Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Hero I Met Along Life's Path



Gemma’s post about heroes got me thinking about a few that have crossed my path. Now, I have to warn you upfront. This is not my normal kind of blog. I’m not going to have you sobbing, nor will you be splitting a gut with laugher. But I think it‘s a heartwarming tale, so I decided to share something that happened to me years ago.



“Will you marry me?”

I sat there in that Omelet Shop looking over my plate of smothered hash browns at the man who’d just proposed.

I think I would have been less shocked if he’d pulled a violin out of his ear and started serenading me in Italian. I was . . . speechless. I was also having a hard time swallowing the bite of crispy potatoes covered with melted cheese--a scrumptious meal that the proposer himself had made especially for me and refused to let me pay for.

I met his eyes, certain I’d see laughter hidden in their green depths. No laughter. This man was serious. But he couldn’t be. Could he?

My shock at his proposal stemmed from good reasons—really good reasons. First, I was already married. Second, I was six months pregnant. Third--and I think this was where most of my shock stemmed from--why would he want me? Yeah, my self-esteem was about as large as an undetectable freckle on a lady bug’s nose. But of course, then I realized Robert really didn’t know me.

We had met a few weeks earlier. He was several inches over six feet, broad-chested, probably topped the scales at over 200 pounds, mid-twenties, kind eyes, and a thick head of strawberry blond hair. Not what you’d call a typical hunk, but he had loads of charm and a devilish smile that I’d seen women respond to. He worked at the omelet shop with my mother.

My mother, whom I had been staying with for the last three weeks since my husband of almost two years decided he deserved better than me. Yeah, the husband was a big part of my self-esteem issues. I was young and dumb—a few weeks shy of my eighteenth birthday. Yup, that means I was married at sixteen. But hey, by my family’s standards that was practically an old maid. My mom was married at thirteen.

“I’m serious,” Robert said. “I work two jobs. I don’t make a lot of money, but I pay the bills. I’d be good to you.”

I literally had to pick up my chin off the table. “You can’t be serious.” I dropped a hand on my swollen belly, thinking maybe the man was half blind and hadn’t noticed I had a watermelon-size lump under my shirt and a wedding ring on that hand. “You don’t even know me.”

“I know enough.” He shot a quick glance at my mom working behind the counter.

Just like that, I knew my mom had told Robert about my situation. I felt my face flush. Mortified. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to know how I’d failed. I was going to kill her. Seriously kill her.

“She shouldn’t have said anything.” I picked up my fork and started to play with my food.

“She didn’t tell me much,” he said. “She didn’t have to. The first time I saw you, I felt as if I was looking at an angel with a broken wing. I knew someone was hurting you. And damn it, you are so beautiful and you don’t know it. You’re funny. You’re sweet. And some guy out there is treating you like shit. You don’t deserve that.”

Okay, right then I knew the guy was half blind and functioning on half a brain, too. I wasn’t any of those things. I knew because my husband had told me.

I thanked Robert for his offer, but turned him down. It would take several years before I realized what a gift Robert offered me that day, but even then, I knew he’d made a difference. Yes, I went back to my husband—back into an abusive marriage. I didn’t find the courage or the self-esteem to walk away from him for good for four more years. But the day I jumped on an airplane with a four-year-old daughter, determined that we deserved better, I thought about Robert.

I knew that the courage it took to walk away from an abusive marriage had grown from a seed of confidence planted by a fry cook in the Omelet Shop four years earlier. Robert called me an angel that day, but looking back I think he was the angel, one of those heroic people who speed walk through our lives and yet make a big difference.

Have you had one those angels cross your path? I hope that if there’s anyone out there in the place I was over twenty years ago, I hope you find your own Robert, I hope you’ll realize that you deserve better. And let me tell you, almost a year after I boarded that plane, I met another hero who proposed. The only difference is, I married that one. He’s not perfect, but he’s close, and he’s perfect for me. So for you women out there wondering, there are a few good men amongst us.


Crime Scene Christie—who promises to be funnier next week.


35 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

Dang it, girl! You made me cry!

Christie Craig said...

Ahh, Suzan,

It wasn't supporsed to make you cry!! But thanks.

CC

Susan Gable said...

Awwwwww...what a sweet guy. And what a terrific story.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Susan.

CC

Gemma Halliday said...

Very sweet!

But, now I'm dying to know what happened to Robert!!!

~Gemma

Kimberly Frost said...

Christie -

What a great post!

Hugs,
Kimber

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

Believe it or not, when I go back to visit my dad I always think about him and sort keep a keen eye out for big strawberry blond guys with killer smiles. My mom can't remember his last name and neither can I. I've often wished I could find him, just to tell him what a kind deed he did.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Kimberly,

Thanks for stopping by girl.

CC

Loralee said...

Awww, Christie, this is the stuff romance novels are made of. (wipes eyes) Thanks for sharing.

Mia Rose said...

aww...Christie what a wonderful story! I hope someday your path crosses with Robert again, so the mystery can be solved.
What a wonderful memory to have, thanks for sharing it!
Such a nice way to start out a morning...
:D

Irene said...

This belongs in a book...a memoir, maybe he'll see it and know how much his kindness meant.

Wow. I'm still crying. But it's a good cry!

Keri Ford said...

Great story, Christie. You just never know when a guardian angle will drop from the sky for you.

MsHellion said...

*sniffling, weepy* I thought you said you weren't going to make us sob! You liar!

And yes, I've known some angels like that. There needs to be more of them...but yes.

Christie Craig said...

Loralee,

Thanks for stopping by. I didn't mean to make you tear up girl. Come back next week and I promise to make you laugh.

But you are right. Romance novels have plenty of heroes. I try to make sure all heroes have a bit of Robert in them.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Mia Rose,

I'd love to cross paths with Robert. I think there's a lot of Roberts out there. I think we all have a little bit of Robert in us, we just need to slow down sometimes.

Thanks...

CC

Christie Craig said...

Irene,

Thanks for posting. And sorry I made you cry. I really didn't see this as a tear jerker, just a bit heart warming. But as long as it was a good cry, I guess we're okay.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Keri,

Yup, I'm a firm believer in guardian angels. Sometimes it nothing but a smile from a stranger, that can make someone's day.

So smile big.

Thanks for dropping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

mshellion,

Okay...you guys cry too easily! (smile) Thanks for popping in. And you are so right, we need more angels.

Thanks for posting.

CC

terrio said...

I'm not crying but only barely. This is a great story. And I've had lots of angels come my way. Thankfully, they keep coming too. I met this adorable little angel in a really cool hat in San Fran.

Thanks for the inspiration that maybe there's still an HEA out there for me somewhere. And I hope you do find Robert someday.

Christie Craig said...

Ahh, Terrio,

You were the angel. Even if you didn't win me a basket. :-)

And Girl, believe in the HEA. It will happen, if you follow the right path. You deserve it.

CC

Colleen Thompson said...

What a great story. Some people come into our lives in the exact moment we most need them. Guess that is another way to define angels.

Tori Lennox said...

Aw, Christie! What a great story. I hope you find out what happened to Robert someday!

Estella said...

What a great post.
I believe eveyrone has a guardian angel. We just don't realize it.

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

You are so right. People come into our lives at the right time and somehow manage to just say the right thing. And yes, I think they are angels.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

I hope I discover he's happily married to a woman of his dreams.

Of course, can't you see making this fiction and having these two people single and meeting up later on and finding happiness. Hmm...ideas, ideas.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

I'm with you girl. I think we all have them. I also think we get so busy or wrapped up in negative things, that sometimes we don't see them.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Anonymous said...

Great post, Christie.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Faye.

CC

Lucy said...

That's a very sweet story.

I actually did have someone like that in my life. His name was/is Steve. I met him a few months after I separated from my ex-husband and he made me feel attractive and desirable and all the things I'd stopped feeling with my husband. We remained close friends for years, until he remarried and I felt it might be awkward to have me around so I left it to him to decide if and when we talked. He contacted me a few times after that but then we both kind of moved around and it was hard to keep in touch after a while. *sigh* I miss him.

I honestly don't think I would have made it through that whole experience if he hadn't come into my life. And, to this day, I feel grateful that he came into my life.

catslady said...

That was very touching. I don't think I've met any angels (especially of the male persuasion) but them maybe I'm just not recognizing them?

Kate Douglas said...

Christie, I had an abusive marriage and my self-esteem was about where yours was (though thankfully I wasn't pregnant and there were no children) but I married the angel who made me realize I actually wasn't the looser the first husband convinced me I was. I now refer to that first brief marriage as my training marriage--I learned everything I didn't want in a husband! And, almost 37 years, two kids and ALMOST five grandkids later (any day now!) I'm still with the one who will always be my hero...even on the days when I could cheerfully murder him...

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Steve sounds like a great guy. I'm sure you miss him. I find it amazing that people can walk into our lives and make such a big difference and sometimes not even know.

Thanks soo much for sharing.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Okay, I think you'll agree that some of those heroes are of the feline variety. They, too, can make a big difference in our lives.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Kate,

Thank you so much for stopping in. Marriage in training, huh? As hard as it is to say, you mught have a point. It's takes having a bad one to really appreciate a good one.

Thanks for posting. And congrats and good luck on the new grandchild.

CC

Terry in Gadsden Alabama said...

Christie , thanks for posting this story.
It made me think a lot about somethings that i went through with my first marriage. I just wish i knew why we didn't take what our ANGELS told us as GOSPEL and save ourselves from more heartache.
I hope your Angel knows you have found peace and a wonderful husband.