This was also during the time when the infamous Golden State Killer, known then in your hometown as the Visalia Ransacker, had broken into your house and was 20 feet from you and your sister. We believe he’d been stalking your mom as he did many of his rape victims and had probably already broken into your house and looked through all your family picture albums, as was his pattern then. Mom had found them open and no one in the family had touched them. This was shortly before he broke in. As you know, your crazy first step-father worked the graveyard shift at a tire plant, and your mom worked the swing shift at the police department. But she came home early that night and scared the Ransacker away when she opened up the garage door and her headlights lit him up in his signature ski mask. He bolted into the backyard and vanished. Decades later, he’ll finally be caught and convicted.
There have been so many broken men in your life, even after that, but you are not them. Please know that. Your heart will always be full of love and hope, but you will suffer tremendous anxiety and panic attacks, even depression, later in high school and through much of your 20’s. You will cause others emotional pain because of your own. It will affect your school work, your career, your relationships and aspirations. You will gain weight and smoke cigarettes (I know you think you will never smoke, but you will), and you will drink too much and experiment with drugs. You will think of suicide more than once. You will marry your college sweetheart when you’re 25, and what will start out okay will grind to an unhappy halt eight years later, and you will get a divorce. You will experience excruciating guilt from this and how you treated her, but the unhappiness will outweigh everything else at the time. As I wrote earlier, you will have a very hard time with happy for many, many years.
Please forgive yourself and learn to take care of all of yourself; learn to embrace the happy. And make sure you’re on Its Beach in Santa Cruz, CA, on October 11, 1997.