For reasons I’d rather not get into, recent events have got me examining a critical point in my life some 40 years past. No, this is not some mid-life crisis or health scare. Just a long-overdue, honest look back on those times and how they shaped my life, and even to this day, impact the decisions I make.
You see, back when I was six years old I made a decision on what I was going to do with my life and for the next decade nothing swayed me from that path. I was “Point A” and “Point B” was my goal. There would be no detours. No obstacle would block my way. So set on that path I was that all the normal things kids did, I did not do. I grew close to no friend, male or female, as those relationships were entanglements to be avoided if I wished to reach my stated goal. I did not engage in after-school activities. I even did my four years of high school in a grueling, accelerated 2-year program so I would graduate early and attain my goal right on time.
Then, just when I could almost touch that which I had worked and sacrificed so long for, it was stolen from me. Betrayed by someone close by a whisper campaign of lies and slander simply for the pure pleasure that destroying someone’s dreams gave their evil soul. Making matters worse, others who should have known better either believed the lies or stood by and did nothing to defend me.
Do you have any idea what it is like to be 18 and have nothing left? There had been no Plan B, no alternate “if I don’t get there then I’ll do this instead” to fall back on. Nothing but the realization that for the next 50-70 years there was nothing but an empty, day-to-day existence.
Needless to say, this sent me on a downward spiral over the next few years. Struggling to find some purpose to fill the void left behind when the only thing that mattered to me used to reside. Rock bottom literally arrived one day just over 30 years ago when I was all but a few seconds from ending my life and all the pain and misery that it was.
What saved me was the rage at the injustice of what had been done, that not only had the guilty gone unpunished, but they had been hailed as a great person by those who should have been defending me. While I bear them no malice for being deceived, I would not give my betrayer the satisfaction of driving me to an early grave.
So I set about rebuilding my life. The person I had been existed no longer. I could not remain alive, or sane, without letting him go. He could look at this world and see nothing but the good. He could give everyone the benefit of the doubt. He could believe that everyone is deserving of a second chance. I could not, not after seeing first hand just how evil people can be.
But over the past three decades I have managed to build a very good life. I have a great career and a wonderful family – a wife, children and grandchildren – and I would not trade them for anything in this world. And the person who wronged me is dead now, and facing God’s judgment. I will put my trust in Him to see to it that justice is finally done. And ask His forgiveness that I hope that person resides in a very warm place right now. In the meantime, while I still regret the life that was stolen, I can finally make peace with my past.
Which brings me to you, the person who claims the name Camestros Felapton. You are little better than that person who wronged me so long ago. There is nothing but evil in your heart and your soul is as cold and black as the empty space between the galaxies.
I recently began a quest to discover your true identity, to see to it that you would be held to account for all of the wrongs you have done to me and to others like me who did nothing to you to deserve such treatment.
I now have that information. I have it in my power to destroy everything you are by doing nothing more than sharing it with the world at large.
I want you to remember this day, this moment, for the rest of your time on this Earth, Cam. I want you to forever feel the grip of my hand around your fake identity’s throat. I want you to remember the feeling of being caught in the crosshairs of someone armed with an informational bullet that would shatter your very existence and make your life a living hell.
Do not forget this feeling, Cam.
Because I am not going to pull that trigger. I am going to turn you loose from my grip. I will keep this information to myself, never sharing it with another living soul.
I was once a man of God, Cam. While I will always come to the defense of anyone unjustly attacked as I was, I will not become that which nearly destroyed me so long ago. Today, I take the first step on my path to reclaiming the man I once was by granting you a chance at your own redemption.
You have a chance now to examine your own life, to recognize the wrongs you have done and to change your ways. Perhaps by your example, others like you – Mike, Cora, Doris and the others – will come to see the evils within themselves too.
The person I once was would give them that chance to redeem themselves. For his sake, I will do the same. This will be the last time I mention any of you anywhere. I will pray to God that you find your way back from the abyss.
I will pray to God that I someday find that person I once was so I can assure him that the crime committed against him did not go unpunished and that those who so wronged him ultimately failed in their quest to destroy him.
Go in peace, Cam, you and your companions, and may God grant you redemption. May he do so for all of us.