Last night I left my message on a machine with a non-human voice recording, so there was no hint if it was the correct phone number, but I did it. Then I spent the rest of the night gathering, sorting & tossing piles of photos till I was exhausted. I did, however, read 2 more letters before I fell asleep....I actually read them while I fell asleep, as I would doze, wake up, find a letter in my hand & continue to read. There was one letter left when I shut off my light.
This morning I had a decision to make....wait to the end of the day to read the last letter & perhaps learn the conclusion of the story and possibly the relationship - or read it then & there. I had been so cought up in the letters & felt an involvement with this young man I was becoming re-acquainted with, as well as the renewed relationship with the me that I was then. It truly did feel like the reading of a favorite book. Yearning to get to the end, but reluctant to say goodbye to the characters that had become so personal to me. There is always a type of mourning at the end of a book like that.
At about 8 a.m., after being awake for over an hour, still in my bed, I read it. It offered no answers, no conclusions, not even a hint. I was relieved that it was not a response to a "break-up" letter I may have sent I still had a vague feeling that it was I that caused the end. I also wondered if there were other letters in another carton somewhere in the attic that would continue the story. Today was not the day I was going to look for them.
At 8:20, the phone rang, & without my glasses to identify the caller, I heard: "Hi Sue, it's Mike H.....".
OMG, I was so glad that he was alive. I couldn't believe that he was on the phone. I don't exactly remember how the conversation started, but after 49 years, I doubt that it was with: "So, what's new?"
We did speak easily, filled in some details, cought up on present situations. Then I had to ask: "Mike, how did it end, I have no memory of an ending." His response was something like....."I loved you very much, but your father loved you even more. When I came to see you he quickly figured out that I was a troubled drinker and sent me away". When I told him that I had no hint of this then, and surely his letters never indicated alcohol in any way now, he responded that he was able to hide it from me, but my father knew right away. .
He spoke of how he had starting drinking as a 10 year old alter boy, sampling the ceremonial wine. He used it for effect. He needed it to "get out there & not be afraid". He told of rampant alcoholism, a ruined marriage, and finally intervention, rehab & sobriety. He never picked up a drink again. He told me he damaged a lot of lives and was always grateful that I had escaped his path of destruction.
Well, what a story. I havn't quite digested it all yet. So much for my brief excitement that there was a time in my life that I wasn't attracted to or attracting the bad-boy alcoholic. Dunno, there is a reason for everything....& I'm sure I'll know why this piece of my life has come back to me at this time.
(or I'll never know, & that's ok too) Perhaps it's because my life is changing so drastically now. I'm in a peaceful, loving relationship, I'm moving, I'm growing, I'm happy. Perhaps I needed to finally get what my mother was always trying to tell me..... how much my father loved me.
I still have a feeling that the end of the relationship wasn't all my fathers' doing. I have the vaguest, fuzzy memory that I was getting a bit bored. The Mike that he presented to me was so kind, loving, and straight. He never cursed, didn't party with his buddies, adored & wanted me. What was the challenge? If I had really wanted him, I would have lied, snuck around, rebelled against my father, made my mother miserable & perhaps I would have married him. After all, that is just the way it happened a few years later with my husband-to-be.
So - the great "Great Neck Novel". Where are we now? Happy to have connected. I will send him the letters. For one moment, I felt a bit reluctant to let them go. They have become so....personal. When I told him that he said I should keep them. I said no, if I ever have a need to see them again, he can mail them back to me. I know I never will have a need for them.
We exchanged phone numbers & addresses (although my address & phone number has been the same for 55 years). I will mail the letters to him tomorrow. Perhaps we will stay in touch. Perhaps not.