He was barely able to admit calling you his brother and refused to help me find you stating, “You’re better off having never met him.”
I met your Father in real life when I was 11 or so. We lived in Omaha at the time, for the first time in my life Mom and I lived in place that was nice.
One weekend he just showed up at the apartment looking like the Marlboro man. What was the name of his business? J and B Tree Service or something? That first time he said “I’m only gonna agree to see you under one condition,”
I would have agreed to anything, he was your Father, he was the closest I had gotten to you and my heart ached to finally meet you. Whatever he was about to ask me for, I was going to do.
“You have to call me Grandpa.”
My little heart exploded. It was just like the movies, I just knew that I was about to meet you and you would be next through that door. I was even having thoughts about changing my last name to Baker, just like you. He only came one time after that, he took me clay pigeon shooting at some farm in Blair.
I was always a little different, Father. When I was little and didn’t know better I used to get caught dressing in Mom’s clothes. Then, when I would get shamed for doing it I just switched to doing it alone, then I used make-up to. I was never good at it. I never really wanted to hang out with other boys, I just wanted to play with dolls and cousin Jenny’s pink barbie car. The shooting was loud and scary and hurt my shoulders.
I wanted to impress him so I shot round after round until I could blast them out of the sky two at a time. I thought for sure I had impressed him so on the way home I asked if I could meet you now. He got angry and wanted to know why he wasn’t good enough. My little mind couldn’t wrap itself around what was happening.
I figured he was angry because I was to fat, didn’t shoot good enough or didn’t talk manly enough, maybe Mom told him I dressed like a girl. Looking back, I didn’t care he was upset, I only cried that week because I wasn’t going to meet you. Mom was a saint.
Did you know I was adopted? Patricia Utnage gave birth to me but Valerie, her older sister adopted me. I don’t know when or why. Neither of them really talked about the adoption candidly, both spent their lives sheltering me to a degree I suppose. In retrospect, I have my theories.
I was born Jeffrey Eugene Utnage February 25th, 1982 in Omaha, NE. Today, I am about to turn 37 and am now Ruth Anne Utnage, female. I was always a little different…
I am in prison now, I committed a sex crime and I was given a sentence of 140 months to Life, I am up for parole in 2021. I am hopeful. You know something? I have thought about you every day of my life, not a day has gone by from childhood to now that I haven’t thought about the day you suddenly appear. It gives me hope.
I know what it feels like to screw things up. Its a hard lesson to learn, to not be selfish. I just wanted to say that I forgive you, it’s alright. I still just want to meet you, flaws and all. I don’t need answers, words can’t describe the intricacies of ourselves anyway. I don’t need you, I just want to know you. If I can still hope for you, whom I’ve never met, maybe my kids will one day reach out to me? Maybe…I’ll be ready for them with open arms and a stable life.
I am much happier now. I hate what I’ve done, the man I never truly was. But I love the woman I am today. You have a daughter…
Here’s hoping for second chances…a concept my life depends on.
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Jeff aka Ruth Utnage
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage D-610-2
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272