I've known this letter existed since I was seven. I know that there are four copies of it: one for me and each of my brothers. I may have read it when I was seven -- I don't remember. A few months after it happened, I suppose the letters were put aside and they eventually went into storage. I mostly forgot about them. Everyone did until a few months ago when my younger brother asked to see his copy of the letter. My mother went digging through our storage unit and eventually found them. They were printed on legal paper and rolled up into little cylinders. Mine was to be mailed to me.
I guess you could call it a suicide note, though it doesn't seem fitting. Is there another word for this sort of thing?
It came to me in a little manilla envelope with other random items from my mom including credit card applications she thought I might be interested in. I set the other items aside, sat on the couch and unrolled the paper. It had been typed and it was addressed to me, though I knew that my brothers' notes all said the same thing.
Then I read it. I read the strange letter from my deceased father.
There was no mention of me. There was no mention of him. Or anyone else for that matter. It was full of his views on the world. As if all he wanted a piece of his brain immortalized for his children to experience after his death. Perhaps he wanted us to get a glimpse of what kind of man he was, since we barely knew him. I guess that makes sense. He was known for his mind. He was a mentally disturbed genius. One of the great pioneers in the world of computer networking. Someone wrote a wikipedia article on him.
What struck me most about the letter, what seemed to smack my face as I read the words was the date at the bottom.
My dad took his life in August of 1996. He'd been planning it at least since November of 1995? I hate you, 1995 and I hate that I know when this letter was written.
I guess I was upset that he didn't say "I love you" anywhere in it. But, I suppose the fact that this letter exists means that he did... and does. And I do feel like I've crawled into Stryker's head and received a semblance of what it must have been like to know him like others did. Everyone called him Stryker.