Unsigned Letter Received from Parts Unknown
By Neil Vogler
I’m not dead, son. Remember that. You might be tempted to write me off numerous times in the years to come, and imagining me dead might be the easiest way to deal with the feelings you have. I understand that, but I am not dead, nor do I wish to be, nor (if I have my way) will I die for many decades to come. Remember that, too: your Daddy doesn’t give up. So far as I’m concerned, the only view to take in this life is the long view.
I’m not dead, then, but I have disappeared. So far as the world knows I am gone without trace. The only trace of me left, in fact, will be this letter, and though I am a sneaky and tricky-minded fellow, I can promise you there are no coded messages in this letter, or secret words, or hidden co-ordinates, or otherwise any other hints or tips of use to the people who would like to see me lying on a slab.
I hope you keep this letter to yourself, but if you don’t, I understand. If you have to give this up you should know that you are in no way assisting the authorities or placing me in any further danger by doing so. That’s part of the reason this letter is not signed, and no-one is named within it – not even you, its intended recipient.
With all that out of the way, let’s get down to business.
I love you. From the moment you blinked at me with eyes that had never seen anything before in that hospital room eight years ago, I have been hopelessly, unbendingly in love with you. There is no love like a parent’s love. You should never doubt that I love you and have always loved you and always will. And you should also know that the strength of that love will never wane.
I have not abandoned you. We’ll see each other again. I am waiting for the day, and I am planning for the day. You’ll be grown-up when it happens, and I will weep for the years we’ve lost, but I will also cry with the joy of finally seeing the incredible man you will undoubtedly become. It’s a long time in the future, as I write this, but time is the important factor here. Time is our friend and our most important ally. Time changes all things, and regimes change, laws change, allegiances change, enemies die, and certain acts diminish in importance in the face of new evidence or new ways of thinking. It’s time we need here; time will save us.
As you grow older, the details of everything surrounding my exit from this country and your life will become hazy, and it is likely that you will be consistently lied to anyway by anyone in a position to supply you with information. I will be vague here, out of necessity, but essentially this is what happened. I used to work for the Government. The truth about any Government is that, behind the scenes, there is no moral compass. All that matters is preserving power and gaining more power. Being in Government is like captaining an out-of-control freight train, and certain people are employed to keep that train on the rails, come hell or high water, regardless of the unjust and morally dubious choices that sometimes – in fact, always – have to be made.
I used to work for one of those people, one of the fixers, one of the supposed protectors of the realm. The nature of the business is that you don’t really know who works for who or where the strings are ultimately being pulled from, and for a number of years I laboured under the misapprehension that I was in the employ of an inherently good man who was only trying to do the right thing. As such I operated under his instruction. My belief in his ideology was such that I kept working for him even when the things I was being asked to do were morally questionable. I always thought that things would get better, that things would eventually right themselves. But I was wrong, son. I was naive and idealistic, and I paid dearly for it.
I saw some things, things that I can’t go into here. But there are certain things that you can never unsee and never wipe from your memory, much as you would like to. What I saw on a particular night one July changed me forever, and I realised something: I am a good man who wants the world to be better, not worse.
I am a good man that needs the world to be better. And a man that possesses certain highly-developed skills.
When I eventually realised how wrong I had been, I could no longer work for what I now knew to be a corrupt, venal, evil person. A person I found out had hurt many, many others. So I used my skills. I sat back and took my time. I planned everything, down to the tiniest detail, and then I made damn sure he could never hurt anybody ever again.
Of course, that kind of action cannot go unanswered inside the world in which I operate. So they did what I knew they would: they smeared my name, they fabricated a potent and dangerous pack of lies, and they put together a task force to hunt me down and kill me.
The people they sent did not succeed. And if they continue to send others, then each new set of people will keep on failing. On this you may be sure.
The only thing they have succeeded in doing is separating me from you, temporarily. And that hurts, but one day I hope you will understand that what I did I did for the world, and for my own soul, and for the souls of all those unknown, voiceless, silent victims out there.
Your mother is the best woman I have ever known. You and your mother are the best things about this world. There are demons in this world, son, but there are angels too, and your mother is one of their number.
Live your life. Know that I’m waiting for you. Know that when I can, I will be watching, and when I can’t be watching, I’ll be thinking of you and with you in spirit. Should you ever wonder what I am like – if your memory of me ever threatens to fade – then know that I like my cricket and motor racing, that I enjoy a Guinness, that I drink dark rum on special occasions, that I have always detested wearing suits, that I have never smoked, that a Sunday roast is my favourite meal, that jazz is my favourite music, that I only shave every other day, that I once played the trumpet, that I once saw a UFO, that I never met a tree that I didn’t want to climb as a boy, that I don’t wear cologne, that I love Hitchcock’s films most of all, that I know who actually killed JFK, and that I have never, ever been happier than those times when I was sitting in a room with you in my arms and your mother at my side.
They’ll never come after you, son, simply because they don’t know about you. Your mother and I married in secret, and I went to great pains to ensure my double life was partitioned as securely as is humanly possible.
Live your life. Pay attention to your instincts. Don’t be sad, and don’t be scared. I am somewhere thinking of you, and dreaming of the time when we will all be reunited. I am your father, forever. And you are the light that shines in every dark corner of my life.
Trust in me. Trust in time, and that the good will out. And this I promise you: we will see each other again, my son.Tweet