Theresa Anastasio

#ThirdTimesTheCharm: A Letter from a sinner to his lover


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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s The Charm;

Somewhere around the twentieth letter she had given up any idea of secrecy or discretion. She drank up his words until her veins felt infused with his longing, rage, bitterness, humor, nostalgia and love, so much love.

~~~

My dearest Mary,

I woke this morning with the scent of you as clear as touch in my nose. You’d say that makes no sense if you were here, smell and touch are two different things, you’d say, and then I’d delight in arguing with you. Just because. It’s a sad truth that no one argues with me these days, unless you count Theresa. But there’s no joy in that, it’s like arguing with a child, pointless and absurd. There’s no joy in anything anymore. No, that’s a lie, which, again, were you here, you would be the first to call me on.

What I mean is, I could have sworn on a stack of Bibles that you were here, so strong was the scent of you in my bed. That lightly perfumed body soap mixed with the sweat of our bodies and the detergent you used on our sheets. Sheets you bought for me, or I bought, since it was my money that you would then spend on me so we could carry on pretending I wasn’t paying for everything anyhow. I think that was probably my first mistake–hard to tell, I made so many–not being more honest with you. The irony in that is I was just honest enough to hang myself, to give you the ammunition to destroy us, but not enough to give you a reason to stay. I get that. I really do. Doesn’t change anything, you’re still gone.

But everywhere I see the ghost of you, and worse, our son. Every red-headed woman turning a corner makes that cruel burst of longing re-appear, and every little boy’s laughter, a fresh knife-wound.  The only thing that helps a bit is rocking Kiki to sleep as I did with Tommy. I even agreed to try for another baby with Theresa, thinking that would help, but it just highlights what I’ve lost. I could have a thousand children and love them all, but my heart will never stop missing the one you stole from me.

First, you stole my heart, then my child, and now I am beginning to think you’ve stolen my hope as well. On the other hand, maybe that theft would be a blessing. Hope is a worse poison than anger or hatred. At least with vengeance in my heart, I have a purpose. Would that you could come home long enough to steal my memories as well. Without them, I might be free for once.

Yes, you’re right. That’s a lie, too.

I’ll never be free of you, and I don’t think I want to be. When I was with you I felt the most free I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt like I could just be Michael Downey, the man who loves Mary Gates. Michael Downey, Tommy’s father. Michael Downey, the guy who remembers to set the garbage on the curb, call his mother, buy you flowers on your birthday. Just a regular Joe, no pun intended. See, I still hear your laughter in my ears when I would make a bad pun like that, and I wouldn’t even have had to explain that I was talking about Big Joe and how un-“regular” he is. You just knew. You just knew me, the real me, better than you can possibly realize. Just like you knew even before your mind wanted to accept it that I was a criminal. It was never that you didn’t know me well enough to know I loved you, wanted to be with you and Tommy and not her. It was that you had no faith in me to do something about it.

And that’s where I’m at now, where the theft of hope began, I’m left with the bitter knowledge that the only woman I ever let into my soul had no faith in what she saw. She saw more liar than lover, more sinner than father. If you would have had just a little more faith in me maybe I could have found a way to be all those things at once. That‘s the chicken and egg of it all, did I kill your faith or did your lack of faith make me what you saw? A man who valued power more than his family. Unfortunately, just as I’m not the only thief between the two of us, I’m not the only killer. Because your lack of faith killed that hopeful man named Michael Downey.

Oh, I can just see your eyes narrow, your nostrils flare, and your cheeks flush as fiery red as your hair at the injustice of that statement. 

Come home and argue with me about it. I dare you. 

I love you, always,

Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

#ThirdTimesTheCharm: A Letter from a father to his baby daughter


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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s the Charm;

He let go of Kiki and fished a letter out of his pocket…

~~~

Dear Princess,

I am writing you this letter on the occasion of your seven month birthday. Why seven, you ask? Seven is a lucky number and I want as much luck infused into this letter as I can get. It’s actually my third attempt. The first was a bit too combative I think, a failure on my part to acknowledge the inevitability of certain things. The second, I dwelt a bit too much on other things I’ve lost and which should never be your concern. And so here we are, third time’s the charm, as they say. 

I’m going to hold on to this letter until you are grown and ready to start your own family. Which I hope is long after my death. Just kidding. Today your mother wants to take you to Festa di San Gennaro which I think is a horrible idea because my mind spins with all the possible ways you could get hurt by the crowd or scared by all the noises and scents. When you have your own babies I think you will understand how consumed a parent can get with protecting their child, and that brings me to the point of this letter. I want you to know that I love you far beyond any earthly want or need and that as long as it is within my power–even if that power is only my two bare hands–I will do my best to protect you from harm.

The day I give you this letter, or have it given to you, will be the day you have found someone who will love and protect you as much as your father can. I do hope I will give you this letter someday because even at seven months old I can tell you deserve nothing less than everything your sweet, joyful heart desires. I truly believe you are a gift from a God who has no reason to give a man such as me anything. But I will cherish every moment with you until the day I give you away to another and then I will cherish the memories I have of you.

Please know, in this life and the next, I will always watch over you and love you.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

festadisangennaro

#ThirdTimesTheCharm: A Letter from (a drunk) Mickey Downey to Mary Gates


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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s The Charm;

Beneath the tray was a bundle of letters, no envelopes, about an inch thick…

~~~

My dearest Mary,

I struggle to write this. I guess I’m not sure if you care. I wonder if they’ll even give it to you. I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m not even sure if I’ll ever send it to you. I just can’t help but wonder if I’d stayed that night, hadn’t walked out, if I could have changed your mind. An hour. That’s the length of time it took me to lose everything that mattered. An HOUR and you were gone. I think they do that on purpose, the Feds. That way they can fill your head with lies and manip manu manipulations. Never noticed how long that word was before.

I guess I just need you to know I love you and Tommy and that’s a truth I need to make you know. But they won’t let me see you. They won’t tell me where you are. It’s inappropriate, my lawyers advise, in any case. That’s a long word too. Of course it is but you’re not just any witness are you? I know how this game works and ain’t that just the Goddamned joke of it all? For the first time I want to get to someone just because I need you to understand I was working on it. I had a plan and if you’d just waited. just waited a goddamned hour

 I don’t know what the fucking Feds are telling you but I know for sure whatever you have to say it isn’t enough, so why do this thing? Why? What could they have promised you? Tomorrow I’m going to hope seeing me in court will make you see reason. If you were tired of it I mean I know you were but like I said I was working on it and you can’t take my son from me we could have worked something out

 I hope there’s some way tomorrow

I don’t know maybe it’s best Big Joe is so pissed and Theresa just won’t shut the fuck up about getting her own baby and now I’m just alone

you’ll laugh because I just did that thing you can’t stand, lick the end of my pen. As if anyone ever died from that. I miss the way you nag. I miss tucking our boy in bed and I miss every fuckin thing

I should not write letters when I’m drunk. there. I nagged for you 

I love you

Mickey

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Nine.


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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s the Charm;

He let go of Kiki and fished a letter out of his pocket…

~~~

Dear Princess,

I am writing you this letter on the occasion of your seven month birthday. Why seven, you ask? Seven is a lucky number and I want as much luck infused into this letter as I can get. It’s actually my third attempt. The first was a bit too combative I think, a failure on my part to acknowledge the inevitability of certain things. The second, I dwelt a bit too much on other things I’ve lost and which should never be your concern. And so here we are, third time’s the charm, as they say. 

I’m going to hold on to this letter until you are grown and ready to start your own family. Which I hope is long after my death. Just kidding. Today your mother wants to take you to Festa di San Gennaro which I think is a horrible idea because my mind spins with all the possible ways you could get hurt by the crowd or scared by all the noises and scents. When you have your own babies I think you will understand how consumed a parent can get with protecting their child, and that brings me to the point of this letter. I want you to know that I love you far beyond any earthly want or need and that as long as it is within my power–even if that power is only my two bare hands–I will do my best to protect you from harm.

The day I give you this letter, or have it given to you, will be the day you have found someone who will love and protect you as much as your father can. I do hope I will give you this letter someday because even at seven months old I can tell you deserve nothing less than everything your sweet, joyful heart desires. I truly believe you are a gift from a God who has no reason to give a man such as me anything. But I will cherish every moment with you until the day I give you away to another and then I will cherish the memories I have of you.

Please know, in this life and the next, I will always watch over you and love you.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

festadisangennaro

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Seven.


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~~~

Hello Joey!

I do hope you’re settling in well at school, and that you are not having me on about being happy to go. I usually don’t worry about you pretending to be happy about something you are not, unlike your sister, but in this case you can chalk it up to a case of your father having some anxiety about sending you so far. Not to mention so unsupervised. Yes, I realize it is a military school but I can recall being thirteen with a clarity that would frighten you. I’m sure you have trouble imagining me so young. I wish I had had your maturity when I was that age, who knows what might have happened? In any case I would appreciate you using the new phone and computer I bought you for regular facetime. Emails or letters will not be enough. You are a Downey so I know mischief runs heavy in your veins. And the sneaky twinkle in your sister’s eyes has me uneasy as well. I do want to say I would not mind if you showed an interest in taking up letter writing like me and your great grandpa Seamus. It is a forgotten art form. People just dash off texts and emails these days without a care.

 I just scared myself with how old that made me sound. You can stop snickering any time. On another note, I just got off the phone with your brother who was surprisingly friendly. Well, perhaps not friendly, but polite and animated. He’s moved out of that horrid old house he was renting off 48th and found a single apartment closer to downtown. I said that was a good move because the hours he keeps he has no business having to keep up another man’s yard, and let’s be real the other tenants in that house never did their part. He’s thinking he might be making the rank of Detective soon. I’m sure he figured that would just ruin my day, but quite the opposite. I told him if he doesn’t make it, I could get him placed here in Chicago, the Alderman in our district is always carrying on about needing more boys in blue. Tommy laughed quite a bit at that. Who knows at which part? But he thanked me for the call, which was a first. If you were here you’d be able to tell me if I was making too much out of it. This is another reason I will miss you greatly–our talks about Tommy. It’s not the same with your sister. She is too much of a people pleaser, always wanting to fix things that can’t be fixed. You inherited your poppa Big Joe’s skill for listening. Another forgotten art.

I’d better wrap this up, especially since I will be seeing you soon anyway, in fact, maybe before this letter even arrives. See? Your old man can be sneaky too. Possibly you already knew that. (nyuk nyuk nyuk) I’ve a friend in DC I haven’t seen in quite a while and I thought I’d surprise him with a visit and I can pop over and see you while I’m there. You can show me around your dorm and introduce me to your new friends, of which I am sure you already have several. Did your mother tell you that you actually have a cousin on the Bonanno side not too far from there? I’m not sure of the exact connection, you’ll have to check with her.

I love you and don’t forget I’m always keeping an eye on you, so no shenanigans, alright, boyo?

 See you soon!

Your Loving Father,

Mickey

PS- Keep your grades up and my pilot says he’d be happy to have you along for a ride in the cockpit. Won’t that be a fun bragging right for your friends?

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Six. (Warning: angsty and raw)


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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s The Charm;

Beneath the tray was a bundle of letters, no envelopes, about an inch thick…

~~~

My dearest Mary,

I struggle to write this. I guess I’m not sure if you care. I wonder if they’ll even give it to you. I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m not even sure if I’ll ever send it to you. I just can’t help but wonder if I’d stayed that night, hadn’t walked out, if I could have changed your mind. An hour. That’s the length of time it took me to lose everything that mattered. An HOUR and you were gone. I think they do that on purpose, the Feds. That way they can fill your head with lies and manip manu manipulations. Never noticed how long that word was before.

I guess I just need you to know I love you and Tommy and that’s a truth I need to make you know. But they won’t let me see you. They won’t tell me where you are. It’s inappropriate, my lawyers advise, in any case. That’s a long word too. Of course it is but you’re not just any witness are you? I know how this game works and ain’t that just the Goddamned joke of it all? For the first time I want to get to someone just because I need you to understand I was working on it. I had a plan and if you’d just waited. just waited a goddamned hour

 I don’t know what the fucking Feds are telling you but I know for sure whatever you have to say it isn’t enough, so why do this thing? Why? What could they have promised you? Tomorrow I’m going to hope seeing me in court will make you see reason. If you were tired of it I mean I know you were but like I said I was working on it and you can’t take my son from me we could have worked something out

 I hope there’s some way tomorrow

I don’t know maybe it’s best Big Joe is so pissed and Theresa just won’t shut the fuck up about getting her own baby and now I’m just alone

you’ll laugh because I just did that thing you can’t stand, lick the end of my pen. As if anyone ever died from that. I miss the way you nag. I miss tucking our boy in bed and I miss every fuckin thing

I should not write letters when I’m drunk. there. I nagged for you 

I love you

Mickey

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Five.


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The following is a letter that was written the February before this flashback in First, I Love You;

She smiled remembering it. Little Joey running all over the hotel lobby getting into things the way restless nine year old boys do. Daddy all tense and silent, staring at ‘that woman’, as mom had always called her. And Tommy–Ha!–Tommy, acting like he had just wandered into the Omaha Hilton because he had nothing better to do. But she could see in his eyes he was just as nervous as she was. Just as curious to finally meet his siblings…

And in Second of All;

“We’re here so you can meet your brother for the first time. You can get an ice cream any other time.”

Joey sent a quick resentment-filled look at Tommy who was teasing a furiously blushing Kiki about some boy-band she liked…

~~~

Dear Princess,

I hope you are enjoying Paris! I know I said I wouldn’t “bug you” while you are visiting your mother but I thought it might be nice to get a letter from your old man anyway. It feels strange to be writing to you instead of enjoying your company while I write to others. It’s not only odd in its intended recipient but because my study feels very empty without you. I can feel you rolling your eyes at that, even from across the ocean. Oh well, somehow we will both survive your teen years. You’ll be happy to know your “stinky little brother” has so far kept his promise to stay out of your room. Either that or he is exceptionally talented at not getting caught. Given his parentage, it could go either way. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know he’s still quite jealous you got to go without him. I suggested maybe I could send him to his mother during his own birthday month, but he’s still set on Coney Island.

Speaking of brothers, Tommy will be graduating this May. Since Joey doesn’t want to head to Europe, I thought it would be nice if we could take a trip over to Omaha and see Tommy graduate. Won’t it be nice to meet him in person? Well past time, I think. You’ll find when you get older it’s easy to let time slip away and before you know it your daughter’s wearing lipstick and your oldest son’s graduating high school. You should probably make sure your mother doesn’t see this letter. You know how she gets when people mention Tommy.

I have to run now. Call me when you get this letter so I can hear your sweet voice.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

PS–Remember our deal, you need to be completing your homework. Getting out of school for a month doesn’t mean you can slack off.

PPS–No falling in love with any French boys.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)


Did you know that you can read the entire prologue to Third Time’s The Charm right here on my website? Yep! Right there in the static page tabs above. I’ve included it as a link here for those of you I know like to stay unspoiled!

Third Time’s The Charm.

Expected release date sometime in October.

(Fingers and toes crossed.)

 

In other news, I will be on Jack and Dave’s morning Radio show this Thursday the 18th around 8:40am CST on KLIN 1400/ 94.5 FM out of Lincoln, NE. You can find them online here: http://www.klin.com/pages/7699995.php and you can listen online to KLIN here: http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=KLINAM#Main