Love Letters — Fourth Love

Forbidden LoveOur Love was forbidden from the start — married man with child falling in Love with a single mom at work.  All those secret rendezvous – some people find that exciting, but it wasn’t…it was pressure…the whole weight of outward and inward social norms crushing down on a delicate budding flower.

Lightning

I remember exactly when I began to fall for you.  It was on that business trip we took together…alone…to Florida.  We had known each other for several years, but this was the first time we were alone together.  We worked alongside one another during the day and went out to dinner in the evening and then drove back to the same hotel…only to repeat the cycle for the entire week.  It was on the flight home…you were half asleep…when I let my head rest on your shoulder.  From that point on, the feelings grew…no one could stop it….not even you.  The flower was in full bloom.  I received all kinds of advice from those closest to me, but the words sounded like a foreign language compared to the passion of a deafening thunderbolt.

AirplaneIf the social pressures weren’t enough…add the black and white laws of corrupt capitalism.  Corrupt  capitalism drove us from the west to the east…took me away from my son…forced you to sell your house for a loss…what other choice did we have when they shut down the west coast headquarters in the name of “synergies”?  My ex-wife hadn’t worked for years — I couldn’t just take severance and hope to find a job in one month.  You may have had time to land something, but then we would be apart.  And so we accepted the company’s ultimatum and moved across the country to begin our new life under one roof.  Since I negotiated a healthy increase in salary and bonus, I had enough money to support two lives, the old and the new…and I was able to travel and see my son once a month.

Financial Crisis Hearings 2And then, after two years, corrupt capitalism reared its ugly head once again.  All those fucking assholes, the legalized and protected criminals, brought down the financial system…which led our company to “layoff” 10,000 human beings…with no option to stay on at a lower wage…escorting them out of the building like they were guilty of a crime… treating them like a bunch of fucking dogs.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I took the severance package instead of hanging on at a lower salary like all of the other more politically connected, mindful, nipple sucking slaves… well, you know what… fuck those cowards…let them rot in hell for all I care.  I know…they are only thinking of caring for their own families…I know the argument and logic..well…what about the other 10,000 little people who didn’t have a fucking choice?

HoleOver-time, unable to secure a new job on the east or west coast, the expense of living the old and the new life depleted all my “worldly resources”, and the time came for a decision.  All I had left in my possession was my energy and Love…and that energy was divided… between you and my son…I chose my son.  The process of contemplating this decision tore something out of my mind…and the hole remains…all the way the through.

Little boyYou’re an amazing woman, tough, strong, beautiful inside and out…a fighter.  But I know, under all that armor, you have a gentle heart.  You deserve more than half of my energy.  But my son…he is just a little being…still developing…he needs all of my energy to grow strong and healthy.  Just as you have given so much of your energy to your son, so I need to do the same.  You, of all people, should understand this gut wrenching decision.  I still Love you, but you deserve a man who can give you everything… and nothing less.

There are those that will smile at this outcome, but they of course are advocates of the status quo and perpetuate all that is….from the meaning of the marriage contract…to believing in capitalism even in its morphed and corrupted form.  To them…I say…I would do it all over again…poverty is worth the price of pursuing Love…just like poverty is worth the price of pursuing what you know to be true…for you.

Soul Crushers

We all met in his relatively large office as requested at 8 am sharp. Dressed in our style less business casual costumes, with note pads in hands, some with coffee, we engaged in nervous small talk and meaningless office banter.  We all had inflated titles; salaries, bonuses, stock options, but our leader edged us out on all fronts.  Balding red hair, pasty pale complexion, tiny glasses, fabricated gym build, God-fearing man loaded with self-righteousness, he looked at us and said in a southern twang, “Boys, today is the day of reckoning”.      

Like most of the employees, our tragic hero probably pulled into the office parking lot between 8:30 and 9:00 am – just as he had done every weekday for over ten years.  His wife packed him a little lunch in a nap sack, just as she had done every weekday for over ten years.  It was a Friday.  Eight hours of work and he would be free to enjoy the weekend with his wife and two little girls.  To him, it was just another Friday morning.  He would take the elevator to the fourth floor, put his nap sack in the employee fridge, grab a cup of coffee, say hi to a few other employees in the kitchen, walk to his director sized office, boot up the computer, look at the most recent e-mails, check his voicemail, review his calendar, and then begin to prioritize his day. 

I was one of the fortunate puppet leaders.  I didn’t have to lay anyone off in my department, but I was given an assignment.  My job on this Black Friday, in which over ten thousand people were losing their jobs, was to assist another puppet leader with one of his sackings.  He would deliver the news read from a corporate published script and then call me when he was finished and move on to his next sacking.  My role was to stand there while the employee packed up his things and make sure no corporate property was damaged or taken.  I was required to obtain the employee’s corporate security card, office key, and escort him to his car.  I didn’t really know this employee, our tragic hero, but I had exchanged words with him on occasion in the company kitchen.  I didn’t really know what he did at work, but he was a nice intelligent looking gentleman probably in his mid forties and he managed a handful of employees.

By the time I arrived at our tragic hero’s office, the damage was done.  He had begun the process of packing his things away into a card board box.  I sat down on one of the chairs in his nice office.  I watched him pick up a picture of his two little girls.  He looked at it for a moment, let out a deep sigh, and said, “ten years…and for what?”  He put the picture in his box.  At this moment, he realized that his decade of work was perceived worthless.  Ten years of energy and youth spent and consumed resulted in zero perceived value.  All along he had been deceived.  Each year he had gotten a raise.  Each year he had received positive reviews.  Over time he had been promoted to greater responsibility.  The company and his work had become a dominant piece of who he was.  His identity and sense of self-worth had morphed into an exterior entity — an entity that appeared to have a mission, a soul, a purpose.  He gave this phenomenon his being and in exchange it gave him money and a sense of belonging.  On what was expected to be a typical Friday morning, in a single soul crushing moment, the truth was suddenly revealed.