I chose to write this true story about a favorite relative in first person in order to retain the impact it had on me.
I was never sure if he loved me. I mean right off, Burt liked my sister. I don’t know why. I mean, Tina, she’s pretty in a tomboy way, but I’m the real girl with my flamey hair and legs all the way down to China. So, I don’t know why the boys like her so much. I guess ’cause she’s fun. I was never fun. I was too much work: “I’m not ready yet!” “No! It’ll mess up my hair!” Hah!
But the minute I saw Burt, I loved him. He was tall and skinny, but with cute bulgy little muscles. He lifted weights and was so vain—every time we’d go by a mirror, I’d check my make-up and he’d check his muscles. Hah!
First he come around hoping Tina would break up with Jim. Idiot. I mean, he’s Jim’s best friend! But then we started talkin’ and something just clicks. Well, that and he keeps looking at my gams. Anyway, pretty soon me and Burt are an item. I was so nuts about him. I just wished he’d’a asked me to marry him before Jim and Tina got engaged.
Anyways, five months after they got married, me and Burt tie the knot, and all I wanted was to sign that paper and drag him off to my cave, you know? Me cave girl! Hah!
We left the reception in a convertible Burt borrowed from his cousin Franky. We got this bottle of champagne—I know we shouldn’ta brought it, but we did. And we’re laughing, and Burt’s glowing. Glowing! And I’m thinking, “That’s ‘cause of me. I make my man glow!” Anyways, we’re going down this highway in the middle-a-nowhere, and I’m so happy I’m thinking it’s gonna last forever!
But then one minute I’m pouring champagne and the next I’m in the hospital. And the first thing I say–no, scream–is, “Where’s my Burt!” So, Mom and Tina, they told me what happened.
We hit a tree. There was this truck, and we swerved and hit a tree and totaled Franky’s Pontiac. Hell, almost totaled us. Burt, he come to about half a hour later, and I’m not even in the car, I’m out front on the ground. They said I looked like a broke rag doll all covered in blood.
Poor Burt, he didn’t know if I was alive! But he gets outta the car and he picks me up and carries me two miles without stopping till he comes to a gas station. And then he sits down with me in his arms, and says, “Help my Nancy!” over and over again, “Help my Nancy!”
When I wake up, Mom and Tina are there, and they tell me what happened, and then I fall back asleep. And when I wake up again, Burt’s there in a wheel chair, holding my hand. He says, “Hiya, doll,” and there’s tears in his eyes. And then I see his legs. They’re both in casts. And that’s when I find out that he…my Burt…he carried me two miles on two broken legs!
Then I put my hand on his face and he kissed it, and I finally knew: My Burt’s not some big hero, he’s just a ordinary, vain, skinny guy that did the impossible…
Because he loved me.