I chose to tell this true story about a favorite relative (name changed) in first person in order to retain the impact it had on me.
I never knew for sure if Burt loved me. I mean right off the bat he liked my sister. I don’t know why. I mean, Tina was pretty in a tomboy way, you know, but I was the real girl with my flamey hair and legs all the way down to China! So, I don’t know why the boys liked Tina so much. Of course, she was fun. I was never fun. I was too much work: “I’m not ready yet!” “No, it’ll mess up my hair!”
But the minute I seen Burt, I loved him. He was so cocky. Tall and skinny, but with cute bulgy little muscles, you know? He lifted weights and was so vain—every time we passed by a mirror, I’d check my make-up and he’d check his muscles. Hah!
First he came around hoping Tina would break up with Jim. Idiot. I mean, he was Jim’s best friend! But then we started talkin’ and something just clicked. Well, that and he kept looking at my legs. Anyway, by the time Jim and Tina got engaged, me and Burt was an item too. I was so nuts about him. And I was pretty sure I had him. But I always wished he’d asked me to marry him before Jim and Tina got engaged.
Anyways, five months after they got married, me and Burt tied the knot. All I wanted was to sign that paper and drag him off to my cave, you know? Just me and Burt!
We left the reception in a convertible that Burt borrowed from his cousin Franky. We had this bottle of champagne—I know we shouldn’a brought it, but we did, so get over it. And we were laughing! But it wasn’t the champagne. I mean, Burt was glowing. Glowing! And I kept thinking, “He’s glowing ‘cause of me. I make my man glow!” We was laughing and singing, and going down this highway in the middle-a-nowhere, and I was so happy I thought it would go on forever!
But then, I don’t know what happened. I mean, I literally don’t know. One minute I’m pouring champagne and the next minute I’m in the hospital. The first thing I said—no, screamed—was, “Where’s Burt!” So, Mom and Tina told me what happened.
We hit a tree. There musta been a truck or something. Anyways, we hit a tree and totaled Franky’s Pontiac. Almost totaled us! Burt come to half an hour later, and I wasn’t even in the car, I was on the ground out front. They said I looked like a rag doll all covered in blood. And everything—I mean everything—was broken. My back’s still not great.
Poor Burt, he didn’t even know if I was alive! He got out of the car and he picked me up…my Burt picked me up and carried me two miles without stopping till he got to a gas station. And then he sat down with me in his arms and said, “Help my Nancy!” over and over again, just like that, “Help my Nancy.” And that’s all he said.
When I woke up, Mom and Tina were there, and they told me what happened. Then I fell back asleep again. And when I woke up six hours later, Burt was sitting there in a wheel chair, holding my hand. He said, “Hiya, doll.” And there was tears in his eyes. Then I noticed his legs. They was both in casts, all the way up to his hips. And that was when I found out that he…my Burt…carried me for two miles on two broken legs! One mile for each leg.
I put my hand on his face and he kissed it. And then I knew. My Burt wasn’t some big hero. He was just a ordinary, vain, skinny guy that did the impossible…
Because he loved me.