Shortly after my father died, I remember talking to someone. Maybe R, I don’t know. I lightly kicked a wall of house while speaking of the new realization and weight of owning and being responsible for property that I couldn’t walk away from.

A man called a while ago asking for me to describe my great grandfathers fire department badge so he could know if another one was authentic. I couldn’t find it off-hand. I knew it was in a safe place, but there are many safe spaces. That was a while ago, but the family is away for a few days so I went and looked. It was in a box of old letters.

I’ve worked at Chef (Opscode!) for over six years. Six years ago, I was living in Seattle. Five years ago, I had moved home to Maine. My memory is of having worked at Opscode longer in Seattle, but it was only 7 months until my father died.

I told Z I would never contact her again, I made an effort to move on, and nine days later my father was dead. Everything changed at once, Z was gone, and I made a new life.

Six months earlier she wrote, “[I] thought about you and my sister, paired as you are by being people with whom my relationship has been troubled but enduring.” I don’t think Z ever told me that she loved me. She once wrote that she almost did. Her letters were signed with love, although, I mostly remember my torrential emotions causing me to be incredibly selfish from when we broke up until the end of communication. A letter from J around the same time refers to me as a “lover of emotion & communication.” Looking back, I feel like a shit communicator. Although I know I tried. I was probably okay at it, relatively. But not with Z. It hurt too much.

J’s letter nearly ends with “You’re a good man.”

That’s what I became at least. All the needles pegged on responsibility. My counselor says I need to have fun, but I don’t have the time.

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