From the Heart

An Open-Letter to Ken Griffey, Jr.

It’s over for real this time

February 17, 2009

Dear Junior,
I’m not dumb enough to think that you’ll actually read this letter, now that you got what you needed from me and cozied up to someone else, but that’s OK, because even though it’s addressed to you, I’m not writing it for you. No, Ken, I’m writing it for me and for every other spineless guy who’s ever let someone lead him on and use him to negotiate better relationship terms with a more confident, cooler, and all-around more desirable guy.

After you left, I accepted that things were over between us, and I tried to move on. I got a new place, where I wouldn’t be reminded every day of all the good times we had in those Seattle summers long gone. Sure, I’d pull out your picture every once in a while and get a little misty, but I’d remind myself that I had a new guy in my life. And even though it never felt like he’d completely commit to me and that we had to speak to each other through an interpreter, it was enough to dull the pain of watching you walk out my door.

But after a decade of acting like you’d never known me — even though it was me who took you to your first big parties — your life started to circle the bowl, so you started looking around for a soft place to land. You didn’t look as good as you used to, and you couldn’t catch anyone else’s eye the way you used to, and it hurt, didn’t it? I told myself that you got what you deserved, but who was I kidding? I kind of felt bad for you. I wanted to call, just to say hi and to let you know that not everyone thought you were washed up, but I was afraid, you know? I thought you’d let my call go to voice mail and then never call me back, and I’d be right back to where I was when we broke up — drinking myself to sleep and cruising the bars for more guys who couldn’t speak my language.

So when you started to call me a couple months ago, I got excited. You were showing an interest in me. (And let’s be honest, time hasn’t been good to me either.) So I started to think, "Yeah, this could work out. We’re both older and more mature now, and there’s no way he would try to hurt me again." My buddy Jack told me to be careful, that I’d moved on, that the past was the past, that there were plenty of younger guys out there for me to hook up with. And he was right, but dammit, Ken, I couldn’t quit you. Nostalgia is a manipulative bitch. I just had to call you back, because we had it so good back then. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, and we’d probably get drunk and throw things at each other every once in a while, but it would be better than not having anyone to get drunk with and throw things at. So you had me. I was yours, dawg.

Except, I wasn’t.

I should have known it would happen like this — oh, why didn’t I just listen to Jack? — but I just wanted to believe that you’d changed. You used me, didn’t you? No one even remembered your name, but as soon as I started to answer your middle-of-the-night calls, you started to get other options. Better options. So you stopped calling. You didn’t even text me to say it was over. You played me, man. And that’s cold—even from you. So this is it. No more. I’m done for real this time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy some flowers for a very angry Japanese man.

Sincerely,

Seattle

P.S. By the way, I always thought it was lame — and a little creepy — that you wanted me to call you the Kid.

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