Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Newt to Norman - 10

Newt's Reply to Norman's Letter

Hi Norm!

It's your not quite normal yet friend. I was so glad to hear the new contractors worked out and things are going well. I knew if anyone could do it, you would. Congratulations are definitely in order. That should make your life so much easier, more normal and drama free. Just like you like it. Maybe someday my life will be like that too.

Ari sounds like a really good kid and the two of you have forged a strong bond. I can't even think ahead to children. It's like I had my shot and blew it. But maybe not. Norm, I found Kaitlin. And that means I found my kids. But let me start from the beginning.

I got up the courage to tell Janet everything. I started with ‘I'm married’. She took a minute to let it sink in. “Of course you are," she said bitterly, "all the good ones are always taken." Then she got up to leave. It killed me to see the disappointment in her face. I'm really glad we hadn't taken our relationship further. She would have hated me and I couldn't bear it.

I put my hand on her arm asked her to stay and hear me out. I gave her my best sad puppy dog eyes and she sat back down. I was so relieved.

I asked her to wait until I was finished to say anything. I told her that my wife had taken my kids and left 2 years ago. She looked appalled, but then I dropped bomb and Janet started to cry. It ripped my heart out. I explained I had been in therapy for the last 18 months and part of my therapy was that I had to tell anyone I wanted to have an intimate relationship with what I had done.

I told her I wanted to continue to see her and see where it went. I was developing feelings for her and I couldn't move forward until she knew the truth. Then I asked her to come to a therapy session with me.

She didn't stay. She said she had to think about what she was getting involved in. I had to watch her walk away not knowing if she would ever want anything to do with me again.

Two days later she texted and asked me to meet her at the Library. I was so nervous. She greeted me with a hug. That gave me hope.

She had conditions to continuing our relationship. She wanted to take me up on the visit to my therapist and depending on how that went, she would make her decision. My next appointment wasn't for two days and it was the longest two days of my life.

We met there for obvious reasons. My therapist was blunt just like she always is. She told Janet that I had admitted to myself what I had done and that was the first step in my recovery. Telling Janet was a huge step in the right direction. She told her I would need to stay in therapy for the foreseeable future. Then she asked us both several questions.

Finally, she looked at Janet and said, “Should you decide to pursue your relationship with Newt, you will need to learn how to help him stop his destructive behavior before it escalates. You can be a huge factor in helping him become cognizant of his attitudes and relearn how to deal with his partner and even children. Newt is certainly willing and has done a lot of the hard work already to get where he is today. He is ready for that next step but he needs a strong partner that is also willing and then perhaps he can have a happy and healthy long term relationship.”

When we walked out into the waiting room, I felt like garbage. I didn't deserve her so I told Janet that I understood if she wasn't ready to take on my shit. I didn't want to pressure her.  And, yes. I said shit because that's what it is. She smiled at me! 

Then she reached up and put her hand on my cheek and said, “If we are going to continue seeing each other, you must promise me you won't use foul language anymore. And please, file for divorce. Dating a married man just isn't my style.”

I felt like the luckiest man alive. Then my damn phone buzzed and crashed my party. It was a text from my mother. My cousin was arrested and charged with arson. The trial was starting and she wanted me to go with her and Dad to support her sister and Reid. I impulsively asked Janet if she would go with me. We would sleep in separate rooms. No pressure, but we just took the next step and I didn't want to be separated from her. She agreed!

When I got to Twinbrook  my whole life changed. Turns out my wife is living there. She and Reid even dated for a few months. She also has a kid with the guy that they were originally investigating for starting the fire. What the hell? But that isn't even all. Reid is really my half brother. My father and his are one and the same. That's why his mother took him and left town. Seems my mom, her twin sister, found out. I hope you followed all of that because my head was spinning.

It was weird getting reacquainted with Reid after all that. Admittedly, he didn't know Kaitlin was my wife at the time, but still. Weird. He didn't warm up to me at first either. Seems he put two and two together and figured out why she left me. I explained my therapy and we came to terms with each other.

Then I saw Kaitlin at the trial. It was still a shock and my heart skipped a beat. She was there with Leroy Chapman, the guy that was originally being investigated. He is in love with her. It was obvious by the way he looked at her before she saw me. I pretended I didn't see her because I wasn't ready to deal with her, especially with Janet there, but at least I had found her.

This Leroy’s testimony is what sealed Reid's fate. Reid was found guilty. It was awful. His mother came unglued. I was glad Janet was there with me. It was so hard to watch.

Janet has been so supportive through all of this new crap that I dumped on her. I wouldn't have blamed her for running after finding out all of that, but she must be like you Norm, she stuck by me. I have put her through so much and she stuck. You and Janet are my guardian angels.

After the verdict, I decided to stay in Twinbrook. I need to deal with Kaitlin but sent Janet back home. It's time to talk to my wife. I keep wanting to call her my ex-wife. But she isn't yet. I want to negotiate for joint custody of my kids. It's going to be hard. But this is what I have been wanting for 2 years.

I am staying at Reid's place. It's weird now that he's not here. I keep expecting him to walk down the stairs. He has a pretty lucrative night club. He asked me to oversee it while he is incarcerated. It's actually kind of fun. I may offer to buy him out and move here.

Why? Two reasons. First, I would like nothing more than to get out of my old man's business. There is more to that business than I ever knew or wanted to know and you don't want to know either. But if I am going to try have a relationship with my kids and have a life with Janet, neither of them need to be exposed to that. I think you get my drift. Second, well this is where my kids live now and shuttling them back and forth would be hard. If I want to be involved in their lives I need to be where they are.

Maybe once this is over, I will be truly normal like you Norm. That is my goal, to be a ‘Normal Norman’. I have to admit, I am very ready for that. I want to come home, kiss my wife, eat dinner with my family, read bedtime stories to my kids and only have to worry about what kind of cereal to give them.

Not so normal Newt.

P.S. Maybe next time I will be Normal Newt - and we can just be two normal guys living normal uncomplicated lives with families that love us.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kaitlin to Meadow - 10

Meadow's Letter to Kaitlin


Hi friend!  I squealed when I got your letter. I really need a friend right now and to hear some good news. Things were going so well through Christmas for me, but the holiday’s are over and reality snuck back in.

Before I get into my long whiny story, I wanted to say that I love how well things are going for you! Jena is an absolute doll! Every time you write about her, and how far she has come, I know it is because of you. You are such a giving person. Always trying so hard to do what is right and help others. She is fortunate to be able to call you mother. Then there is Jasper and your brother there to support and love her as well. It’s no surprise she is blossoming!

Ira is an inspiration to me. Hearing about her helps me, so I always love it when you tell me how well she is doing. I long to be that self confident some day. I will definitely mention some of the therapies you suggested to Dr. Shea. I am doing much better but it would be great to feel ‘cured’ and not have to worry about triggers.

And then there is you, having a wonderful conversation with someone that you can relate to. Then he writes a lovely poem about you  - and you and you freak out! Haha! Meadow, I thought I was the insecure one in this relationship! Well, let me know if you get to see him again and remember how much you enjoyed his company before he complimented you in writing!

So moving on to me. Let me start with my therapy because it has been about the only bright spot for sure these last couple of months. Dr. Shea has helped me a lot even though some of it is hard. I am able to control my panic attacks much better and stop them from taking over - most of the time.

Leroy even came with me to one of my sessions. He tries so hard to protect me and it makes me crazy. I think if he could, he would wrap me up in bubble wrap and never let me go anywhere without him. But that doesn’t help me get stronger. I need to do things myself.

I am starting to think seeing Dr. Shea may have been a mistake but then again, maybe not. Why? Newt and his family are in town for Reid’s trial. Yep. My husband. Both Leroy and Shea knew and neither one told me - bubble wrap at its finest. Shea and I don’t ‘hang’ out or anything. In fact the only time I see her is during our sessions. I think she was trying really hard to keep personal separated from professional. And I get that. But still - it made me really mad when I found out she knew.

I wasn’t going to Reid’s trial because I had to work but I knew Leroy had been there with Shea. When Leroy got subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution, I wanted to be there for him. He’s always there for me. My personal bubble wrap. So I took off work and went not knowing that I might come face to face with my husband. Because no one told me!

Newt wasn’t there in the morning, so Leroy thought he had gone home. He showed up at a break and surprised us both. When I saw him, well you can guess what happened, I had a full blown episode, right there at the courthouse.

This is where I had to rethink my opinion on having Dr. Shea as a therapist. She was able to quickly take control of the situation and get me out of there. If she hadn’t been there, it would have been a huge scene and Newt would have seen me for sure. Of course I didn’t see it that way at the time. I don’t know if Newt saw me or not. So far I haven’t heard from him.

I didn’t speak to Dr. Shea or Leroy for almost two weeks after that. Meadow, I have never been so mad in my entire life. Mad and angry. But not afraid. It’s so different. And hurt too. I felt like they ganged up on me although Leroy did say Dr. Shea begged him to tell me. But in addition to being mad and hurt, I was also incredibly jealous. And I feel awful about that. I didn’t tell you, but Dr. Shea is gorgeous and always so put together. She doesn’t have emotional baggage. Her home is inviting and warm. And she and Leroy have history that binds them. Yep. Jealous because I’m not any of that.

Leroy called and texted daily, but I wouldn’t see him and he respected that until a News story broke sensationalizing a love triangle as the reason for Reid's senseless act. They also had filmed pictures of Newt and his parents at the trial saying they were there supporting Reid. It was horrible. Leroy came by because he wanted to tell me before I saw it - Mr. Bubble Wrap to the rescue. Sadly he was too late, but it gave us the opportunity to talk.

Meadow, I was shocked at how much our separation hurt him. He had dark circles under his eyes and I swear he lost 15 pounds. Honestly, I wasn’t any better because I didn’t know how to deal with all those emotions or how to begin to move past them.

We are better now and I have started seeing Dr. Shea again. She once again suggested a different therapist, but there is just so much history now that I just can’t start over. I have accepted that Leroy has a close friend who happens to be like a sister.

I wish that was all the bad news. Reid was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years. It’s hard because we are pretty sure he is innocent. Ben is taking it hard as I thought he might. He and Reid bonded when we first moved here so his hero going to prison devastated him.

Ben is sulky and acting out. Nothing I say is right. He even shoplifted the other day. When I spoke to Dr. Shea about it, she suggested it is normal for pre-teen hormones to go crazy and cause this type of moodiness and testing behavior. She said he should begin to catch up emotionally to the changes that are taking place in his body and then he may settle down. I hope so.

I can’t wait for the snow to be gone. Maybe that will help everyone’s mood. This winter has been a hard one. With spring comes graduation and a wedding ceremony. New beginnings. Hopefully for me too. A new life in a new home with Leroy by my side.

So my friend, I hope to have much better news next time I write. Having you as a friend is definitely a bright spot among all of this drama.

Sending lots of love your way


Friday, July 28, 2017

Newt to Norman - 9

Hi Norm!  

You are going to laugh at me or more likely roll your eyes - but when I got your message and there was nothing but an attachment I thought to myself, well this is it - Norm finally had enough of my shit. I honestly thought it was a letter from your attorney telling me to break off all contact!

When I saw you had scanned several hand written pages, I was very much relieved indeed!  Then I had a really good laugh at why they were handwritten. Damn, it felt good to laugh! Thanks. Then I sat back and read it.

I am so sorry to learn that you got screwed over by the contractor. That really sucks. But you went above and beyond to help out the people that work for you. That takes guts. But I suppose if it’s something you are passionate about that choice was a lot easier. For you it’s about making a difference not making money. An admirable quality for sure. And if you can make it work then everyone wins. I know you can do it.

When you talked about Aari and the relationship you are developing with her, it makes me long for my kids and to have a relationship with them. Then to have Ira there to support you while you struggle through the hard decisions at work makes me realize how bad I messed up. I had a wife that actually wanted to make me happy and three beautiful children and threw it away because of - I don’t know even - I guess because it wasn’t the life I thought I was supposed to have. But I am trying to move on and stop living in the past.

Thanks to you - yes you - and my therapist, I am making really good changes. Since I started taking care of myself again, I feel better. I think last time I wrote my therapist suggested that I try to begin to socialize again and start to rebuild a life for myself. I finally got the guts to take her advice and went out a few times.

My buddy and I headed to a bar I used to go to all the time. I had a good enough time.

Played a few tunes and had a few drinks. They said I had changed when I didn’t hit on any of the women even though I could tell they were interested.

That's when they started trying to hook me up. You will be proud. I resisted all of their attempts. Then it became a game with my buddies, who could find a girl for Newt to take home. Score 1 for Newt and 0 for my buddies.

I didn't take anyone home. That is a win. In the past I would have gone to their place for a quick hook up and leave not even knowing their name. No more. They just laughed and said I lost my touch.

Funny enough, I did meet someone that I have been hanging out with. I didn’t meet her in the bar though, I met her in the library!  So, now I am sure you are asking yourself, what the hell is Newt doing in a library?  It is part of my therapy. Volunteer work! Mostly to get me out of my comfort zone. I have to change the way I live my life if I am going to make this new me work and apparently hanging out at a bar isn't enough of a change even if I didn't pick anyone up.

I never had any idea how many people still check out books. I was shocked. Of course a lot of them sit at the computers too. I had to watch my mouth big time. I never realized how much I use foul language I use. Stop laughing - I know you are! Turn about is fair play I guess. I laughed at you too. Remember when you were trying to get with Ira...that still makes me laugh.

Anyway, her name is Janet Anders and she works full time at the library. She is actually the one that called me on my language. She got assigned to train me. Every time a ‘fuck’ or ‘damn’ would slip out, she would give me the evil eye and frown. I don't like it when I make her frown. Cheesy huh?

The other day, we were putting books back on the shelves and she was standing next to me.

I don’t remember what I said, but she put her hand over my mouth. Then she jerked it back like she was embarrassed, and we both burst out laughing. I apologized and asked to buy her a coffee to make up for it.  See --- coffee is good!

Janet has beautiful red hair, big green eyes and so many freckles. It's just so damn cute. I think she is Irish or something because she has a bit of a lilt to her speech. It’s sexy. I could listen to her talk for hours - and have.

We had a few more coffee and lunch dates before I finally got up the nerve to ask her out on a real date. It was on one of these 'real' dates that I kissed her. I couldn't help it.

We were at a Karaoke bar and she convinced me to sing with her. It was some silly love song duet, Endless Love I think. One of those songs you've heard but don't really pay attention to.

The kiss was right after we sang some really awful Karaoke together. It was spur of the moment. But we were having so much fun being silly and singing badly to each other.

The song was over and I twirled her around and leaned her back dramatically.

Then, it just happened. I kissed her. And she kissed me back. It was nice. But Norm, I haven't taken it any further for obvious reasons.

So, I hope you are happy for me and not horrified that I am seeing someone and still married, but it’s been almost two years since I lost my family and I have finally accepted that I will never have them back. Mom came home from Thanksgiving with no new news of Kaitlin and the kids. Seems like it was a false lead.
I know it sounds like I just gave up. But constantly wishing they were here so I could make everything up to them is too painful. I won't heal if I don't let them go. And Janet is helping me do that. I know Kaitlin and I would never be able to be together again anyway, and that is not because of Janet.

Kaitlin has moved on. She is the one holding all of the cards. If she wanted to try to reconcile, she could have. We have searched for two years and I can't do it anymore. What little I hold on to is that if she surfaces, that I will have a chance to have a relationship with my children. That is all I hope I can salvage from the last 19 years of my life. So, I am trying to move on.

After I told my therapist about the false lead and about my feelings for Janet, she smiled at me. She actually smiled at me. She rarely shows any emotion - the old bag. But she smiled. I felt like a little kid that pleased his parents. You have no idea how good that felt.

Anyway, she told me I can file for divorce for spousal abandonment. It feels wrong to do that. But maybe it is the right thing to do for both Kaitlin and myself. It will release us both to move forward with our lives. Kaitlin wouldn't know it unless she turned back up, but it would allow me to move on. I hope you don't think that is selfish.

Sadly, Janet knows something is wrong and thinks it's her. She doesn't understand why I am holding our relationship back. Norm, I am going to have to do what I have been dreading. I have to tell her my story - all of it - and if she walks away, it will hurt. A lot. You see, I think I am in love with her. Yep - the 'L' word. I said it. I never thought I would.
It's like you and Ira, if Ira is happy you are happy. That's how it is with Janet. I would do anything to see her smile. She makes me feel whole in a way I don't think I ever have before. Maybe I have changed, I don't know. I just hope she feels the same way and will give us a chance. If she does I am filing for divorce. I won't wait any longer.

The other good news is that my cousin Reid is going to be okay. He was in bad shape but is strong and doing better now. He had to go through a lot of physical therapy. Seems they are investigating one of Reid’s high school enemies that spent time in Juvie for setting the fire that nearly killed him. They think it was arson targeted at him somehow.

Also, my mom and her sister seem to have reconciled. She said we were invited up for Christmas. I can’t wait to reconnect with my cousin. If Janet accepts my baggage (ugh, sounds like a bad game show) then I will ask her to come with us.

So much for the misadventures of Newt. And sorry for the long letter, but I needed to get all of this off my chest.

Thanks for being my sticky friend! Let me know how the new contractor does! Best of luck to Aari's 'Primary Care-Giver'!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kaitlin to Meadow - 9

Meadow's Letter to Kaitlin - 8

Hi Meadow!  

It was so good to hear from you! I was a little worried after I was so bold as to call you. I thought maybe you wanted to put some distance between us so I didn't write again. I am so happy to hear it was really because you have so many good things happening in your life right now.

So I am embarrassed - of course you are already an artist! You are studying art as a form of therapy for others. Not studying art! It's wonderful that you are able to take something you are passionate about and use it to help others. You are such a good person. I am so lucky that I stumbled upon you.

Jena is lucky you found her too. She must be about 3 years old now. Such a cute age. When they want to do everything themselves! Or when they want something and they want it now. Haha. But they can communicate so much better and even have a little empathy for others. When you are sad, she is sad for you and when you are happy, she is happy.

What are her favorite activities? Drawing I bet if she takes her cue from you!

Maddy loves to play with everything - the blocks and the xylophone but her favorite thing is the big dollhouse. We have such a huge family now that I think she loves to pretend her dolls are all of us - when she’s not trying to chew their heads off that is!
The best thing is her relationship with Dakota. She will ask her to play and share her toys with her. It's adorable and Dakota is so patient with her.  

So I know you are probably dying to know how my therapy sessions are going. First - thank you again for taking my call. You helped nudge me to do what I needed to do for me. The sessions have been going well. My therapist is about my age which is nice - and a female. I think that works best given my history!

She gives me ‘homework’ to do. Things to think about when I am not being put on the spot, just in my own time. Things that are indeed hard and go against everything I ever thought about myself.

So it appears I do actually have PTSD, it just didn't manifest until my life began to calm down and I was out of that flight mode. For so long my only real relationships were with my kids and making sure they were fed and clothed. No room for personal relationships. But when Leroy came into my life and I began to let him in, he now had the power to hurt me and would easily ‘trigger’ me into a panic attack.

Interestingly enough it happened after my very first session in my therapist's office right in front of her. Leroy, of course, went with me for support. It turns out Dr. Bailey aka Dr. Shea (Shea is he first name) and Leroy are very close and have known each other for a very long time but hadn't seen each other in several years. They hugged each other intimately and he kissed her on the cheek.

As soon as it happened, I went right back to Newt flirting with girls like he always did right in front of me and panicked. Dr. Shea calmed me down and helped me get back in control. She even offered to recommend a different therapist but we had hit it off so well and I didn't know if I could make myself start over I said no.
Leroy explained more about their relationship later. Brother/Sister thing. I have no siblings so it was hard for me to relate to their closeness without it being something more. But I imagine it would be like if you hadn't seen Norman for a long time you would run up to him and hug and kiss him on the cheek too right?

Anyway, Dr. Shea, has helped me a lot. I am beginning to recognize when I am starting to panic and how to try and rein it in. Of course, Leroy, poor man, has the unfortunate luck to be there with me every time it happens. Sadly he is a huge trigger. He doesn't mean to be, but now he recognizes what is wrong and knows how to help me stay in control. He also doesn't take it personally - at least not as much as he used to.

The last time I had an episode was Christmas night, but I never fully disassociated. Almost, but the darkness didn't take me. I fought it and with Leroy's help I was able to stop it.

After a few minutes we were able to sit down and finish our discussion. I think we agreed on gray instead of black or white. Compromise. We both compromised. That's new to me. If it was black in Newt's mind, it was black. Period.

Oh Meadow! The most exciting thing happened! Leroy found a piece of land for me - he says for us - to build a house on. He tried to give it to me for my birthday. But I am paying for it and the construction. We had to compromise on that too! He thinks we can have it finished in about 4 months. I feel like that represents my freedom. I don't really know how else to describe it. I will be able to give my children back a sense of belonging that I ripped away from them nearly 2 years ago.

It's not a large piece of property but it is beautiful. We took the kids to see it and they had so much fun building a snowman and an igloo! It is on the river with a green belt behind it. The river is frozen over right now so as soon as spring gets here we will start construction.

So much seems to be going well that I can sometimes forget that I am still married. I forget that there is a trial starting soon and that it's Reid, my husband's half-brother, on trial for arson. It's so awful. I think he's surely innocent. We don't have proof but we think we know who really started the fire.

I dread when Ben finds out. He worships Reid. I don't know whether or not to tell him, but I think I have to. He will find out from school or worse on TV since Reid is well known in Twinbrook. He is fireman and a hero to Ben.

Oh my. I rattled on and on. It was just so good to hear from you and to be able to share something positive for a change.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being there for me.

Your friend for life.