Dear reader, I guess you’ll have to take my word on this one. After I wrote this essay, I entered the words “wart on hand” into a search engine. This picture came up of a wart on the base of a little finger on someone’s left hand. Scout’s honor!
By Richard Mabey Jr.
I am afraid to write about this. My Christian friends may well write me and quote chapter and verse to tell me that I am all wrong. My agnostic and atheist friends may well write me and tell me that I’ve gone off the deep end.
All day today, I have thought of Penny’s left hand. Penny had a small wart on her left hand, at the base of her little finger. The wart was about the size, in diameter, of the eraser at the end of one of those yellow pencils.
In my old Ford Falcon, Penny and I would park in our special place. I think I’ll bring the exact location, of that special place, to my grave. Penny and I would talk very seriously about our future together. Very serious. Amazingly serious, for a couple of teenagers.
While we talked, I loved to hold Penny’s hands. I have her hands memorized in indelible ink in my heart and my mind. Penny was very self conscious about the wart on the back of her left hand. I was so taken with Penny, I was so smitten with her. I remember that I would tell Penny that I loved all of her, even the wart on the back of her left hand.
She would smile, a half smile. Then, she would laugh. Then she would say something like, “my Richard, you are ridiculous. You’re crazy. But somehow, I really do believe you, that you even love my ugly wart.”
I have to confess that I haven’t thought about Penny’s wart in well over 40 years. Today, the image of the back of Penny’s left hand kept coming into my mind. Oh, how I loved that girl with all of my heart.
November will mark three years of Penny’s passing to be with the Lord. For some reason, I miss her being on this earth. It’s very strange. It leaves me with a very uneasy feeling.
After Penny and I broke up, we stayed good friends. It’s not always easy to do that. I want to be very sensitive here. I don’t know exactly how to say this. But, throughout my life, so far, the good Lord has blessed me with several wonderful girlfriends. And, for one reason or another, we never made it to the alter.
But here’s the thing, and this is painful to admit, I can’t remember the last names of some of my old girlfriends. But, I can remember perfectly the wart on the back of Penny’s left hand. It’s not easy to admit that.
The Native Americans would often name a person by their strongest attribute. In that tradition, I would give Penny the name: “Kind Woman Who Encourages.” Penny was an endless source of encouragement to me. She believed in me, 10 times more than I did myself. She saw something special in me. She often would tell me that. And, I would look into Penny’s eyes and think, “what does this beautiful girl see in me?”
After we broke up, Penny and I would often write each other. Then, when the Internet came on the scene, we would often email each other. It will soon be three years that I haven’t gotten an email from Penny. I earnestly believe that Penny is communicating to me from Heaven’s Gate.
It’s hard to explain. Little details about her are coming to my mind. Things that I haven’t thought about in over 40 years. Penny and I would often talk about the afterlife. I thought for sure that I would be the one to go before she did. I was the one with a bad heart.
It would be very wrong of me to divulge some things that Penny shared with me, in her letters. It would be a betrayal to her. But I can suffice the theme in five words: sometimes she wondered, what if?
I’m not Robert Redford. But for some reason, I’ve been blessed to have dated some very wonderful and beautiful women. And, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here. But no other woman has ever gotten to that special place in my heart that Penny did.
I was so deeply in love with Penny. And, I wrote these very romantic love poems for her, when I was just 17 and 18 years old. I mailed them to her. Her daddy found them and read them all. That was kind of the turning point. I think that he always saw me as a big dreamer, who was just a working class kid going to a community college. That is painful to come to grips with, but it’s pretty much the truth.
Penny loved her father very much. So, dear reader, I think you can figure it out.
I am convinced that there is an afterlife. Lately, I have strongly felt Penny’s presence. At times it frightens me a little. But then a certain comfort befalls my heart. I leave thee with these words: love one another, love with all your heart. Burn grudges. Simply love one another, for tomorrow holds no guarantees.
Peace and harmony,