I have here a letter from a young woman who will remain anonymous.
“Sean, I’m in a very rough place—the man I love and was supposed to marry ended our engagement and kicked me out of our shared house unceremoniously. A lot of days, it’s hard to see the point in continuing. I don’t know what’s going to happen in my future, and I don’t really want to make it much further into the future these days… But your stories give me something to look forward to every day.”
Well, you’re in luck. Because I have a story for you. This is a story about a young woman I am going to call Becky.
I have known Becky since she was 8 years old. As soon as I received your letter I called Becky for permission to share her story.
Becky and I weren’t close, but we used to be in church choir together. Although, saying we were “in church choir” is laughable, inasmuch as Becky and I would often skip choir practice to
catch frogs in the creek and act like hellions while all the nerds were busy learning about obscure Biblical figures such as “Ehud,” and learning how to sing “shape” notes.
Becky was a tomboy. She taught me how to smoke my first cigarette. I’ll never forget it. We were sitting on a rock. She removed a carton of her mother’s Marlboros and I was terrified that we would end up in hell. Becky assured me that smokers didn’t go to hell unless they smoked more than one pack per day.
I choked and gagged and Becky laughed until she almost drowned in her own sputum.
Becky’s mother died when she was 10 years old. The woman fell down a flight of steps and died of a brain injury.
Her father turned into a shell. Immediately. And Becky became unofficial mother to her two brothers. She was…