you’ve done a lot of loathsome things in your life and suffered no repercussions (aside from losing a TV, maybe). I knew you did with me. That could not stand. You shattered me with your deception and manipulation and seemed like you “gave no fucks.” I wanted to shatter you with the truth. You have some fucking nerve saying you were “disappointed.” Resentful that I “sold you down ALL the rivers.” “Tried to make you look like a bad person” by exposing damnable behavior. I owe you nothing less than what I gave you, and probably a lot more, and I could not care less about “tarnishing your memory” of me. Remember when you were talking about inviting an ex from your teen years down from New York only to turn him away in revenge? LOL. Keep consistent. Although I called you to find out how long you were having a two-course meal (maybe with a side of sauerkraut), I also wanted to see how long it would take for you to settle back into self-righteousness and bile. You did not disappoint. And you even claimed I haven’t seen your worst self yet. I wondered what you meant by that and how it manifested before, because what I was seeing was already remarkably despicable. I have a suspicion, but I don’t want to think it, much less say or type it.

There’s no law against what you did to me, but it was still unjust. Don’t think for a second that just because you “won” that you deserve to or that it validates you. Cheating happens. People go through rough periods and one strays. Sometimes it’s forgivable. This wasn’t the same. Three months of semi-calculated deceit and manipulation followed by rash, gratuitous dismissal. Leading the dance with deception and stumbling off the floor. As you said when you loudly proclaimed that you’re wasting your time with me, you’re not getting any younger. You’re pushing 40 and you behaved like this. You’re going to do it again. Maybe not for a while, now that you know you aren’t impervious. But you’re going to get bored. Some slight, whether legitimate, or more likely, overblown, will push you to your “worst self.” Which I think you have a certain amount of pride in. The scorpion and the frog. That’s what I see. “Bitch, I’ll always win.” I’m glad I could push you into admitting that it’s all still a game to you. The other part of why I did what I did was because in the event I couldn’t just avoid knowing you, I wish someone would have done the same for me very early on.

I like that you wrote off my anger’s origin as from me coming in second. I’m angry that I was unknowingly in a race to begin with. I would have sprinted in the other direction. I remember you asking if I posted the NASA picture on FB. Wonder what drove that question? I was so stupid. “I’m allowed to not want to be in a relationship with you.” Yeah, no shit. Come to find out we never really were in one. You conned me into a situation you damn well knew I’d never want to be in, and during it, had the audacity to claim that “everything was always on my terms.” You disrespected me and robbed me of my dignity without me even knowing. You made me think that despite the problems in my life, I had met someone that understood me, cared for me, and would be with me no matter how things pan out—and those are your words. You let me believe in a sham. I will never forgive you for that. That is the real you. “You act like this is some horrible thing that doesn’t happen naturally.” It usually doesn’t. It really doesn’t. You won. You did. So did I, by dodging a fucking bullet like you. There’s only one loser in this situation, and he still enjoys your company. Hilarious.

Although the idea amuses me, I want to sincerely say that you don’t have anything to fear from me, no matter how much I now fear trying to have an honest relationship. I think that fear was the driver for any expression of remorse. I guess you always did fear me (“DON’T YOU DEATH-STARE ME”). On some level, you know you deserve repercussions.

But to hell with that. I’m not stalking you. Never did. It’s convenient for you to put that label on me. You left it out in the open, really, and had left me in a place where I had no real answers, and your affected dedication for me left me no choice but to pursue them. I blocked you and Paul on Facebook. I deleted your contact information. I never have once driven in your direction since you broke up with me, although the night we talked you seemed to think so. I never will. Well, unless my visit to the clinic turns out poorly. I’m sure it will be fine, given your instinct towards self-preservation. I’m not going to “deck you if I see you in a bar.” I probably will never run into you and wouldn’t take that recourse anyway. I wouldn’t say a word to you. Nothing I have ever considered doing to you violates the law, because truth seldom does. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been more than open with everyone I know about what you did and how you affected me. You are hated by a lot of people. But no one knows your name. No one even know what city you live in. I have no intention of interfering in your relationship again. And frankly, if he’s “damaged in the same way” as you and still ”likes you as a person” after all this, I think you deserve one another. You mimic his expressions. I’m not surprised. Already noticed you mimicked his speech patterns (“nope”). Cipher. I wasn’t even going to contact you again until I saw that you followed your need to make your hideous nature into a façade of martyrdom and complexity, and I found out because I knew you would and wanted to witness it. I think you know the biggest difference between us is our relationship with the truth. So settle down. Ease back into your life and accept that what I did was what you deserved. By exposing you, I did the thing I felt was commensurate to your loathsome indulgences. The response wasn’t, but again, do not take that as a testament to your worth.

We’re done. I’ve finally gotten out all I needed to. My friends tell me I’m only torturing myself by thinking about you, for good or ill. They’re right. I drag myself down by engaging with you. You’ll be the abusive crone you claimed your mother was. You’ll be alone, which is obviously and tremendously the thing you truly can’t stand to be. They should start colonies for “people” like you. The rest of the population would benefit, and you viruses can shape your own version of reality constantly, manipulate each other, and burn one another to the ground. Paul was “a fucking adult” for accepting you despite your deceptions? Hopefully he’s even better at teaching you adulthood than he is at guitar. You’re more of a child than your son. I don’t know that I’ll find anyone who’s the balance of understanding the darkness in the world but not adding to it. Like me. But I’ll always put myself out there, as myself, and have the guts to be alone and die. Take a fucking hint. You have every tool to be a great member of society. You’re not ambitious enough to go the garage and pick them up.

There’s still sadness mixed in my anger. I feel like I’m burying a friend and lover that never existed to begin with. Baseless grief that I still can’t help but be consumed by. No matter how much I detest living on a planet like this, and with people like you, I will not allow myself to be pulled into the black hole that is your effect on others anymore than you’ll allow yourself to be decent for its own sake. “We’re all set.” But one day you’ll do this to what turns out to REALLY be the wrong guy, and you will not survive what comes afterwards. And I’ll still feel worse for him than you. When it comes to your own self-destruction, you’re all set. Fuck your hat.

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A Response from Florida Woman. 

You think:
I am the high heel 

Stumbling

I am the tight top

I am the fleshy rolls

I am the smell of melting plastic and 

Forwarded stories of eaten faces. 

Truth is:

I am the bev nap

placed neatly underneath

the mojito you ordered.  

I am the clogs

choked with sand

that hustle those dunes 

getting your perfect,

neon drink

into your dismissive paw

I am Carl. I am Jim. I am 

free-fucking-falling. 

I am not a rich kid, skipping class

beneath the comforting canopy

of waxy, white Magnolia. 

I am not bone dry under the impenetrable 

umbrella of Old Money. 

I do not miss the red line

or Middlesbrough 

or the soft hiss of snowflakes. 

I ask, as you sit here, white knuckling

Styrene pints,

if you would have attended a show

with a topic like 

“Michigan Man”

and sat around

drooling out stories about outsourced

livelihoods and babies nursing 

black water bottles. 

You think I am 

classless

without talent. 

High on oxy contin. 

But I am steadfast, thick skinned as a

Spanish fort. 

I am staked by a mangrove spine. 

I nod. I laugh. 

You mistake the space I give. 

I am a shark turning a tightening circle

around your foreign, tourist hands

that snap pieces off of my

reefs to decorate your ten gallon

in New Jersey. 

I am the 35% 

of Florida residents

that were born here. 

The others? The rest?

We cannibalized. 

On restraint. 

I am not so stupid as to think
that there are words I
can say

to neutralize your hatred.
I imagine my name

is a razor blade

against your tongue.

I imagine

the memory of my taste

induces your gag reflex.

That your skin crawls.

That, with eyes closed,

if you were to describe me,

I’d be rendered in black strokes

that resemble

the spiders trapped on my

sideboard.

That my face is an eyeless oval.

Gapped fangs.

My ears, sharp and canine, pricked

forward are

predatory.
My laugh, if it echoes in your mind:

Rabbits screaming, shattering windows.

My voice, just a memory of perpetual,

glass explosions.

The shards that collect

around your black boots,

are sets of jagged teeth that

circle

and chase your retreat.

You’ve extended far too much credit.

I cannot recognize

that my actions have consequences.

You’ve been charitable if, in your mind,

my role in the slow-clicking reel

of your memory

is “Villain”.
I’m not an organized murderer.

I leave prints on the sills of windows.

My feet are bare and, tracking blood,

print sloppy, pointing arrows.
There are keys jingling, a clicking lock

cylinder.

I look up into soft eyes,

mimic

his expressions.
You think you have caught me.

You think you can cost me.
Your tunnel vision, so bent on revenge,
never even considered that I

looked around this crime scene

and decided

that I wanted you to get out

alive.

The absence of “read”. 

These unanswered texts have become my journal entries. You said that to me once. I write your phone and then copy and paste it into my journal. It’s a bastardized version of a quote by Cohen, my version- a ninety degree pivot:
“This is not the book I meant to read you when we were old”.
It is not, absolutely. My son is knee deep in Netflix, my company is kept by a beer, a twisted gut and the rising tide of anxiety I feel, an acid burn of bile in my throat.
I bought him a heap of school clothes today. Desperate for something tangible that proves my fitness as a parent. Polo shirts. Penny loafers. Shorts with pleats. Preppy clothes that pass through the mind of his school mates, completely neutral. Nothing the teeth of a cruel child could sink into.
I dress him like we are still in Boston, whereas I have reverted to my cowboy boots and short shorts and weird rural/indie/punky vibe. I’m stripping my hair Saturday, bright like a penny. I found fake gauges I wear in my ears. I’m thin as a willow tree, and I whip branches in strong wind, slinging leaves to and fro. I scatter blooms. I am desperate to at least resemble a completely different person. I’m considering a tattoo. When in Rome, I reckon?
I gardened, manically, for a bit, a few months ago and my frantic efforts have come to fruition. Sunflowers with heavy heads, a pot of cilantro – straining towards the sun. The trellises that flank my front door are covered with black-eyed-susan vines. Fully six feet tall, thick with blooms. On the ledge of the jalousie windows in my bedroom the same susan vines drape towards the floor, a pot every two feet. In a few months they will bloom and my room will be flanked by flowers.
A funeral home for my prone, perpetually-exhausted form. Fitting. Accurate.
My only child will be gone from my house on the 12th of August. School is starting and our ritual: breakfast-lunch-dinner will leave with him. The quiet, comforting grind of full-time parenting will expire.
Second beer now. Smoking in the house as I’m still in this sweeping vintage night dress. It’s noon now, lunch will be late.
For the first time in weeks the heat index might drop below 105, as the thunderstorms burn the clouds black. Our dog is barking at the neighbors. My son’s black cat is lithe as he stalks the tumbleweeds of her shedding puppy coat.
It is Wednesday, I am in a town I swore I’d never return to, and my eyes roll skyward, as I anticipate a storm.