You’ve done a truly shitty thing.  Karma will be as much of a bitch to you as you have been to another.  I was not asked to do this, and I imagine that if I said I was going to do this before I did it, I’d be asked not to, because she’s a truly nice person.  I usually am, myself.  Right now, in this particular instant…I’m not.  I’m not a nice person right now, and I do not care about your feelings.  In fact, in my dark place, I’m hoping this hurts.

You fucked with one of my best friend’s heads with your bullshit.  You consciously, knowingly, willingly did it.  And if you didn’t, then just know all your actions after the fact are pointing to the idea that you did.  This makes you a horrible person, and I hope some day, you know, in a very personal manner, the pain you’ve caused.  The kinds of emotional wounds you’ve inflicted take a long time to heal.

Somehow, I doubt this will bother you…I don’t think you’re a decent enough person for it to.  If you are, you will surprise me and at least contact her and come clean with her and apologize.  I don’t believe you will, but I’m enough of an optimist to hope that you might prove me wrong.

If not…well, like I said.  Karma’s a bitch.  And you will know this pain, someday…three-fold.


–Jeremy Thomas


I don’t remember how exactly I said said hello to you, in retrospect I think the girl I was wandering with might have said hello first. She was good at hello. I do remember that you were shaking, and that your response to ‘are you all right‘ was ‘I don’t know, I just jumped off my balcony, but it wasn’t high enough.’ And the girl I was with (we shall call her Krystal) laughed that edgy laugh and was already making plans for her retreat. She took a step back as I took a step closer, and before we had said more than three or four awkward sentences she’d expanded her plan to include me and off we went down the shadowy boardwalk, me trying to figure out how to go back and Krystal trying to explain to me you were probably a serial killer with her hand around my arm. ‘What kind of person,’ she asked me, ‘tells you they just jumped off a balcony?

Her indifference and my inability to make my tongue move like I wanted led to my being dragged away from a few things I should have stayed for. Cute but damaged seemed to be the point at which she cut and ran. Cute but clearly a serial killer. Cute but you might have a concussion, not worth my time. Cute but I might have to do something to help you or admit I just don’t care. You were probably more interested in me than she was, and you didn’t even know me.

I didn’t like the way he was looking at you.‘ Oh, that at least, she would have meant, but not as I understood it then as a precaution. ‘I don’t like that he wasn’t looking at me.‘ You had been looking at me like no one else ever had, and I didn’t understand then what it was like to have someone walk out of the dark and tell you that you mattered to them. It didn’t occur to me then that the person you look at when two people appear while you’re trying to decide what to do isn’t the person who says ‘Suicide isn’t the answer, it’s a cheap way out. It’s not worth it.‘ but the person who says ‘why?‘ That when someone comes along in those shuddering infinite moments and offers to save you, or at least care about you, you don’t actually question their motives – you breathe them in like oxygen. You let them be the part of the world you can believe in. You ask them why later.

I should have stayed. You tried to ask me to, but I was already being physically propelled away but someone with far more immediate force of will than I had. I’ve learned to stay now. I would stay now. I would look into Krystal’s empty but pretty viper eyes and tell her that shallow people can’t afford to be so judgmental – that no one can, really, but most certainly she can’t.

I went back. I made her understand it was what I was going to do with or without her, but I never found you again. She followed me about, and tried over and over to get me to go back to the hotel. To spend some time with my fiancee. To remind me that we had a hot tub and a video camera. I think of everyone I saw that night you were the only one who might have understood me, and I don’t know for sure that you were alive in the morning.

I still want to know what happened to you. More than I think about anyone else on that trip I think about your eyes, the rock wall behind you, the taste of the air, and the way you seemed to have to struggle to breathe.

The more I write this letter, the more I realize I have no idea what I am trying to say. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know that humanity isn’t something most humans do.‘ ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know how to believe in anything.‘ ‘I’m sorry, but I want you to know it would be different now.‘ None of it is enough and none of it seems right.

The kind of person that jumps off of balconies is the kind of person that is comprehensible by the kind of person that knows the sight of blood seeping between a series of slashes over their wrist is calming. That just enough blood isn’t dangerous, it’s a survival technique. That past a certain point most people don’t want honesty, they want to hear ‘I don’t know what I was thinking, but it’s okay now, let’s go get a movie‘ and never ‘it was a tactical decision. I added my failures to how much it hurt to breathe to your inability to understand and what came after the equal sign was death before another night alone. I weighed my options, and life lost.‘ The kind of person that stands trembling beside the sea in the dark is the kind of people like me. The kind of person that stays on this side of the waves if someone looks into their eyes and wants them to live. I should have done that for you.

You know…I always wanted to tell you what I thought of you. I always wanted to express all these thoughts to you…I just never had the proper words.

That’s not true, actually. I had them…they’re just not words I could say in public. They just aren’t words I feel comfortable saying. They’re not words anyone should ever feel comfortable saying. They’re hateful and angry, malicious and killing. These words are not for polite conversation…but then, polite conversation just wasn’t you, was it?


For the longest time, I planned what would happen when we would run into each other on the street. Portland isn’t that big a city, especially downtown. It wouldn’t be long before we bumped into each other, and I’d see you there, all black hair, Gothic clothes, happy smiles with crimson lips, and snide comments said under a veneer of caring. I would spurn your lies with a snort and a roll of the eyes, and I’d cut you off before you got any further with them. And maybe, just maybe, I’d get you to shut up, stop prattling on about yourself and how you should be loved by all, and consider that other human beings have a right to live in this world without the pain you give them.


Everything you did was a manipulation, after all. Every little word you said, though I believed it at the time, was self-serving. If it didn’t help you, then it didn’t come out. “I still have your things, they’re just in storage.” Explain how I found my gaming books in the used book store then. “I don’t feel safe, they can’t come back in.” No, you just wanted to fuck them over. After I was done being hurt, I felt sorry for every person stuck in your web of deceit. Each and every person who was lured in, as I was, as my lover was and her lover after me. Maybe you felt you had it coming, all the people who believed you, and some past hurt in your childhood gave you the right to hurt others back. I don’t know, and I stopped caring, in your case, long ago.


Okay, that one’s a bit uncalled for, and it’s not entirely true (to my knowledge). As near as I know, you never actually had sex for money. But then, you were never for saying or doing things that were called for, were you? Fortieth term abortion? What made you think you could make such a vile, sick, uncaring joke about her to me, and I would find it funny? What you accused Kevin of, no one who was sane ever believed, for the record. And I don’t hit women–hell, I don’t hit anyone–but if I ever was going to, I would have slapped the taste out of your mouth for that. And I didn’t even LIKE Kevin. Kind of hard to like the man who replaced you. It doesn’t make what you did remotely right, or you any less deserving of an ass-kicking from the cosmos.


Do you see what you have done? You’ve driven me to words I can’t even TYPE. Words so foul and vile that they draw me inward, shivering at my own vehemence. This is what you did to me. This is who you are. You destroyed my innocence and wiped your dirty, grubby dancer’s feet on my spirit. Gods damn you.

These, Alicia–Pauly, call you whatever you’d like to be called–are the words I could not say. These are the words that I wanted to say when our paths would cross. I wish I had had the courage and the backbone to say them when I could. Even now, years later, after recovering from the aftermath of you, after I’ve found a roof to live under that cars don’t drive over and after I’ve found my own happiness, these words have lost none of their potency–only their utility. Because I can’t say them anymore to you. Instead, they fester inside me like an infection just under the skin, poisoning.

So consider this my antibiotic. My ending, always envisioned word for word, may not be poetic. But it is naked and honest in its sincerity:

Fuck off and die. And hope I never follow you to whatever Hell you’re going to, or demons will be the least of your worries.

I’m done.


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Hello love,

We sure did go through a lot in our 13 months together. The courting stage, spending every moment together. You driving 30 minutes across town to spend a few hours with me, only to drive home and get a few hours sleep before you had to work. The unsure feeling if we should be together if I ever planned to go back home.

Meeting your daughter for the first time before she had her Bronchoscopy, finding the bleeding in her lungs. Moving and driving three days across country, only to find out she needed a heart transplant. Turning around and making the whole trip over again, back to the place we were fleeing from in the first place. Waiting for the pager to go off. It going off two weeks after her fifth birthday, and me having to calm you down, letting you know everything was going to be alright.

Her father leaving her, when she needed him the most. I tried hard to fill the void of her absentee father. Though, doing a pretty poor job of it, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can still remember very vividly sitting next to her in the hospital, stroking her hair and holding her hand. Not wanting to leave you alone there at night, but having to work to get us a place to live. Driving straight back after work to sleep with you on the small pull out bed, waking up every hour when the nurse came in.

Moving in to our small apartment and trying to make it our home. Walking home from work and looking to see if your car was here, so I would know if a beautiful smile and a warm hug were waiting for me. I still do that to this day. I am forced to walk past the place where we had our first date. I look in the window and imagine seeing you there, sipping your Chai latte. To shy to even look at me. I wish I could start all over again. I would certainly jump up and down when you arrived.

I think about the child we never had. I wonder what it would have been, a boy or a girl. What would we have named it. I also, remember the hurt I felt when you said “this is why I would never have your baby”. I never told you that I would have kept it if you wanted to. I knew that we were in no place to have a child. Not with one needing a heart transplant, us unsure where we would live. You not being able to work, so you could take care of her. You had to focus on that. I don’t blame you for not having the baby.

The fights we had were the worst. I loved (still love) you so much. Seeing you angry at me, knowing that it was me who caused it. It seemed that at times when you needed me to be there for you, I would fuck up most. I’m angry at myself for failing to change. I knew you needed me to, I knew if I could it would make things better. I don’t know why I didn’t. I do know that if I had a chance now that I would do anything to make it better. No sacrifice would be too much. If I could just feel you in my arms again. Stroke your hair, and pull out the hair pins while you fall asleep. Its trite to say, but you make me want to be a better man.

Through all the bad things we faced we certainly did have some wonderful times though. We made the best of every moment. The drive across country, getting thrown out of your “friend’s” basement to have the best night in a shitty hotel room complete with blood on the wall. Seeing your daughter take her first steps after her transplant to go to the play room.  In every bad situation there was always a shimmer of light just being with you.
When we broke up, I said it was because I saw what I was doing to you. The pain I was causing you and I wanted it to stop, because I loved you enough to do that. I can see now that I love you enough to do anything to stop that pain. Instead of letting you go I wish I could have stopped doing what I was doing so we could be together. Find the peace and serenity in our relationship. You holding me, is all I would need. I would be completely and totally honest with you. The only reason I withheld anything from my past is because I feared that you wouldn’t love me. I failed to realize that not being honest kept you from loving me fully.

Most of all, I’m really sorry about what I said when I called you after our relationship had ended. I called you that night having a panic attack because I knew that you were hanging out with another guy. Even though you maintained throughout our relationship that you never wanted to date him, I feared that you were just saying that. When you “ended” your friendship with him due to my uneasy feelings, I believed you didn’t like him that way. You were just very quick to be friends with him again after I said that I believed you and it must really mean you didn’t want him. I called crying, pouring my heart out to you, and when you wouldn’t be honest with me as to where you were, I felt betrayed. I know you were drunk and couldn’t come see me right then. It was your seemingly uncaring and lying about where you were that made think you were “with” him. So, after three hours waiting for you to show up, leaving the door unlocked while I slept. I awoke four hours later and felt like you cheated on me. I said horrible things, I wish, but know I can never take back.

You said that if it was truly about me loving you I would never be able to say those things to you. Well, it was LOVING you and feeling betrayed, feeling like you chose him over me after I poured my heart out for you, begging you to come back to me. That I said those things. Now all I hope to do is let you know that I really did love you, I still love you, and will always love you. Even if it means we can never be together.

Love, as always.



I wonder now how often you think of us. If the bruises have faded enough that touching the memory of our time together brings you something sweeter than the end – something like the applause you got in a restaurant at two am when you proposed a toast to me to the entire dining room on what may, or may not have been our six month anniversary. I am two sentences into this letter, and already in tears. For years, people have known of you only by vague reference. My first fiancee (now the first of two failed engagements), or by quick anecdotes, referenced and put away before they can ask me: do you still love him?


I crushed your every hope of our life together – the life where your mother made my wedding dress and you invited the people from your company that I would see later on dinner cruises, perched on your arm like a hawk. Bird of prey, hooded, with leather wrapped round my ankles, trained to return to your call. I was not ready to be put on display – and not in the way you may have thought. In a world where so much of your first impression was me on your arm, me hosting dinner parties for your co-workers, me as your wife…I knew I would fail and fall short.

You thought it would be so simple as a quick act, put on these clothes, speak this way, just until they’re gone. Put forth the image the cage door is locked and step outside when no one is looking. Pretend that your wildness is the kind that can be hooded and put to hunt…let show them how watching you catch rabbits is a gentleman’s game. But that wasn’t the kind of wildness that sunk its teeth into me and curled around my heart.

Robbed of stripes, I would still be a tiger. Without the bold orange markings I could look sophisticated, domesticated in basic black – black velvet cocktail dress, black strappy high heels that I could push into the edge of elegant, manicured nails on hands trained to mix a perfect martini. I would have to put them on to hide the claws, put on a mask to hide the eyes, and put on a show of compliance.

Until they found out. Until they saw me prowl through the embittered short-cropped lawn of the corporate office with trees forced into alien shapes too stubby to provide cover. Until the congregation of your church found out I sank to my knees before an altar not dedicated to their god and offered my blood up with incense and prayers. And your mother…no amount of camouflage could cover my pale skin, no matter how long I spent lying in the sun, no one would ever mistake me for a child of Africa. And that, as she made clear, was a thing irreconcilable with what she wanted for you. Your grandmother asked me once if I had refused to have sex yet with you because you were black. Here I am, trying to summon up the courage to lose my virginity after a sexually abusive relationship and there was your family throwing that into it.

To say nothing of how I held my tongue while your mother criticized my family. The harsh judgement she waited for, the jokes, the hatred, the resentment…if she could accept other people for who they were and not the color of their skin, maybe she could have understood that other people in the world have been past it for years, children raised never taught to judge her like she judged them. It made for a tense conversation to say the least, about what kind of bridal lace I liked most my wondering if she would ever think of me as family while she wondered when I would betray you.

It wasn’t your mother. Oh, I hated watching her watch me, and I hated knowing what she thought of me, but you were worth the awkward family dinners. It was everything together, all of the thousand expectations of perfection. It was knowing that I couldn’t pretend forever without a slip somewhere – betraying that the wild had crept into me with the water of the creek I played in as a child; that with tolerance came the mother who told me stories about protests and civil disobedience and taught me to speak for what I believed in, loudly and without shame; that with compassion came the need to protect whatever I could of the world; that the molten gold in my eyes could not be untangled from poetry that could not be read at board meetings.

I would have ruined you. And somewhere you knew that. You didn’t care. You fell in love with a tiger for a reason. You were drawn to the wildness, the poems, the way I saw the world – and you thought nothing was worth giving that up. You would have watched the castle crumble around us and then your soul snag and unravel against the sharp edges on my teeth and claws, and you would have still meant it when you told me that our love was worth anything.

I left you you because I was not worth your soul, because love should not devour dreams, because our love should protect us both. I let it protect you when I told you it was over. I lied when I told you I didn’t love you. I died when you condemned me for it. I left you because I loved you more than I loved myself, because I cherished your dreams with the same violent ferocity I cherished my own. I left because there was no right answer to the question of which of us had to break to fit.  I left because no matter who gave, the jagged edges left behind would shred the other. I left because love is absolute even when the sacrifices it demands are brutal. I left because it was the one thing you couldn’t do. I left you because you reminded me I was a tiger, and tigers are strong enough to do anything.


I will begin this letter by saying I will always be grateful that faced with me on your lap, threatening to do all manner of delicious things to you while my boyfriend (and your ex-boyfriend) pounded on the door, you chose to tell me that you would like that. For someone as painfully self conscious as you were to come out at all, much less under those circumstances, isn’t an easy thing at all.

And I want to thank you for being one of my only lovers to take me on dates. Walking through old historic towns, park swings, homemade ice cream cones dripping in the summer heat. Most made the assumption that because I could kiss strangers I didn’t appreciate love, that because I refused to have another monogamous relationship I wanted meaningless sex. You never made a single incorrect assumption, save perhaps one. And that wasn’t your fault, if I led you to make it, I am sorry for that.

We didn’t have much time together, only a few months before I moved away, and I’m sorry for that too. I’m sorry for the year that you waited, with dates you cut short to come home and call me. “I couldn’t do it,” you told me, over a continent and an ocean. “He wasn’t you. I want you.” And so I came back for you, but I came back scarred in ways I hadn’t been when I left. I came back unwilling to touch, to cuddle, to kiss – and you had finally worked up the courage to risk those things. When you reached out to me and I flinched away…I’m sorry for that too. It was never because I didn’t love you. It wasn’t because I didn’t think you were beautiful. You with your gorgeous eyes and your sharp fox nose. I always thought your nose was the cutest thing, and I have never lusted after anyone else for their nose. So you weighed twice what I did – I was anorexic! It’s hardly a fair comparison. You were beautiful then, and you are now. Especially when you smile.

I’m sorry for the two years that we struggled to reconnect – I should have stayed the first time. I shouldn’t have let shock and grief steal me away from you. I should have fought to stay, should have tried. I should have run away with you to get married. I should have left him sooner, because I never loved him like I loved you, I just knew that he wanted to possess me, to have me, to keep me, and I thought that I would be safe with someone who wanted all me. You did, but I didn’t see it. He didn’t, and I didn’t understand until I was too broken to fight with him. But you left him. You were strong enough for that. You left when he first stung you, but you always said I was the brave one. I wasn’t.

When you did end it, in the safe distance of an IM, I wasn’t angry. I’d already told people we weren’t dating anymore after the second month you returned not a call, not an e-mail, not a text message, not an attempt to reach you over IM. I wish you’d been able to do it sooner, but I know why you didn’t. “Don’t be sorry, you loved me when no one else did, and I’m never sorry for anything I’ve done in the past because it’s helped put me here, and I’m very very happy with where I’m at now.” You wrote that when I apologized to you just after you said it was over, and had been. Earlier, you told me I had taught you how to love again.

Congratulations, again, on your wedding. The pictures were fantastic. You were happy. Glowing. Radiant. It’s what I had always wanted for you. I had just always hoped it would be with me.

And there are the words I never told you. I never let you know just how much it hurt to lose you. I glossed over it, brushed it off as done, told you you were a beautiful bride. I never snapped at you. Never tried to make you consider that once I had waited and coaxed and trusted, until you felt beautiful and loved – and that when I came back damaged you were too busy to even try to reach out for me.

It isn’t what matters anyway. It isn’t the part of it I ever wanted you to hear. Not about the way I looked forward to the dates you couldn’t make, the flowers that wilted for you on my kitchen table in fragrant reminder you had cancelled again for weeks. Nor about the fact that you were the most important person in my life and my friends knew that, but you hadn’t mentioned my existence to yours.

I never pushed you when I came back. I just laid back, closed my eyes, waited for the rain and knew that love was forever. It was enduring. It was the only real thing in the world. I was willing to wait, if you were busy. I was willing to smile when you hurt me. I think it was my unquestioned faith in your love that let you think that I didn’t still love you. It would be the only time you ever read me wrong. And as I said in the beginning, I’m sorry for that too.

All of my love,



A Letter Out of Time

Dear Friend Who Would Have Been More,

I can’t believe this should come as surprise. It should have never been a surprise. It’s not like it wasn’t obvious…painfully so. But then, perhaps the pain was just mine. That’s how these things go, I’m told…unrequited, unreturned, unreciprocated, unacknowledged. Unloved. So many uns, for a thing that should be anything but. If it’s true that ignorance is bliss, then this is the proof that the reverse is true, and knowledge is agony.

Songs lie on the ground, dedications that fell flat. They are the soldiers that died in a fruitless war, my own private Alamo. I am/was William Barret Travis, standing on the walls and watching Santa Anna and an army 5,000 strong–the forces of reality bearing down upon me. There is no inspirational story here; this is not 300 (which is not exactly a happy ending in and of itself). In the end, everything dies, and there is no greater meaning to it all. It was simply a waste.

Sometimes, I still believe that. It’s in my darker days that I think it didn’t matter. There are times that I think back upon you, from here in the not-so-distant-as-I-would-wish future, and wonder why I kept trying. The point to it all…was there one? Everything I did, everything I tried fell upon deaf ears; selective hearing is a bitch to the person trying to communicate. When you asked, “Do you love me?” and I answered “Of course,” what did you think I meant? As a friend? Yes, yes, with an impossibly strong conviction, YES. But as more, too. I wanted the moments that I saw you share with others, little moments of That you could not or would not see it would be bad; would be agonizing. But that you did see it and pretended not to…that you just let it slide and never addressed it? There are times I still don’t forgive you for leaving me twisting in the wind like that.

More often, though, I understand that, at it’s core, it doesn’t matter whether you returned it or not. Loving someone, in all of its forms, is not about how someone makes you feel. Quite the opposite. Love is how you feel about someone else, and how you want their happiness above yours. As long as you were happy, then that harsh mistress was doing its job, and even when it hurt, I was happy. Love is a masochistic feeling at times, and no one who’s ever felt it can honestly say otherwise. But it’s not always, and the times it’s not will always make the times it is worth enduring.

Another song comes up, as I write this. It’s one returned from the dead…zombie soliders, back to fight again. Remember Sarah McLachlan?

“So don’t tell me why he’s never been good to you
Don’t tell me why he’s never been there for you
Don’t you know that why is simply not good enough
So just let me try and I will be good to you
Just let me try and I will be there for you
I’ll show you why you’re so much more than good enough…”

It’s funny how often that one comes back to life. Persistant little fucker.

I’m rambling now. And, even in a letter such as this, I find myself not wanting to. Rambling is a fault, and to you, I want no faults, even ones I know you’ll never know of. I used to think that if I was perfect enough, and if I was there for you always, you would come around and see the trees for the forest. You didn’t, or at least never acknowledged that you did. And what’s important, when the pain of that is eroded and washed away like so much sediment into the sea, is that I was there for you. And I know that, somehow, I knew this was all it would ever be. And I’m okay with that now. I won’t be next time I think of you…but the time after I will. That’s how these things go, I’m told.

I love you. In whatever way that you need. The ways that you don’t need, decide what you want. The ways that you don’t want, don’t see. That’ll be good enough for me. Most of the time.

Until we meet again (if we do),