Content warning: language, suicide or physical abuse, alcohol abuse
“Dear Future Me,
I’m envious that you’re not here. My demons never cease to suck the life essence out of me. Each day would have been a real struggle, believe me. It’s not easy mentally to go on with such a mediocre life.
Do you remember when we wanted to be a doctor? To help people, tend to them and afterwards return to our beach house? I hope you didn’t count on me with that because we still have a boring old desk-job. I’ve always kidded myself ‘Oh it’s a calm life, it’s not a stressful job, the nine to five schedule suits me’ and other bullshit like that. But I don’t need to tell you all of this. You already know.
Michele, do you remember her? Our college sweetheart? Our wife? The one that didn’t fail to remind us every week that I’m just a lazy drunk? She would always nag us when we would stay at the bar until the crack of dawn, spending what she called ‘the child’s college fund’.
Children...ha! As if I want to bring another one like me into this world. Even though a boy to carry on the family name would have been nice. But we’re not the Father type, are we? Hell, we couldn’t even take care of a lousy fish. When Michelle had to travel for work, it starved. The poor bastard. Boy, how she chewed us out. Do you remember?”
As I write this, I turned my head towards where the aquarium used to be. The little fish enjoyed a lot of natural light. Now, a bigass ficus resides under the window. When Michele travels for work, she calls to check up on the plant and not me.
I gaze out the window at the full moon who watches me from between the tips of the grey buildings. Outside, only some dogs’ barking disturbed the serenity of the night.
I returned to my letter.
”You may ask yourself why am I writing? I’m writing to tell you I’m sorry.
I don’t want to retroactively make you responsabile with platitudes like ‘I hope you are rich and have a cabin in the woods’ or ‘I hope you worked out and ate healthy’. We both know how much we like beer and football (watching, not playing, ha, ha).
I want to apologise because I couldn’t do more. I sunk myself in my comfort zone. I would always tell myself that ‘tomorrow I’ll do this’ or ‘starting Monday I’ll quit drinking’. Bullshit.
I saw on the internet famous people living life to the fullest: flying with their private jets, pictures from private islands, fit men surrounded by beautiful models and so on. I saw all of this and I was getting down and depressed.
‘I will never be as successful as these people,’ I told myself. ‘I’m a useless jackass’.
Even friends from college would post photos from the Maldives and I cannot even afford a trip to Eforie*. And I would sink myself back into the comfort zone, forget about my dreams and watch a lousy football game.
I am truly and deeply sorry. Maybe everything started when Mom died when we were young. But not even as an adult I couldn’t do anything to halt this unstoppable force that is bad decision making in my life.
I have to leave now. I still have another letter to write.
Please forgive me. Yours,
“Get out of here, you goddamn cat! Stop bothering me. I’ll never understand why my wife wanted a shedding fur ball. Go bother her for food.”
I pushed it away with my foot and the cat ran into the kitchen, showing me her ass hole in the process. I stretched the fingers of my writing hand and I pulled out another sheet of paper.
“Dear Past Me,
There are not enough words to express my hatred towards you.
Thanks to you, I’ve reached a point in my life where taking a shit in silence is the highlight of my day. Either my wife or my boss scream at me.
Maybe you are wondering, you snot-nosed brat, what am I blaming you for, why am I being so aggressive?
Do you remember when we told the biology teacher that we wanted to go to medical school? You were dumb enough to get discouraged by her mocks and laughs and now you sit all day on your ass doing paperwork. How come you were such a pushover?
Don’t give me that excuse that Mom died. Yeah, so? Other kids succeed in life as orphans. You don’t need to remind me about that asshole, Dad. Right now I am scratching the scar he left me on my head with that beer bottle.”
I stopped for a second because my teeth were hurting. The nib of my ballpoint pen bent a little as I wrote the last paragraph. I realised that I’ve been frowning for the past several minutes. I took a sip straight out of the whiskey bottle and continued writing.
“Yes, we grew up without a mother and with an abusive father, but it does not excuse you for pick-pocketing old women so you can buy alcohol.
I would have thought that one year in the juvy would straighten you out, but I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
What would have been if instead of the bar, once in a while you would have run away to the library? Dad didn’t care one bit where you were, anyway. Even that sweet librarian, God rest her soul, tried to pull you back from this slippery slope to self-destruction. But you were too dumb to listen to her, even when she pulled you out of the gutters because you passed out drunk and puked all over.
Let’s talk about college. Remind me: did you see the inside of a classroom more than five times? You have been given another opportunity to do something with your life, but what did you think istead? ‘Hey, I still have a healthy liver. Better fuck it up’.
I understand that those are the best years, that you wanted to have fun, make friends, but what the fuck did you do for your future self? How did you help me, you asshole? Because of you, I know the park benches better than the museums or libraries.”
I was reading this in my head in a screaming voice. It resembled that of my Dad when he would come home and food was not on the table.
“You were so lucky to find Michelle. She was your guardian angel, the one that took the bottle away from you and gave you a book. She helped you go through college and how did you thank her? The same way Dad thank Mom. You were a shitty husband, a violent lowlife. Just thinking about this brings out all the demos inside me, demons that you, dear Me, shoved them, deep inside.
At the end I wanted to say that I despise you. I blame you for the failure that is my life and the future that I’ve never had because of your bad decisions. Everything around you turns to dust. Congrats! You have become Dad.
Go to hell,
I put the two letters each in its own envelope and write the recipient “Future Me” and “Past Me”. I put them in front of two photographs of myself in kindergarten and myself with friends at a barbeque last year. As I’m watching the photos I sighed and said to myself: ‘Was I too harsh with a poor and lonely young boy?’
It didn’t matter anymore.
I went into the kitchen, opened up a big bag of cat food, spread it all on the floor and filled multiple bowls with water. That should make the cat leave me alone for a while.
I go back into the living room and pour myself a glass of whiskey. My heart wanted to jump out of my chest as I took out Michelle’s phone and read the Whatsapp conversation for the seventh time.
Paul: Are you coming this Friday? I bought some of that red wine you like.
Michelle: Yes. I’ll be there at 8. I told my husband I have to travel with work, so I’ll stay the whole weekend. Kisses
A salty tear dropped from my eye and stopped into my messy, curly beard. I downed the glass and tip-toed my way to the bedroom. A rhythmic snore could be heard from behind the closed door. I went in, opened my wardrobe and from an old showbox I took out a pistol. It’s amazing and frightening how easily you can buy one from the internet.
As if being in a lucid dream, I point the gun to Michelle’s head and shoot. The deafening noise startled me. A high pitched sound rings in my ears. A pungent smell engulfs me and as if nothing happened, I opened the window. The white bedsheets are now ruby-red.
I leave the room where lies the body of the only person, besides Mom, that ever cared about me. I step inside the living room and gaze at the letter to Future Me.
I raise the gun and put it in my mouth. I chipped my tooth because of my trembling hand. The pain is almost poetic. With rivers of tears flowing from my eyes, I whisper my final words:
“Please forgive me”
*Eforie is a popular and affordable seaside resort in Romania