"Letters I've Written, Never Meaning to Send…"
Dear Mark, they described you as "a man with a history of substance abuse and violent behavior." My God, if they only knew. If they only knew that you'd been raised by wolves in Deep East Texas. Remember my Aunt? The fearless one who lived across the dirt road from your boyhood home? I guess you don't…
She told me it was fine to play in her front yard but, "Listen Baby, don't dare go down that driveway in the woods over there. Those are not nice people." Your house couldn't really been seen from the road. It was just out of sight, hidden by the first curve in the drive. Even in winter when the leaves are all down the house still can't be seen. Maybe it shouldn't.
Several years ago now, one of your nephews killed himself in that house during a "game" of Russian roulette. I believe he was 14. My little brother was the first responding deputy on the scene. He said that the boy was "still in the process of dying" but there was nothing that could be done. He said sometimes it came back to him in his dreams. That was before he was in the crash.
You were the youngest boy in your family. Like you, all your older brothers were named for saints, but they caused you to grow up in hell. You were always a decent little kid. Kind eyes. Your grades in school never gave you problems when you tried. You were smart…for a long time. Your drunken father drove a truck for all those years. I honestly don't know if it was better or worse for you when he was home. I know your brothers held you down, held your nose, pounded your chest, until you had to breathe in the pot smoke they relentlessly blew in your face.
Mark, why? I'm sorry that your demons were too strong for you. You were like a big brother to me. Remember all those times we got high or drunk or both together? I guess you don't…I'm not sure I do either.
You were the worst excuse for a drug dealer I ever saw. You gave too much stuff away. You had a conscience. You had a heart. You forbade me from doing anything involving needles. I'll always be grateful for that Mark.
Certainly, certainly if you felt there was cause, you would fight. It was almost impossible for you to get mad, but when you did, you completely lost control. I guess we had that in common as well, except that it didn't take much to make me angry. I don't think you ever wore a shirt in summer. You didn't bother to try to control your hair. After school you just let it grow. You and your brothers, half Greek, seemed perpetually tanned.
Remember that girl I dated after high school? The one that moved into my apartment? That was the single and only time she had serious doubts about being with me. She came home and you and I were in the living room, getting high.
You looked kinda like a young Sylvester Stallone…not the one from Rocky, no, the other one from First Blood-after he had been hiding in the woods for weeks and you seemed just about as wild.
Her first thought was, "What kind of person have I become involved with if he knows people like this?!" What was she thinking anyway? That she could save me? No one could be that strong. She always had an "x-ray" vision for people though. It took her less than 2 minutes to decide, "This guy actually seems like a decent person. Just looks like he's been hiding in the woods for a couple of weeks!" She never trusted any of your brothers either. Smart girl.
I know you liked her too. Remember the only time you really got angry with me? I was "messing around" with that girl I met at the pool hall while the other girl was at work. You came in and said, "Hey, can I talk with you for a minute?"
"Sure," as I followed you down the hallway.
"Brother," you turned on me with that quiet, deadly voice, "you are really fucking up here!" It was the hiss from angry snake. "You've met a good woman but you don't seem capable of not messing up any good thing when you have it! Now," you were mellowing again, I was speechless….you took your finger out of my chest, "tell this bitch to roll on outta here and let's go get some whiskey. I've already got some pills."
"Ok, Mark," and away we went……..
You were right about that girl. She was strong enough. Eventually, I married her. In more than 20 years, I have never, never broken the vows that I made to her. If it hadn't been for you that night, I don't know if I'd have ever had that chance. The realization of something good.
And that night, that crazy night when you said, "Make sure you don't take the capsules at the same time you're taking the tablets."
"It would be bad…"
Remember that night?? I guess you don't… Honestly, I only know what people have told me about what happened after that. After 18 beers, how do you rationally define "Bad"? I mean, how "bad" could it really be? That was my fault for not listening to you. I'm sorry.
If you ever run naked down Denman Avenue, you might eventually be able to forgive yourself for the decisions and circumstances that brought you there. Some people though, are never gonna let you live it down.
I couldn't believe it when I heard you'd moved to Alaska. Alaska!?? I figured you had finally gotten your share of your Greek grandfather's trust and actually made a break. You'd gotten out! I was happy for you but surprised. Your brother's all took the shares they got at 25 or whatever age it was you were waiting for, and invested in the drug trade and blowing their minds.
Going to Alaska wasn't nearly as shocking to me as when I heard that you had gotten married! You? Married? Don't get me wrong, you were likeable enough, but man, the shit you carried. I never guessed you could "pull it together" enough to get hitched or that some woman would be brave or crazy enough to take on those demons. However, I was happy for you and surmised you must be in a much better place now. Still, I had my reservations. Do you understand what I mean? I guess you don't…
The Moody Blues? The Moody Blues? Would I have picked them? Hell no… You can call this "Title by Others". No, it wouldn't have been my choice. Ironic that song lyrics were chosen for the title though…
"Master of Puppets"-Metallica. That was you, Mark Edwards. Or maybe "Crazy Train" by Ozzy. I still remember that night you traded all that meth for a tattoo on your chest. A full moon with a bat flying over one side. What the hell were you thinking? It looked terrible to me but was I gonna say that? No…
"AND MARK EDWARDS' CURIOUS MURDER TRAIL" - Curious? CURIOUS?? I suppose that prosecutors are like family - you don't get to pick 'em. I guess that's what you get for being convicted of double homicide.
Mark, who was Mona? Who was this woman that found it within herself to try to save you? What happened? I don't know but she certainly didn't deserve what you did to her. She didn't deserve to be murdered in her sleep after living in fear. And her friend?? Her friend!!?? WHY Mark?
In all our awful years of growing up, through all the shit that we pulled…through every crazy, dangerous, violent time…I never, NEVER, saw you harm someone who was vulnerable, someone who was weak. Someone innocent… Do you know what you've done?? I guess you don't…
I won't cry another tear for you. Not one. I cried when I heard about the murders. You couldn't even kill yourself right. You had to do that in slow motion. You lost your eyes. My mother said you had the mind of a 6 year old at the end. I cried again when I heard that you died in prison.
I won't cry anymore for you, Mark. The memories of you are just another one of the broken window panes inside my soul. I give you no quarter, no understanding, no compassion, no prayers for mercy. DO YOU KNOW THAT??? …I guess you don't…