It’s Not a Secret Anymore

Step Into the Light

Journal Entry 13 – December 8, 2022

By Steven Maisenbacher

Well there are some things that need to be said. The first one is yesterday I went out to the college and learned how to log into a computer. My tutor taught me how to get to the needed site, where my assignments will need to be posted, and how to log out. When he asked me how much I knew, I said, let’s start here: Where is the power button? LOL I took notes…lower left-hand corner in case any of you don’t know.

Getting that out of the way I felt very much a sense of accomplishment. It was amazing how proud I was at that moment. I had actually beat the computer that had me so cowed and in fear for several months. Now I know how to get on, put my lessons in, and submit them. This is important because I will not be getting any exemptions. I’m going to be treated like any other student and in hindsight I think I’d rather have it this way. I’m not special; I’m just a man.

I want to ask a couple questions. If you’ve read more than one sentence of my writings, raise your hand, and also note yes or no at the computer screen if you feel like I’ve put myself out there by, as someone I love said this morning, “Getting on the world wide web.” I never thought of it like that and I asked her if she meant with my stories I write? And she said, “No with that computer that you learned how to use yesterday.”

But that wasn’t what I thought of and it wasn’t what touched me to write on today. I want to tell you some things. First, everything I say on here I feel deeply, I believe to be true, and I pretty much don’t pull any punches. I’ve opened myself up, made myself vulnerable, handed you my heart-strong feelings on a screen and I’ve shared them with everybody and anybody who wants to read them.

For any who were interested I’ve related all the processes of everything I’ve been through, from getting ready to get out of prison, to finally acknowledging, “Yes I am getting out, this is happening,” and then actually dealing with moving towards the second that it happened. I’ve put my tears into this, I’ve put my failings in this and I’ve put my triumphs in this. And while they may not seem like much of a triumph to the world at large it has meant living in a world that remembers where I came from and how long I was there.

Twenty seven years ago I lost the love of my life. Truth of the matter is, she left because of me; because of my lifestyle, my attitudes, my propensity to commit crimes so horrible that no one should be allowed to do — and I wasn’t. As I’ve said before, I paid the price for that but I never told you about the greatest cost. My behavior cost me the woman I love more than anything in the world. She left because she was afraid of who I had become and who I would become if I was released.

Even with that she still supported me in front of the parole board as did her family by letters. In truth she was afraid that I would take her down with me in a hail of gunfire and I’m sorry to tell you that her fears were almost dead right on the money. I cannot blame her a bit for having left. After I came home the first time from the feds, I tried to find her. I gave a lump sum of money to an attorney and within a week he returned to report that she was dead. He said there was no record of her anymore, so she was dead and he suggested maybe I should move on with my life. The short and sweet of it, I went off the deep end; I wanted to die too. I just didn’t have the guts to keep going in a world without her.

As hard as this may be for some of you to believe, some men love their wives or lovers so deeply that there is no world without them. They may not tell you that when they have the remote on Sunday football. They may not tell you that you’re the reason they want to continue drawing breath and life. They may not tell you that you are in every smile and every thought and every action. But ladies, let me tell you something, that’s the truth of the matter. Most men won’t say it. They’re all stuck on that “Macho, I’m a man” thing, but the bottom of the matter is some men love that deeply.

So I picked up a weapon and I went out and committed a bunch of crimes hoping they would kill me upon apprehension. It didn’t work out that way. There’s nothing like having the law get the drop on you. Unless you’ve ever been in a situation like that you’ll never know what I’m speaking about in that instance. I hope to God, I hope by everything that’s sacred you don’t.

There’s nothing good in being bad. Let that one sentence stand on its own merit cuz it sure the hell can. The only thing in being bad is pain and anguish, loss and sorrow and hurting others. If you find anything good in that, turn this computer off and leave this page cuz this ain’t the place for you.

So, a month after I came home I received a Facebook friend request from someone with a name that struck me as odd and a face that looked hauntingly familiar so I thought I’d go ahead and accept. The information provided in the profile included things that intrigued me because there was really only one person who would know those dates and places. Then I saw a picture of a tattoo, the same tattoo I have on my left forearm. My wife, my ex-wife, Janice, designed it and had it put on her inner arm before I ever got it and in fact she gave the pattern to me. It was our credo and our little motto:

“Forever I have, Forever I will” …love you.

Immediately I responded with, “Where the hell did you get that tattoo?” There’s only one person in the world that I know of with that tattoo?!? She, of course, responded just as defensively. Months before, Janice had discovered my book, Long Road Home, on line and had read about my entire journey. Even before she reached out to me, she knew that I was a changed man but was still unsure about how I would accept her.

So let’s get to the Hallmark moment: This was indeed my Janice, the woman I’ve loved more than any woman ever. The same woman whose lost love was enough to drive me to near suicide by cop. Yes, some men love that deeply. I just happen to be one of them.

Now Janice has come back into my life – like a storm, a whirlwind, a hurricane! For you music lovers, yes she rocked me Like a Hurricane! She had been following me all those years, keeping tabs on where I was, and how I was, and when I was getting out. The same woman I thought was dead, the woman I spent 20 some years in prison loving so deeply that I couldn’t come out of it. I lived with the anguish of having lost that love without ever telling her how sorry I was for the things that I had done, for the person I was, and never having the chance to tell her I’m not that person anymore.

This woman has come back and she has given me the opportunity to tell her how sorry I am and that I understand why she left. I also understand that the lawyer that took my money and told me she was dead scammed and robbed me. There’s such a thing as karma and he has passed away as well, so I guess that money is gone, but I’d sacrifice that money a hundred times over, a thousand times over, for just one moment of her time, one “Good Morning,” one “I love you.”

As much as possible we talk every day. We are as deeply in love as two people can be and it’s not going to stop. This isn’t puppy love infatuation stuff, this love has endured for more than 25 years. Neither of us ever stopped loving the other. For her, enough to follow me all those years in her sorrow of having walked away. Me for all those years and my sorrow for having sent her away by my own behaviors.

Let me tell you something. I was wrong and she was right. I can’t get her to agree to that 100% but she sees my logic. Had I not been a bad man she would have still been with me all those years and I venture to say that had I changed before she left I would never have gone back to prison. Her love sustains me. She makes me want to be a better person just to make her proud to be my woman.

And now Janice, this woman, this amazing woman is in the process of turning her whole life upside down just to get back to me, to be with me! How powerful is that love? Have you ever felt love that strong? If not, I’m sorry; really, really sorry because until you do you’ll never understand just how powerful love can be.

So for the moment I’ll say this. Walmart wouldn’t hire me, so you won’t get to hear me say “Hi, Welcome to Walmart. Enjoy your shopping experience.” Evidently there are people more qualified to say that than I am. But that’s okay. Creator has my back and when the time is right I’ll find what I need to do. At this moment I’m waiting for a phone call from a company interested in the real qualifications on my resume. If after an in-person interview they decide to offer me a job I will be able to earn $18 an hour to train as a CNC (Computer something something) operator machinist. As you can see, I need the training. I can’t wait to go out to talk with them and then get to work. The work schedule won’t conflict too terribly with my college studies. I may have to rearrange my classes, but that’s alright. This is not a race, it’s an endeavor and besides that, Janice and I will need the income when we are remarried and move into our new apartment.

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

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