Hi everyone, GuitarGurl here. If you ever need a friend, really need a friend, I hope you have one like our beloved PerfesserN. He was my teacher, the best one I ever had. Oddly enough, he didn’t teach English or creative writing, but he required us to keep a journal of our daily lives. When I described something that was happening in my home, he sat down with me and asked exactly the right questions.
Yes I was being abused.
No I didn’t want to tell anyone, because I’d heard horror stories of foster care.
Long story short, he and his wife, both teachers, took in a 12 year old stray kid.
This was in 1992.
I stayed with them until I graduated from High School in 1998. I joined the Army and met Prince Charming in MP training.
I got out of the Army in September of 2001 – you all know what happened then.
Prince Charming re-upped and spent half his time away.
Meanwhile, I’m an Army Wife living in Savannah, Georgia while Sergeant Charming is sleeping his way through half the other Army wives whose husbands are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I hadn’t seen PerfesserN, okay, his name is Norman, I hadn’t seen Norman in maybe five years, even though we talked two or three times a year, just to keep up.
He asked if I still liked to write, I didn’t have the guts to tell him then that I hadn’t written anything since that journal he had me keep back in 6th grade. But we talked about stories and I said, “How about a story where the wife is being battered.”
Norman picked up on that right away.
Almost 20 years later he still knows the questions to ask.
I got rid of Sergeant Charming last December. It got ugly, he said bullets were cheaper than lawyers and that he’d just have to have an accident. Happens all the time, sorry ‘bout that.
Apparently he’d never heard of digital recorders.
So, anyway, how was your Christmas?
I couldn’t finish the story I’d started, well, the story that Norman helped me with every page along the way, and I said, “It’s a shame it’ll never be finished.”
I guess I pushed the right buttons, ‘cause Norman finished the story for us.
Someday, I might write again. But for now just let me say, Thank you, Norman, the best Dad a messed up girl could ever have.
Okay, that may or may not make it into the final draft, but GuitarGurl is not the pitiful little thing she makes herself out to be, she’s strong and independent and smart. Battered hearts is her story; I was just the guy who finished telling it. There’s a great line from an episode of Firefly, “If you can’t run, you walk, if you can’t walk, you crawl, and if you can’t crawl, well, you get someone to carry you home.”
It was my pleasure to carry this story home.
Having GuitarGurl join the family was good for all of us, she made us apprecieate what we had even more, and my two girls adore her and stay in touch with her no matter where she goes to this day.
What I'm trying to say is that I'm not the saint she's made me out to be - I've screwed up probably as much, if not more, than any other dad.
We had room in our home and our hearts for one more daughter, and we're all better off for it.