Before I tell you this story, I have to say that my dad is an absolute drunkard who is unfortunately rich and is a common target for female gold diggers. He works as an executive of a large enterprise that is constantly launching new products, or at least that’s what he pretends to be. In reality, he’s a drug dealer who hides drugs and ships them off to other countries to make people think that he gets his money by actually working hard. In my eyes, he is nothing more than a father, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.
A lot of times, he is too busy to spend time with me. Out in bars talking to probably my future mother-in-law who is probably younger than me. I see him walking in and out of the house with suitcases of whatever the hell he has, and he always threatens me to not tell law enforcement or the police in general because he would promise to decapitate me and bash my disembodied head against a brick wall. That is probably the worst one I have heard so far.
I don’t live with him today because as of now, I’m 25 and engaged to the girl of my dreams. We have a good 2 story house and I got a job that pays extremely well. However, this story is not about me. Or at least it’s not just about me.
This story is about my parents.
My mother was a ray of sunshine, and she had golden hair, a good physique, such a good person who wanted the very best for me. However, another thing you should know is that my father wasn’t actually a drug dealer when my mother was here. My father was a Sr. Medical Biller who was actually making good money.
Our family was like the other average families that you would see on the streets of good old New York City. Watching musicals on Broadway in Times Square, cruising the Hudson river, and having breakfast at the local dunkin donuts because man, that place was good as hell. We would see the beautiful night sky and the lights of NYC with the signs on stores that would light up in the most colorful patterns you would ever see. Hearing the buzz of traffic and pedestrians running across a red sign.
However, my family hid something from me that I knew of. On a Saturday afternoon at around 2 PM, I was playing in my mom’s room. Her room was pristine, yet her desk was a mess. Being the curious-ass little boy I was, I rummaged through her papers. Her desk was mainly fashion magazines and newspapers. I sat on her chair and used my hands to part out the mess to look at some papers. However, there was one thing that was at the bottom of the pile. It was a corner of a piece of paper that mom would use to write important letters. I honestly didn’t know why the hell mom would have it because she never kept important stuff lying around on the desk or even the bottom of a mess just for her 12 year old son to find it.
However, when I picked the corner up, it didn’t reveal a full piece of paper underneath. It was just a piece of the entire thing. It was like a puzzle piece. That just got me more curious and I began to search for some more pieces that may be lying around. I put my foot forward when I felt pain at the bottom of my sole. I stepped on a corner of a box. That box wasn’t there before and I know because I have been in my mother’s room hundreds of times. It was a teal box with a ribbon over it. It looked like those shiny Christmas presents that are under the tree on Christmas day just begging to be opened.
Inside the box was 12 pieces of ripped up paper. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was the rest of this letter. I pieced together the letter. I froze as I was reading it and got chills when I finished. I almost cried because I understood something. The truth about my parents. I’ll tell you why later on.
However, I can’t leave without letting her know that I understood her.
So, I wrote something to my mom, returned all the pieces back where they were and next to the piece of paper on the desk, I wrote on a sticky note, "Your secret is safe with me." I knew that this was somethign that dad probably should not know about at the time.
As of the next day, I woke up to once again see my parents not home. I was on break due to it being Thanksgiving break. However, my parents had to work 3 more days before they were off. When they got off work that day, my father instantly went to take a shower and go to bed. That was quite odd because he was always active afterwards. However, my mom went into her room and I rushed to mine and shut the door. I could hear her reading my note and then I heard a thud. I don’t know why but I heard a thud on the floor. It was my mother who was crying. I went and gave her a hug.
She was on her knees crying. She hugged me back for what seemed like forever. Once the whole thing was over, she left her room for dinner. I took that time to piece together her letter.
Hi Libby, I have to write to you about this because my phone is not a safe place to keep what I’m about to say to you.
I’m not ready to tell him this, but I think I’m ready for a divorce. I want you to know this because you are the closest one to me who I can actually tell. My son is way too young to understand this and my husband will literally kill me when he finds out.
I can’t stand living with this man anymore because I have to hide my bruises and scars from the family. They will never believe me if I told them nor if I proved it to them. I tried going up to my other cousin Lara about this, but she ignored me. My mother and father have also denied what I’m going through.
I don’t know why but every time I sleep with him, I wake up in bruises and whenever I’m in his presence when he gets mad, he takes out his belt and…
This part of the letter looks like it was smeared out with a stain. It looked like water.
I have to cry myself to sleep every day here because there is no way I can break off with this man. He won’t agree to a divorce, and he got mad the last time I discussed this with him. I can’t keep repeating this cycle over and over again. The worst thing is that my son will have to live through this with him and I don’t want him to suffer because of me.
I wonder what she meant by “suffer because of me.” Wasn’t she the victim? This was probably the only part of the letter that I didn’t understand at that time.
You know what I mean Libby. Please, I’m planning to talk to you tomorrow and go over to your house to discuss planning to divorce and get away. How am I supposed to tell my son this? I don’t want him to live without a mother. I want to see my son graduate high school, get into college, go to university, get a job, and have kids. Then I can die happy. I want to see that. I want the best for my son. He is the greatest little angel that can be given to me and if you want me to be honest, I don’t deserve that. However, the least I can do right now is to watch him succeed. I want him to succeed me, and his father. Even if I don’t get to live my life the way I want to because I get bruises and scars at night that I have to hide the next morning, I get to see him grow up. That would be the greatest gift to me of all.
As a mother, that is literally all I want. To see my baby go through life without getting controlled by another force. I want him to be successful so that one day, he can pass this gift on to his children. I want to see him push out negativity and bounce back from trials of life because no one said it was going to be easy.
Most of all, I want to see my baby conquer life because I can’t. I can’t give up now, or else I would fail as his mother. I only want the best for him, and for him to move forward to not regret a thing.
Only God will tell, and guide my way.
Please reply as quickly as you can.
- Your cousin,
I understood a bit then about my family.
It all made sense now. Even though we looked like the average family, or so I thought, I began noticing things that were out of place, even before reading this whole letter. I noticed that mom began limping a bit and I remember her that every time she goes to dad’s room to sleep with him, I would see mom limp a little more the next day.
I would always see mom wearing long dresses inside. She always tells me that she wears them because she doesn’t want to change into pajamas too early, and she would always wear the same dresses to work.
I was lied to for a long time. I realized that by this letter, I can begin to make sense of those things.
I can see dad come home slightly off, and she would be on the couch instead of being active. He would sometimes send me off to my room because he wanted to talk to mom alone in the room. He would also spend less and less time with me as time passed.
Now, I know the truth, we weren’t the perfect and normal family in the city of NY. My parent’s marriage wasn’t the perfect marriage. I just had one question about this whole thing that has gone unanswered for 12 years.
Why would this happen to our family specifically? My mom and dad are trying to put on a good face in front of me, and yet in that bedroom, unexplainable horrors would happen in that short amount of time. Now it hurts to see mom in her flower dress that covered her whole body and my dad sitting on the couch instead of cooking or getting the water from the local dispenser. I, no longer see my family as normal. All because of this ripped up piece of paper that I found when I was 12 on a Saturday afternoon at 2 PM.
I woke up the next day and got dressed for school. I was dropped off at school and had to go through the tedious hours of PE, Science, Spanish, History, English, and Math. The moment I got home I saw mom packing, and she is doing so an hour before dad gets home. She was still crying. It looked like she didn’t want to go just yet.
I went over and asked her what she was doing. Her response however, did not make sense to me.
“Now that you have seen the note, I must leave.” She said,
“Why mom?” I asked
“He’s actually going to murder me if I don’t leave.” She replied.
She did something else that was very strange. She began taking the pieces of the paper from the box and pieced them all together. She did this before she left.
“I promise that I’ll get you out of here.” she said.
She took her suitcases and left in her Mercedes down Penn Street, Times Square. I watched her go. She didn’t even say goodbye or any of that shit. No ‘I love you’, or any ‘mommy promises to come back.’
She just left like that. However,I have this weird instinct telling me to trust her and pray to god that she will come back. I am still hesitant about what she said about dad. I saw some tiny little hints that she is right, but I didn’t want to believe that dad was a violent bastard right off the bat. Even though I was a kid, I wasn’t that gullible.
However, something did in fact, made me believe her. When I was doing homework, I saw that dad came home. When he went upstairs, he went into mom’s room. However, he wasn’t wearing the same pants as when he left for work. He was wearing shorts, and he laid his pants from work out on mom’s bed. He took the belt out of the pants and closed the door. Normally, I would be too busy concentrating on homework to notice something like this. How could I have missed this?
However, I heard absolutely no sound when he went in after taking the belt. In our doors, there is a crack that we could look through in the door. I can only see the shadow of his feet. However, he was walking at a fast pace in a circle like someone who is 1 day away from getting evicted.
I instantly went back into my room because I had the feeling that he was going to get out of the room instantly. My feeling was correct when he rushed out of the room and into the streets. He ran back inside. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He was like a mad man.
“Brandon, stay in this house, dad is going to go on an errand run.” He said, putting on a jacket and angrily running out of the house to his car.
I didn’t know where he was going. I waited for a long time. I watched TV in the main room, gorged on whatever edible thing that is in the house, and quite literally fooled around with my phone because I had nothing to do. The strange thing was that by 8 PM, dad still has not come back yet.
I decided to go to sleep in one hour. Which meant taking a shower, and doing whatever. I slept alone that night.
I woke up at midnight to the sound of footsteps near the door. Due to the fact that my room was on the upper floor, I had the distinct advantage of peeking down to the bottom floor and seeing who was there. I expected to see some noisy-ass neighbors coming back from a day trip. However, that is not what I saw. I saw a man at the steps. Not my father, and he was tall with a fedora on his head that was covering his face so that his facial features were invisible in the darkness. My house also has an automatic sensor light which lights up the porch when someone comes to the door. The light lit up.
The worst thing happened just then. The man took off the fedora to reveal a head of golden hair. However, the kicker was his neck and face. He was facing away from the house, yet he slowly turned his head a full 180 degrees to look at me. If that was not disturbing, I nearly screamed when he looked at me. I only had a glimpse of his face when he did so. However, I can vividly remember his face. His face had a sallow pallor as if he was too sick to even get up. However, he smiled an inhumanly wide smile where his lips nearly hit the sides of his eyes. His eyes were black and hypnotizing. If I continued staring at his face, I would have been so screwed. However, I ducked away from the window.
He rang the doorbell. I was going to call Dad and tell him that this motherfucker is at our porch and to get the police here ASAP. However, I saw Dad’s car on the sidewalk. I looked and I saw Dad in the driver’s seat with his phone illuminating his face. He began to turn his head my way and I ducked to avoid him seeing me. He walked up to the man who was on the porch. I wondered what he was doing.
He gave the man a trash bag and gave him a case of what looked like weed, and he also had another case of an accumulated 20K$. I don’t know what was happening with weed and this enormous amount of money that I have no idea where dad got it from, but it hit me. Dad was meeting with his drug dealer. I nearly passed out and I kept thinking that this was fantasy and dad wouldn’t do something like this. Tonight he proved me wrong.
There was also something else that was interesting, the man gave my dad a gun. A .38 caliber revolver. They exchanged a few words. I caught one word in their conversation: Christina. That was my mom’s name. Dad drove off into the night and the man walked down the sidewalk into the night.
I didn't know what the hell they were talking about because I was way too young to understand this. However, for you readers, it must be pretty self-evident that something was going to happen to my mother. I saw drugs and money, and in my head I knew that things couldn't be going well.
The next day after school, Dad still wasn't home. He didn't come home until 5 PM. He was then livid and when I tried to greet him, he pushed me out of the way and went into the bathroom to take a shower. I didn't know what he was doing. So I went downstairs and made my own food, and headed to my room. There was a presentation at my school that day and there was no work for me to do, so I went to sleep because my afternoon was extremely uneventful and I don't want to bore you to death with the details of the afternoon.
When I went to bed, things got interesting.
I opened my bedroom door just a crack and I quietly escaped my room to see what was happening downstairs without being detected. Dad brought home a shopping bag with luxury designer clothes from Versace and 1-2 bags of Giorgio Armani. Behind those bags of designer clothes, I saw bottles of alcohol. All kinds of alcohol, and I mean bottles of beer, bottle of wine, champagne, bourbon, and whiskey. Jack Daniels, Martinellis, Red Bull, and Corona were all tucked in the bags. He opened a bottle, drank it, and began sobbing.
Dad never cried. Not even when both of his parents died.
I could tell that the tears he was crying were not of guilt or regret or even anger, but tears of 'why am I doing this?'
It was hard to see him like that.
However, why was he crying?
Did he commit a crime, does he plan on doing something, is he suicida-. No, that can't be right. He was plotting something. He was constantly dodging me, and he didn't even want to talk to me and that really made me sad.
What did he want to do?
What does he want?
Why was he avoiding me?
Most of all, what was he doing with that man on our porch and what were they talking about?
Those are all the questions that I desperately needed answers to because I’m scared of one thing, that there could be worse things happening behind closed doors with this.
I just don’t want to think too much about that night. Now, I had to wait for the next day because I already saw too much in such a short period of time.
The next day was Saturday and dad didn’t have work that day, yet he still drove off. I thought he was just going to the store to buy stuff when I noticed a bulge on his belt. It wasn’t a bulge. Actually, to be more precise, it was more than just a bulge. It was a gun holder. I noticed a gun handle and the worst thought popped into my head.
After he left, I went to his room. He had a bag under the bed. It was his Versace bag from the night before.
I looked inside and things became clear.
There were 40 bullets in there, big and long. They were for a .38 caliber revolver. Dad was going to after mom. He wants to kill her. At this point, you readers may have figured it out already. However, I was 12, and I was stupid. I didn't think about the worst case scenario instantly, but now that it hit me, I considered that chance and how large the odds were.
I was so mentally distraught that I could barely sleep that night. Thank god that it was a Saturday night and it didn’t matter how much sleep I got. I heard my father storm up the steps, paranoid. He pushed open my door and checked if I was asleep. He loomed over me and checked. I shut my eyes and made it look as natural as possible. I made myself look as calm as possible, and as peaceful as possible just like all people look like when they go to sleep.
He then got up and got out of my room as he slowly closed my door at precisely 8:30 PM. I heard his footsteps quickly rush down the stairs, and the engine of his car roar to life. I got up and watched him drive out of the sidewalk and into the night.
Now, we have a family phone that we keep on the counter. It’s one of those old timey telephones with a number puncher and has a cord that comes with it. 3 hours into my sleep at almost midnight, I heard the phone ring. I picked it up. However, it wasn’t a live call, it was a voicemail. What was stranger was what was on the voicemail. I could hear a man’s voice talking into it and it was those deep voices. Raspy and guttural with an accent that I cannot identify. The man said a series of numbers.
“933 44288833 4433777 44466 84433 22 2 4,” was what came out of the other end of the phone
What the hell was I supposed to know what that meant? I was only 12 at the time and that sounded like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. It was late and I refused to dedicate the last of my energy and brain cells to cracking this pattern. By now, you readers may have cracked it already, but I was ready for bed right then and there.
I woke up the next day with a Ford at our house carrying tree branches and a black trash bag entangled in the mess. I also found about 5 men digging a rather large hole in the floor. Way too big for a human. The bag was on the bottom of the pile and when the pile was put into the hole, the bag was practically invisible. This was done in about an hour and 45 minutes. However, my father was not in the group.
My father was in the Ford on his phone and signaled all the people to come over. He saw me and waved at me.
I heard my phone ding and it was a message from my father.
"Hey son, my friends here are just moving the dead tree branches and securing them here for the night, so we can donate them to paper making companies, love you." I saw dad in the car while men in hardhats noisily moved tree branches.
My fingers typed “Love you too,” yet something didn’t feel right. I felt like that was a lie and so utterly fake.
My father didn’t come home for the next few hours.
“Hey buddy, saw you up there.” he said.
He sounded more upbeat and happy. That was not like him. He looked as if there was a weight lifted off of him. He was lighter and looked healthier. He didn’t look so drab anymore. What has gotten into my dad?
He did one more thing that almost made me jump. He began to cook. Dad never cooked, and yet somehow he was doing so well. It was probably him binging Food Network Asia all the time, but he never actually cooked. He only cleaned. He had a new confidence and this is something that I have never seen. Not even after having me. He is now a better person.
Curiosity took over and I had to ask. However, I had to try to make it sound like I wasn't suspicious or that I thought it was strange, but rather that he did change for the better.
“Hey dad, you seem extra happy today.” I said,
“Oh, I just got promoted at work,” he replied.
I knew that he was lying instantly. He had a tendency to smile when he lies to make it more natural. I noticed it throughout life. However, this is something more serious that he lied about. I felt like he had something orchestrated and planned.
He wouldn’t put out such an outlandish lie. Just last week, he almost got fired. Now he’s telling me that he’s gonna get promoted.
At that point I can’t take it any longer. I can’t get answers from him. He would only lie to me if I tried to crack at him and I would see it but I can’t push him about it or else he would know that I’ve seen him do these bizarre things.
At night, I pretended to go to sleep once again. I opened my door just a crack just so that it’s not noticeable. I peeked through the door to see that man. That same man that I saw on the porch the other night. This time, he was inside the house.
The man held out a suitcase, bigger than my torso. The suitcase was opened to my dad and inside were 14 envelopes. All of them were black and stamped with red wax like a formal invitation.
My father opened the envelope. Inside was a note. He looked at it for 5 seconds, then threw it in the trash.
Dad then did something that was so bizarre it took me so long to process. He began making out with that man. He did this for a long time, and I was too shaken to keep track of time.
He forced the man up against a wall and continued into the bathroom.
This was too much for a 12 year old to handle because I just walked back to my bed and hid under the covers.
I came back to the door about 30 minutes later to see the man once again. However, the man, after leaving, put his hands on his face. I almost passed out when he basically took off his entire face and I found out that it was a mask. When the mask is taken off, a bundle of wavy golden hair with sun-streaks were revealed. It was a woman.
I turned back to look at my dad to see lipstick stains on his face. This woman was disguising as a man. I felt like I witnessed a part of an intricate plan and a motive. Like those crime TV shows where they bust the criminal after explaining their long and twisted plan for 30 minutes.
Dad then put on his slippers and headed up to my room. I quickly dove onto my bed and hid under the covers. He looked, and then closed the door. I waited for him to then shut my door, then go to his room on the other side of the house.
I tip-toed in bare feet quietly down the stairs and into the living room and took the slip of paper and saw another sequence.
"6 666 66 3 2 999 66 444 4 44 8 2 8 33 444 4 44 8 222 2 777 666 555 999 66 66’7777 3 444 66 33 777."
-See you there
I had to find out what he was doing.
I needed a plan.
So I decided at the moment to do something that I now feel like was stupid. It worked somehow. I decided to record my father. Dad brought a suitcase and I slid a small camera into his suitcase and I waved him goodbye. I watched from my phone while fucking around with it for a good 15 minutes which is how long it took him to get to drive.
I was watching and listening as my father decided to put his suitcase down and wait. I waited patiently. I heard the high heel steps of a woman. The noise is so muffled because the material on the suitcase impeded the sound waves.
I could hear murmurs and snippets of their conversation. They just kept talking but the words they were speaking in were French.
My father taught it to me when I was 1 and kept going up to when I was fluent at 9 so I would never forget it. I’m trying to translate the conversation.
“Well did you get her?” came a man’s voice. I guess it was his.
“No,” came a woman’s voice.
“Why didn’t you get her?” the male voice asked. I assumed this was my dad.
The woman’s voice began breaking.
“She what? What did she do?” asked the man.
“She…….she hung herself,” the woman finally said exhaling.
I sat there and I had to rewind the tape to make sure I heard the woman right. My mother actually killed herself?
I continued the tape.
I heard sobbing from the woman who was originally talking. The sobbing continued. I heard some more inaudible speech from my father before I was cut off by the opening of the door.
My mental instinct says that it was my father, but that wasn’t the case, no. It was that man from the first night where my father handed him the money and briefcase.
He looked at my room, then looked at me.
“Hi,” I said on instinct.
He quickly stormed up the room and took me by the arm.
“Little boys don’t spy on their fathers”
He got out a syringe and that is when I began to try and get away. I was literally scared shitless. It’s pretty hard to have a stranger bust into your home, grab you by the arm, and stick a needle at you.
The bad thing was that my room was on the 2nd floor of the house, therefore I could not escape through the windows and the man was blocking the door, so it was physically impossible for a small boy like me to get past him.
He advanced towards me with his syringe, and the needle is looking sharper than ever. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out an aerosol can. I then decided that it was now or never, and he sprayed the contents of the can into my eyes. Remember, there was virtually nothing I could do other than run and pray to god that I can make it down the stairs. The spray from the aerosol burned like hell and I felt a sharp pain on my exposed forearm.
He injected me. I was fucked and I held my arm and surprisingly ran out of my room and dashed down the staircase. I chose a discreet closet and locked myself in.
I sat down on something hard and it wasn’t the floor because our house had carpet floors. I had no idea what it was until I stood up to look down. It was a briefcase and inside was a bottle of succinylcholine, which is a powerful muscle relaxant as I learned from the crime TV shows I watch all the time. I remembered something important then, I had 2-3 minutes before I would lose consciousness.
However, it was too late by then. He already found me, I guess for more of the succinylcholine. My body was then ready to give up, and the man ended up carrying me, and I blacked out after hitting the seat of the car.
Sometime later, I woke up, and we were still in the car. I noticed that I was at a diner. Was the man who literally injected me with a relaxant that can virtually kill me now taking me to dinner?
That is when I saw my dad as he was sitting right next to the front window of the diner with a woman.
I couldn’t identify the woman at first, but I then realized that it was Aunt Libby, my mom’s cousin.
I watched as the man got my father’s attention and pointed a cold finger right at me, clear as day.
We parked right in front of that window and I could see the man’s mouth moving and saying inaudible words.
My dad then looked at me. The oddest thing was that, he didn’t look pissed or mad that I was awake at this hour and out of the house.
He looked at me with a face filled with sadness. Not a disappointment kind of sadness, but just plain sadness. He waved at a waiter to get a check and the waiter brought him his folder, and he put his card in it and waited. The 3 all sat and spoke for a bit.
Aunt Libby decided to leave, and she shot a look at me as she got in her car. She shot the save look that dad gave me. I heard the gravel beneath the wheels of her car grind before she backed out of the lined parking and drove off.
The waiter just came back from the desk from taking my dad’s credit card and gave it back to him with a receipt for my dad to sign.
You know those moments when you have butterflies in your belly? Not when you are about to perform in front of people, but when you break a priceless vase and your mom is moments away from walking into your room and you are just awaiting your demise? That was what it felt like in that car.
My father signed and walked out of the room.
He got in the car with this other man and all 3 of us were in the car with it being dead silent and the only sound was that of the cars and the hustle and bustle of the streets of NYC.
My father said absolutely nothing, he just looked at me. Not with fury, or any sort of anger, but with resentment. We were about 3 minutes away from home. The man who drove me to the diner gave me a hoodie. He ordered me to put it on. I did just as he told me. Just at that moment, we were on the street of our house. The man stopped the car right at our house, but he locked all the car doors. He jumped to the back where I was sitting, then took a napkin and covered my mouth. It was stained with a substance that smelled sweet but kind of weak. I felt my body weaken. The man’s eyes widened as he began staring at me. I was confused, and drowsy. However, I realized that he wasn’t staring at me. He was looking through the car window behind me. He covered my mouth and nose one more time. Before passing out, I heard the sound of sirens from police cars.
I woke up with a sharp pain on the side of my head. I didn’t really know what it was until I touched the side of my head. I was bleeding like hell from the left side of my head and I noticed that I was in a room with curtains on both sides of me. I was in the hospital.
“Give him the anesthesia,” a man said.
I guessed that it was one of the doctors. I once again fell into unconsciousness as the doctors fixed up my head.
When I woke up, I was greeted by my grandparents. My gran Maribel, and my grandpa Axel. Both were from my mother's side of the family. They gave me a hug and told me to get dressed. I was discharged just a few hours later with prescribed painkillers. I went to their house, and they forbade me to go back to my old house where my stuff was and hired a moving company to pack my stuff and move me out of my father’s house.
That was the last time I saw my father. The only thing that I have left from him is his phone number and I’m allowed to call him once a month. He was never invited over to see me. Now I know why.
He’s dangerous, and 13 years later, I know that. He’s nothing to me anymore. Every time I look at other families, there is always a grandpa and his son laughing next to each other over dinner. If no longer have that. Fathers are supposed to be a role model for how they teach their kids to treat others. They’re supposed to spend time with their kids because they want their kids to do better than they did. No matter how successful or unsuccessful they are.
I still miss my dad though. I really did wish things went differently.
I forgive my dad as well because I believe that his punishment is up to god, and he is my father.
After all, this all happened because I pieced together my mom’s letter on a Saturday afternoon at 2PM when I was 12, and I don’t regret a thing.