I thought it would go away, but the guilt remains the same, drenching me in sweat in the night, driving me out of bed at 5 AM to write this, sick and exhausted, dogging me to the end. We're all sorry after the fact.
I was angry and frustrated being a Nowhere Man. "Everyone else lies and gets away with it. I must be a fool to play by the rules." I was tired of taking the blame for the self-imposed miseries in my life - even though I know that course is the wellspring of terrorism. I wanted to say "Fuck it!" just once. I knew better, but like Moses striking the rock, a moment of weakness has forever altered my path for the worse.
The lie I told myself was this: I work for the Research Institute therefore everything I do is automatically covered by them. I racked up $60,000 in expenses before I was finally able to gather the strength to stop. Everything has to be in the budget first no matter what. Can't have rogue operations like my underwater experiments. What I did was daylight madness. The auditors outed me, of course. I have no words.
I cannot pay off 60,000 in this lifetime or ten lifetimes. That would be the only way to avoid criminal charges. As it is, it sits before the board who could decide my fate in the next ten hours or ten years, as they see fit. No way I can survive ten years of this waiting and dreading. It's eating at me day and night even as I pretend everything is normal at work. My co-workers know none of what is happening. I keep imagining their reactions when it comes to light. How will she react? What would he say?
You compartmentalize, do mental tricks to block it from your mind, but you can only spin the plates so long before they come crashing down. Believe me, there is no triumph of the will in the end. The mind games are brutal, hoping against hope there is an answer, a fairy tale ending. But there is nothing inside me that believes that. Even God cannot intercede:
"Make every effort to reconcile with your adversary while you are on your way to the magistrate. Otherwise, he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and the officer may throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny!"
The release of death would be a blessing for me. I took a sad song and made it sadder. What a moron I was. I can beat myself up or loathe myself or participate in any other self-flagellation but it never rights the wrong. I can't look anyone in the eye at work and they don't know why. Perhaps they think I'm shy. It's a terrible prison being surrounded by people who don't know your whole truth. You walk around feeling like you need to apologize or something.
It's only money, I tell myself. It isn't real. The work I do has value. The unauthorized project I did was intended to have value, I didn't use the money to buy a Maserati. Those are real things and that should count. Those are my arguments for retaining a sense of worth. Truth is, I was so deeply frustrated in my personal life I let it spill over into work. Funny, that. Maybe I thought punishing myself for her loss was the same as having kept her. I was evading responsibility in my personal affairs so I decided to express my crime by evading responsibility at work, committing a legal crime. Is that what happened? The lengths we'll go to to feel a moral person.
I am tired and the toll of this is sapping my health. I can see no way out of the box. It's not true where there's life there's hope. Yeah, I see these fuckers every day being blatantly dishonest and getting away with it, making lucrative careers out of it right in the open. But God damn, I'm telling you it's not the way to go. It betrays everything of worth in your life. Feeling I had no worth is what got me into this mess. All I can do at this point is try to be a model prisoner. Pray for the dishonest ones you see, their fate is not a fortunate one and we're all in this together.