Dear Sweet Melissa
Still, after two years of loss, the memory of your life persists as a singular truth, burdened only by quick and painful pings from synapses firing another truth…that of your last day with us. But, the truth we remember most, the truth we conjure most often, is the essential honesty of yourself, of what you were; the essential honesty of a dog being a dog, a critter ensconced within the imperative of carrying out the purpose of a life molded by some gracious god who understood, at the beginning of all time, the worth of the simple gift of critters. You, sweet Melissa, served well that imperative.
The Autumn Blaze Maple we planted in your memory–the leavings of yourself, ashes placed below–is beginning to turn, whispering of the coming freeze.
We have news, Sweet Melissa.
Surely you remember Isaac, the boy raised on our little street, who went off to war, to Iraq? The immediacy of that war, Sweet Melissa, is, for us, encompassed within the name “Isaac.” Now, after having served almost a year in that war, we are told he will be “stop lossed” to Afghanistan. It is, I suppose, not so much that this nation is spending $10 Billion a month on a war without end; not so much that the money to pursue the shamelessly hyped necessity to pursue the conflict was, and forever will be, a scourge on the essential promise of the founders, of the Declaration, of the Constitution; no, and it isn’t so much that we have suffered the ignoble machinations of a president who otherwise would be best served by institutionalization, by therapy from professionals who understand the dull, the dim-witted, the desperately unengaged; no, what matters in this case, in the case of the war is Isaac. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Our economy has tripped into the abyss, Sweet Melissa. And, it is was not so much a tripping, but an inevitable consequence of greed, of a costly war (oh, how costly that folly has been), and of a government that was convinced laissez-faire was the ticket, the admission price to be paid for our fragile democracy to endure. I say “fragile” here, Sweet Melissa, because I do not think anyone could have predicted how fragile our grasp on that concept, that promise, that dream was. Now we know. America slip-slides away, providing guns to the exclusion of butter, war to the exclusion of internal strength, the kind of strength that used to–oh, just a memory now–provided jobs to the jobless, hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry, moral integrity to a world skeptical of such a thing. Yes, memories now.
We have, Melissa, an old man running for president. The formative years of this man’s life were spent within the shadow of warriors…his father, his grandfather. He became a warrior, too, although his battles were fought from the cockpit of an airplane, bombing, killing people he could not see; a disassociation from the essential scourge of warfare where the specter of the dead–the commodity of war–could be intellectualized as something as banal as statistics, kill ratios, damage reports. But, then, this old man found himself impriosoned by the “enemy,” held captive, tortured. I look at this old man, Sweet Melissa, and wonder if deep down, at the center of his soul, his urge, his intent, the promise he perhaps made to himself as he suffered his days in captivity, is centered upon excising the demons he surely still carries. I wonder, Sweet Melissa, if this old man’s insatiable yearn is to even a personal score, warrioring against enemies real or perceived, until he himself is satiated, until he himself feels comfortable in his skin, a skin that, for all intents and purposes, now still throbs with the unfinished business of retribution for what he suffered? I wonder if such a man is dangerous to this country. I wonder if such a man understands much of anything outside the roil, the irrepresible urge to right wrongs done to him personally. I wonder if this man is, underneath the facade, underneath the pale skin, the white hair, the syrupy sweet smile; I wonder if this man is capable of reasoned decisions unfettered by his pathology.
Ah, there is so much news to report from home, Sweet Melissa. But, I suspect such things pale in comparison to the joy of where it is you have gone. We miss you, sweetheart.
I loved you then, I love you now.