Christ, I'm falling down again. It happens to me now and then.

04-FEB-2008 12:38
 
So as some of you know, I have spent the last few months slowly cleaning out years' worth of crap from my room [and hopefully, later, I will tackle other parts of the house I have trashed].  I found a letter.

Where the return address would be, August 12, 1996.  The addressee: January 11, 2008.  My handwriting.  I found this months ago; I wondered what I'd written.  Held it up to the light, no good.  I'd used a security envelope.

Anyway, I opened it a few weeks ago, on time.  What did twelve-year-old me have to say?

You know that Tyler Durden speech to the half-conscious narrator?  In the world I see, you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center.  It was like that.  But more... matter-of-fact.  As if it were all so obviously true.

I graduated cum laude from M.I.T.  Got my doctorate.  Joined the Air Force.  Became an astronaut.  Got married.  Lived out in Washington state.  I even planned out my next vacation, a road trip down the coast.

Unrealistic, perhaps.  I still feel like a failure.

Over the last couple of years, the photos of me when I was a kid, the ones that I never wanted old girlfriends to see ... well, they're started to give me a little pang of something—not unhappiness, exactly, but some kind of quiet, deep regret.  There's one of me in a cowboy hat, pointing a gun at the camera, trying to look like a cowboy but failing, and I can hardly bring myself to look at it now.  Laura thought it was sweet (she used that word!  Sweet, the opposite of sour!) and pinned it up in the kitchen, but I've put it back in a drawer.  I keep wanting to apologize to the little guy: "I'm sorry, I've let you down.  I was the person who was supposed to look after you, but I blew it: I made wrong decisions at bad times, and I turned you into me."
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