So, I reached out to my former supervisor, and he said he’d be glad to give me a recommendation for the CASA program. I wound up writing him this gushy email:
Dear [first name],
Hi, how’re you? I don’t like to dwell on the past, but I wanted to tell you that I’ve always been grateful that you were my supervisor when I worked at KidsPeace. I’ve always felt as if you and I were trapped in some sort of hellish den of iniquity, or something; and I thank God every day that I wasn’t alone in it. I can’t remember if I’ve ever written you any angry letters over the years, but I was angry and psycho for a long time, and whatever I might’ve said, I didn’t mean it. Not at all. I truly appreciate you, and I’m so grateful that I knew you then.
I shouldn’t have been so eager to work at a place where they were hiring anyone off the street to work third shift. That was stupid of me. I think the worst of it was when Gail Lackey put Alka-Seltzer (or something like that) in a Coke Zero, which she gave me as a fake peace offering. I wish I’d known then, when I was doubled over on a unit sofa, clutching my stomach, and you got mad at me for being sick and not telling you, and Gail was in the background, laughing. I wish I’d known what she’d done. I would’ve called the cops on her and had them analyze the drink. I didn’t realize it until years later when I drank another Coke Zero and then had no bad reaction whatsoever to its artificial sweetener. That was when it clicked, what she had done. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a bad person, but I wouldn’t spit on her grave, and I hope she’s dead. Good riddance. (You’re under no obligation to tell me if she’s dead. I’m just being expressive.)
I guess you could say I’ve been on a spiritual journey since I left. There have been multiple psych meds and diagnoses and oddly happy moments. My life is great now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m just so grateful that you were there. You’re a good person like I am. No one else we were with was good. Just you and me. I can see now, looking back, that you always had my back. I guess you knew how stupidly vulnerable I was, and you wanted to protect me, and I appreciate that more than you can ever know.
It’s sort of hard to go back there in my mind. So whenever it crosses my mind, I focus on the fact that you were there and I wasn’t alone. And, while I’m being all open and gushy like this, THANK YOU SO FREAKIN’ MUCH for telling off Teresa on my behalf. She totally deserved it. That’s my favorite memory of interacting with those lowlife cretins. If you recall, she was gossipping about you (all made up stuff), and I was about to track her down and confront her; but you ran into me and sent me back to the unit. What you don’t know is that, about an hour later, Teresa called Gail on the unit phone sobbing her eyes out. I acted invested in the paperwork while Gail spent a long time trying to console Teresa. It was the first time in my life where I ever had the thrill of revenge, and I hate to say it, but it felt good. Teresa never messed with me after that; instead, she just kept eyeing me warily, but it wasn’t long before I moved back to Louisville.
It’s ancient history, but I just want you to understand how much I appreciate you. You were like a guardian angel, or something. In my opinion, and I’m very spiritual about these things, you have good karma where I’m concerned. Very good karma. And in general, I’d guess. I seek out goodness in people, and I’ve always seen goodness in you, and I hope that makes you feel great about who you are. You are truly good. You’re not perfect, but no one is.
Sorry to go on and on. You don’t have to reply to this, because I’m not sure there’s a way to reply. (Although if you want to reply, feel free! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just don’t feel obligated.) Just stuff I wanted to tell you.
Anyway, I’m not going back to work anytime soon, if ever. I finally quit trying to function at work after I had to literally talk myself off a ledge one night in around 2007. Like I said, the CASA gig I hope to get now is just volunteer. I’d be working with one or two kids at a time, advocating for them until they’re placed in forever adoptive homes. Going to family court dates, talking to everyone in their lives, making recommendations, etc. Honestly, the concept of it scares the shit out of me. I haven’t even filled out the application yet, but I hope to soon.
I hope you have a great week!! 🙂
Well, it hurt to write that email. It’s been fifteen years, but it still hurts to think about it. There aren’t words for what it was like at that job; the best way to describe it would be to say that our nightly lives were like a soap opera, and not in a good way. There was constant gossip, constant back-stabbing, constant trash-talking, constant laughing behind people’s backs, and constant mockery. Everyone knew I was crazy in love with my supervisor, and it was used to make fun of me at every turn. But so was everything else I ever said. There was a plot to get me to change my landline phone provider. It involved Teresa telling me how much money I could save, and then Teresa laughing about me off the unit when I complained about the headache of changing providers. Yep, they were that bad.
But when my supervisor and I would work on a unit together, just the two of us, we’d open up to each other. He’d let his guard down. There was a feeling of cozy intimacy that I miss more than words can say. I loved him. I still do love him, but he’s happily married now, so I tried to keep the above letter proper and above-board. (Meg never gets the guy. This is fact.) I think I’ll always love him, and that’s okay. It’s rare to meet too many special people on this weird journey known as life. He was always looking out for me, and he had to bend over backward to keep it from being obvious just how protective he was.
It wasn’t until years after I’d moved home to Louisville that I looked back and realized it, realized how much he cared. And I was shocked. Apparently, in the melee of dealing with massive mental illnesses of a psychotic nature, I just forgot about him.
I’m not hoping for any particular response from him except for him to feel good about who he is. That’s all I hope for. In reality, he’ll probably read the letter and think I’m just really weird. Maybe I am. I’ve been a victim of my mom’s energetic vampirism today, so maybe the letter should’ve waited until tomorrow. I’m too heedless and impulsive. But sometimes, even after a lifetime has passed, some things need to be said. And that’s what that letter was: just stuff that needed to be said.