Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Have you seen this man?

Even with Myspace and Facebook and Blogger and Google and the million other ways we stay connected in our society, it is still possible to lose people.

Partner wants to use my sad childhood in our next collaboration, so I've started telling him stories to jumpstart ideas. Let me tell you how much fun it is to remember the most traumatizing events of your life for the sake of brainstorming.

But today's story reminded me of a a boy I once loved and have since lost.

For the first four years of my working life I worked at Boston Market. By the time I left that job I could do every possible thing they wanted. I know how to cut a chicken into four parts with three strokes of a knife and how to treat a third degree gravy burn on your finger. That's where I got the nickname "Hurricane Emily" because of my incredible ability to make some small task into a disaster by knocking over everything in my path.

My parents were not always nice to me but they were upper middle class and educated and I was headed for college and always cheerful so nobody knew what I was going through at home. Except for Josh Culbertson. He saw everything. He was the only person who noticed that I stopped eating and he convinced me to have an extra piece of cornbread every night. When my stepfather came to pick me up from work one night and yelled at me in front of all my friends, Josh came to my defense. I'll never forget the look on his face as I rode away crying in the passenger seat while he struggled against his desire to rescue me.

And years later, after I went to college and started on the path to healing, he found me. He saw my easily recognizable car in the parking lot of a different Boston Market (it was a good place to work) and came inside. He had dropped out of school and worked as a dishwasher at some restaurant nearby, but his only concern was whether or not I was okay.

If it had not been for this boy I don't know if I would have survived adolescence. Sometimes people come into your life right when you need them the most.

I can't find him. It's almost like he dropped off the planet. I haven't tried paying for a service yet; I'm not sure how he'd take to being hunted like a wanted criminal, but I might consider that eventually. I never properly thanked him for saving me, or let him know just how much he helped me when I felt the most helpless.

I just wish I could do for him what he did for me.


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Amazing post! There was a girl in my youth, Christie McAtee, that was just everything to me. My home life wasn't the best either, and the times in the summer when we would run off and spend the day together are times I will never forget. I've already written her into a script. (actually, probably every lead female role I write has a part of her) I haven't seen her in twelve years, and I doubt I ever will again. Sorry for the long reply, but your post brought it out of me.

  2. There are a few people in my life, most of whom I can't remember their names, who became a source of strength for me in the tough times.

    If you ever feel like tracking down your friend, let me know. I used to work as a private investigator and I could probably help you out.

  3. I would very much like to find him. Thanks to one Mr. Peel I now have a little more info about him - I'm fairly certain that was him, Mr. Peel - but have spent all day looking and still can't find his present wherabouts.

  4. Emily,

    I've been checking out your blog recently - excellent reading, thanks.

    I know what you're talking about, when you discuss the people in our past that have had some significant impact on our lives. I've been blessed with a few of them myself, and have done what I can to keep in touch, but invariably a few fall through the cracks.

    Even if you never manage to find him, remember him, and do something for someone else in the same way he did what he did for you, as a sort of tribute to the impact he had on your life. I can't think of a better way of remembering him, can you?

    (And yes, that is the start of an excellent story idea!)


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.