Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Eyes of the Beholder

One recent muggy summer evening I came home from a scrape-your-back- side-hard day at work to see an inbox message on Facebook: “I’m talking junk about you online here. Check out Safety Cab University.”

I froze for a Nano-second. What could my friend Chuck, be writing about me? I’m a beyond-middle-age woman (unless I live to be 104 years-old), with two children, a hubby, a spastic dog and a mortgage. What’s to write about? But you know me, curiosity won out and I keyed the words Safety Cab University into the search box on Facebook. By the time I finished reading, I was in tears, happy, memory-embraced tears. I saw my past self in a way that I would have never envisioned. This is the “junk” he wrote about me.

“She was beautiful, and crying in my back seat. I don't remember what had her so upset, but I asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She did.

Therapy at $1.20 per mile. That's what cab drivers do. Part of the job.

She talked of matters dear to her heart, and even though she was crying, she was SO beautiful. When we got to her destination, we sat a few minutes more talking about it, although for the life of me I don't remember now what it was.

She was so beautiful, and I was a young single guy with a few bucks, a cool apartment, and an elderly Pontiac convertible. I wasn't ugly; I looked pretty good actually, and my mother taught me to dress well. I asked her if she wanted to go out some time and talk some more.

She did.

We dated for a year or two, and I love her to this day. She is among my favorite Facebook friends. I should point out though; the guy she did marry a few years later is much bigger than me. He is a Facebook friend too, but I don't think I am saying anything here he hasn't known for years.

She was in my back seat, and crying, and she was SO beautiful.”

I was undone. I stepped away from the computer and muttered to myself, “Silly jerk. I never knew.”  I didn’t know, and it was a kindness beyond description that he had written those words.

He doesn’t know that while he was not the love of my life, I loved him. I hope you blush Chuck, because no words will ever convey what a buck-twenty a mile therapy did for me. I was a bit lost. My father had died a few years before and my beautiful Mama and I were at an impasse. We didn’t get along. I was young and headstrong and unable to understand what my mother had lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or what I wanted to be. I felt, overly dramatic I’m sure, that I was useless. On top of that, the man-child I had pinned my hopes on had become less than. He would offer advice the likes of; I needed to lose weight, I should wear a better bra (I swear to the heavens this is true.). He stated, “Why should we hold hands all the time, we’ve been dating forever,” and the real kicker was when he said I should get over the loss of my father. So I became a real witch. Not his fault, just my choice of reaction, which wasn’t pretty.

So into a cab I went one evening, never expecting the kindness of a stranger. It happened like he said. He asked me out, and I said sure. Our first date was wonderful. He came to pick me up at the appointed time, but our home was built like a fortress, back when walls were a foot and a half deep, and I never heard him knock. He went down the street to a pay phone and called me, telling me to answer the door. I rushed out the front door of the house and met him halfway on the sidewalk where he picked me up and twirled me around. We walked back to his Pontiac convertible, top down, and went to The Jade Garden on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. During the course of dinner, the wine bottle fell over and half a bottle’s contents wound up soaking his pant-leg. He commented that the rest of him was fine but, “Now my leg is drunk!”  He made me laugh. He made me comfortable in my own skin.

After dinner we went to Pullen Park for a walk around the lake. We talked and laughed, and talked some more. At one point we climbed the stairs that led to a platform overlooking the park. He stood there, addressing a phantom crowd. “I’m overwhelmed you have all come to see me.” He continued on, and that’s when I stood beside him and started to pantomime doing sign language, as if to translate for the ghostly crowd below. He laughed so hard. It was a belly laugh worthy of award. He took me home, top down, wind weaving its fingers through our hair. A peck goodnight and he was gone. We dated a while, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that it was a worthy adventure.

It’s a kind of blessing after all these many years, to be able to look back and tell my younger self that life was good. You come through sadness and challenge and along the way meet those who make your life richer for their having been there. Sometimes it takes ages to understand, and to see oneself in the eyes of others. Thank you my dear friend for showing me what you saw. I love you back, and you know it. By the way, the husband approved.

(Chuck Morton is a talented musician and writer. He has witty narratives of his adventures in a cab on Facebook. Check out Safety Cab University and click like, because I think you will.)


  1. What a wonderful gift he has given you!

  2. and I want to add that now that I have 4gaby in my Google Reader I am allowed to comment unlike when I was going through FB....yay!!!!

    1. Yippee! Glad you can comment and thanks a million Bev, for all the support. You're right, it was a beautiful gift.

  3. Well, many of us have always known you are beautiful! Chuck just used his wonderful talent to remind YOU! Love ya! (Glad to see you back, Bev!)


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