Someone said I should write a letter to you. Well. Here I am. Writing.
I don’t do feelings, you know. Most days I can’t tell you if I’m happy, or sad, or angry, or anything else. So, me, trying to say these last words to your soul, where it is right now, is going to be one more experiment in dealing with a society, and a world I never made.
I know I wasn’t there, never visited there, in the last 50 some odd months. I’m going to tell you why, even though I’m pretty sure you figured it all out a few years back.
It’s wasn’t you. I would have come down there in a heartbeat, and you know it.
It was so many things. So many reasons.
I didn’t come visit, because you lived in my brother’s home. A home I am not welcomed in. It’s pretty obvious, you know. How, the last few times I did visit, David, Jeanine, and the girls pretty much avoided all contact with me. David played nice, and visited, but that was more of a check up on you, and we both know that.
I’m not their kind of person. Long hair. Shave when I feel like it. Wear jeans and my wild t-shirts, and my athletic shoes. Hell, I don’t even have a suit. Every pair of boots I had is pretty much toast. The black ones are downstairs, in the shoe rack. You don’t want to know, Dad. There’s a ton of white and green on them. Looks like some kind of mold on the leather. Given how frickin’ humid it is up here, and how high the humidity in this house gets, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
David and I don’t talk. I think you knew that. Turns out he’s swallowed the QAnon bullshit, hook, line, and sinker. No way to reason with him. No point in trying. His mind is cast in concrete. He won’t change until his death bed, and likely not even then. Can’t tell him how physics works. Can’t tell him how the atmosphere works. Can’t tell him anything. Hell, for all I know he may believe we have a cure for every form of cancer sitting in a big pharma lab somewhere, and no one will ever let them see the light of day, ‘cause it would mean the end to their revenue stream.
David and I don’t talk.
I tried, Dad. I did. After they elected the orange shit-head, I spent three years going, “Explain this to me. Explain how having a narcissistic, sexual predator, who paid off the women he wanted sex with, and took money out of charity organizations he set up, and spent it on his own expenses, and his own debts, was the only viable choice for US President.”
No one ever did. No one ever could. No one talked to me about the reasons why, because they knew I’d never buy into the QAnon bullshit.
You’d think it wouldn’t hurt, right? That I’d just cut the ties altogether, and move on, and write him off as a lost cause. But, you know. That means I’d have to write off 80% of the white people in this country. And the vast majority of the churches, and religions in this country.
That’s hard to do, since I know the church is very literally what saved David’s life. That he wouldn’t be here if the church, and God, had not bitch-slapped him upside his little head, and woke his ass up.
I know the church does good things. I know it saves people, and gives them light when all they had was darkness. I know these things.
What makes it so fucking hard for me is I also know the church wants me dead. Either converted into a mindless copy of everyone else in any given church congregation, or dead. So yeah. It saved him. And it’s tried for 45+ years to kill me.
Don’t think I ever told you how Pastor Byrum told me to never walk up to the front again. “You’re already saved. That walk is for people who need it.”
So, here I am, 61 years old, and I am the prodigal son.
Dad. The church has, in so many ways, in this country, gone to hell. It’s turned into a country club. And a haven for white supremacy, and male misogyny. Where rape is ignored because no one got physically hurt. Where women are subservient to men. Where non-white people are the enemy, and trying to destroy the church, and the country.
Thank you. But white people are doing a rather thorough job of that all by themselves.
Yes, Dad. I’m angry. I’m always angry. I look around, daily, and everywhere I look I see the same kinds of insanity, where we worship God on Sunday mornings, and then do exactly what money tells us to the rest of the time.
I’m glad, you know, that you couldn’t drive the past few years. That you lost most of your vision. ‘Cause. It means you couldn’t see how stupid people have become. You didn’t get to experience the birth of Highway NASCAR racing. Where the number of automobile accidents and fatalities has gone up, pretty much across the entire country. ‘Cause. People have lost their fucking minds.
No, I’m not welcome in my brother’s house, and I know it. So, for that past 4+ years, I stayed away. It was better than fighting with him and Jeanine. It kept the peace, so to speak.
I know you understand that’s not all it was. We talked about that too, the last time I was there. About how I dress. And how I stick out like a full blown Klingon Warrior walking through a shopping mall.
Same problem here, in Virginia Beach. Just 4+ times as many people. And here, the white people don’t rule. They’re outnumbered. Virginia Beach is more blue now than it was 4 years ago.
We’ve got our red component. Like the dim bulb of a woman who saw me at Walmart, declared, “Oh, God!” and hauled her son sitting in that grocery cart as far away from me as she could get him, as fast as she could.
That’s what North Carolina is like for me. Like, “Yeah. You one of them libtards.”
Now, I’m sitting here, writing this note to you, knowing that in the morning, I have to get in my car, and drive to Oriental, North Carolina, for your funeral service. Good old Oriental First Baptist Church. And I find myself wondering if I should stand outside the sanctuary, looking through the windows in the doors, while they hold their service for you. Knowing I’m not welcome.
They’ll do what they did when Mom’s service happened. They’ll park me on the front row, with Pat, and Michael, and Maddy. As part of your “Family”. I don’t even remember the last time Pat went down there. She stayed away. Because. Jeanine. It’s that simple. She stayed away so she didn’t have to put up with Jeanine.
I left the churches, everywhere, and you know that. I left because I wasn’t welcome. Because the churches are, no polite way to put it, totally lost, and fucked up. Transgender people don’t need erased. They need God. They need to heal. They need, almost all of them, to feel love for the first time in their lives. And what do churches preach these days? “They should be shot on sight. Satan’s minions.”
And you can’t explain anything to them. They’re so gung-ho wrapped around their own axles in pursuit of some mythical definition of Christian Purity, they can’t see at all that they are condoning, and supporting murder of other people.
Last church I visited for any length of time, the pastor was a character, let me tell you. “Saw a man wearing a dress, and I about puked.” Yep. There’s the love for each other that is part of Jesus’ teachings.
You know I’m a clinically certified Autistic, with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I know you understand that. And that, because of that, I very much can’t be like so many social behavior only humans are. I’m, at best, tone deaf to social behavior, and more than likely, totally oblivious to it. It’s a genetic thing, you can do a genetic analysis of the 38 chromosomes in my cells, and it’ll show up. You can do a full electromagnetic brain scan of me, and the scan will show distinct differences in my brain activity from those who are not on the spectrum.
You have no idea how many people have declared I’m not Autistic. That the Autism Spectrum is made up by the medical field, so they can suck up more money from good, honest, hard working people.
Same thing with my biochemical depression. “You just need to get out in nature!”
One of those things I’ve heard from more than one church pastor, “Depression isn’t real.” Yeah. Right.
So, I didn’t visit for the last 4+ years. Not since April of 2016.
Because, Dad. I didn’t want to cause any trouble with the people around you down there. I didn’t want to cause trouble with David and Jeanine.
I never told you, but Hanna and I have not spoken or written one word to each other since Mom died. She lit into me about me not being part of the family, and not coming down there like a good son would have. That was the last I ever heard from her.
I’m pretty sure Jeanine and Rebekka feel the same way about me that Hanna does. “It’s best if he stays away forever, so we don’t have to put up with him. He’s not welcome.”
You know too, they will never say that. Not one of them will say that. They’ll tell you I’m always welcome there. Always was, and always will be.
The thing with Autism is, I don’t do social behavior. So social frameworks, social rules, they don’t exist. What does exist is what I can see. What I can observe. Words spoken. Tones of voice. The lines around another person’s eyes. The way they cross their arms. They way they avoid me. Little details that deviate from what I’ve learned over 61 years of observation and analysis, is normal behavior.
I have a dear friend. Don’t think I ever talked with you about her. Her name’s DS George-Jones. Dad, she’s amazing. Brilliant. One of the most real people I’ve ever known.
How we met? On Facebook. What broke the ice was a set of pictures she posted on her Facebook, where she went to meet one of her favorite writers, and stood in line, and waited until it was her turn to meet them.
No one said anything about those pictures, Dad. Except how beautiful she looked, and how happy her smile was.
I was totally different. I was me. I looked at those pictures, and my heart screamed at me in agony. I could see it in her eyes. She was in a ridiculous amount of pain. It was right there, Dad. Anyone with a heart could have seen it.
That’s how I met her. I was the only one that saw that in those pictures. She has a chronic illness, Dad. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). It’s a neurological disease. Best anyone understands it right now, the body’s cells go into a survival mode, as if the body is under attack, and at risk of death. It wipes out the energy storage in the human body. The cells stop storing energy, and stop making much new energy.
She lives in agony, every day, Dad.
And I put up, every day, with people telling me it’s all fake. That ME doesn’t exist. That she’s faking it, and needs to get up off her lazy ass, and get back to life.
Makes me want to club a ton of people over the head with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. People are literally that stupid.
I’ve got a lot of friends now that are disabled. And they are real friends. I try to help them as best I can. I send DS at least a Christmas Present every year. OK. So it’s an Amazon gift card. She lives in Georgia, so I don’t get to visit, you know.
There’s also Farrah. Farrah has all kinds of problems. Among them EDS. Dad. She’s 32, and she uses a wheelchair. More and more each month. Her days of walking are fast reaching their end. And with EDS, it’s only a matter of time until her life reaches its end.
She doesn’t know. I haven’t said it. But I’d give her, and DS both 10 years of what I have left. I’ve had my time here, Dad. They have so much left in life they won’t ever get to see.
And it turns my blood to fire when I hear Christians and Churches declaring they’re faking it. Because I can see they are wounded. It’s right there, in broad daylight, in the pictures of them. I’ve actually met DS, and her husband, Mike. We had dinner at a restaurant in the Atlanta area in 2017, when Pat and I went to Dragon*Con.
Dad. I sat cross the table from her, and I noticed every tremor. Every hidden wince. I saw the hurt she was going through just for us to meet in person.
Anyone ever hurts her, I’ll want to run over them with a truck, you know.
You remember Danielle? I think I told you about her. She was transgender. Dad. That’s part of why I lost my freaking mind at Dam Neck. I’m convinced of that. Not because of her. Danielle never hurt me, never upset me. She was a great friend.
It was the bone headed people at Dam Neck. “I’ll never set foot in that restroom again!” Oh, the things they said about Danielle when she wasn’t around to hear.
Yeah. I didn’t visit in the last 4+ years. I hope this helps explain why. It wasn’t you. It was so many other things in life. So many other people.
I wrote a tiny flash fiction story, years ago. About a lady ghost who visited her still living husband, and watched over him every night. That was Mom, you know. It was. Visiting you, every night. Watching over you. It’s what my heart told me was real.
Just like now, how my heart tells me you are Mom are together, and healthy, and happy, beyond the veil of life. Along with all your brothers and sisters.
Hope you enjoy the life you have where you are now.
Don’t worry, you know. Sooner or later, my time will run out, and I’ll get to visit you there.