My old girlfriend Penny held this amazing belief in me. She made me reach for the moon and the stars. Looking back, it’s a debt that can never be paid.
The Turning Point
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Each and every one of us has a turning point in our lives. It’s that magical, mystical moment when some event occurs in our lives, from which we will never be the same. And, from which, there can be no turning back.
Here is a fun exercise to try. Write down, in one sentence, the turning point of your life. It’s not as easy as you may think. For myself, it took me a long time to define my turning point in one single sentence. It is the essence of my book, it is the theme of every paragraph, of every sentence of my novel. So without further ado; win, lose or draw, here it is:
A shy, studious teenage boy falls in love with an outgoing, confident teenage girl.
And, from that one single sentence is the core truth of my entire novel. It is the very foundation of every single page of my novel. In my own journey to truth, it is the very heart of my own personal truth.
When I first met Penny, I was in my senior year of high school. I was very shy. I poured my heart into becoming the best drummer that I could possibly be. I absorbed myself in hundreds of books. Many of which, I read from one of the three main platforms of my elaborate backyard tree fort. At the very moment in time, that I met Penny, I was working on my Eagle Scout project while simultaneously earning my last required merit badge, that of Lifesaving.
The very moment that I first laid eyes upon Penny, I became totally smitten with her. Simply put, she took my breath away. Penny was incredibly beautiful. She was genius smart. She was elegant and graceful. Self confidence seemed to flow from the pores of her skin. She had the smile of an angel.
I was painfully shy. I saw Penny as being totally and completely out of my league. Somehow and someway, Penny saw something in me. I was to become her first love. She was to become my first love.
Penny gave me the inspiration and courage to complete the Lifesaving Merit Badge. I was not a very good swimmer. It was my toughest merit badge to earn. Penny encouraged me to accept the honor of serving as Youth Mayor for one full week in Old Beavertown, under the tutelage of the great Mayor William Dixon. She saw me receive my Eagle Scout. She encouraged me to write for my college newspaper. And, she encouraged to me keep writing articles for the town weekly in Old Beavertown. I owe the sun and the moon and the stars to Penny.
As I write this blog, only two hours are left till we say goodbye to the Year 2015. I reflect upon my passion, to see my novel published. Somehow, I wish that Penny were still alive; that for just five minutes she could give me one of her pep talks. Which, by the way included her punching me in my arm every time I would tell her why something wasn’t possible.
Penny resides in Heaven now. She went Home to be with the Lord, a little over three years ago. I corresponded with her in her last months of her life. Ministry trumped romance. Compassion trumped remembered passion.
These days, I spend my afternoons and early evenings, working in a lonely gatehouse in one of these glorious gated communities in Central Florida. There’s a certain loneliness to it. I hope my good readers don’t think I’m going off the deep end here. Often times, I can feel the presence of Penny. I remember her scent. I remember the vibe of her aura. When there’s a lull in traffic, I write down ideas for my novel. True life remembrances mostly.
These days, I also walk dogs to earn a few extra dollars. I also sell old comic books on the Internet. Basically, I bank every penny I can. My purpose to saving every penny that I can, is to fund the cost of self publishing my novel. Self publishing a novel is not an easy thing to do.
To be painfully honest, there was a time when I was a lot more self confident. I was hitting the ball out of the park, a few years ago. I had an insanely successful middle age. I hosted a television talk show for five years, for several years worked in public relations at one of those huge conglomerate corporations, wrote copy at an ad agency, and wrote for about a half dozen different newspapers during the time of middle age.
This is hard to admit. And it’s the one thing that people often ask me. Yes, there were quite a few other women in my life. But the truth of it all, is this: no other woman touched my heart, quite like Penny did.
Now, I’m walking down the hallway toward the room labeled, “old man.” And, before I breathe my last breath, there is one more thing I need to do. See to it that my novel is published. Penny is a big part of that novel. In many ways, it’s my way to pay tribute to the girl who punched me in the arm and said, “just get your backside in that newspaper office Monday morning. Show them your writings.” This was Penny’s response, on the Saturday night when we were visiting my old college and I told her that I didn’t think I was a good enough writer to be on the team of my college newspaper.
Alas, when Penny died, I lost a very good friend. From time to time, I still miss her so. So much so, that tears still fill my eyes.