Blunt Bites: The Girl Who Taught Me More Than High School

[ DISCLAIMER: Blunt Bites break away from my normal, detailed laugh-out-loud (right?) posts. They are like snapshotsย ofย a significant part of my life. Sometimes, they’re serious. Sometimes, they’re funny. But they’re always gonna be delicious. Yum. ]

It was my very first day of work, and you offered me some of your lunch even though you barely had enough to eat. Although it was a struggle to understand you through your thick accent, your laugh was desperately contagious. Your husband also worked at the same company. You would get so excited every time he walked by. I later discovered that you moved your family here from Poland to make a better life. You taught yourself English, graduated with honors, and moved to a tiny house down the street with your three kids and five relatives.

You always carried hot pink lipstick from the Dollar Store in your apron, and the only thing cheesier than your constant smile was the Harlequin romance novels you read every day on your break.

Five years later, I recognized your voice instantly when you called into the bank. I confirmed your name, but didn’t reveal who I was. I could sense that you had been crying. Your account was overdrawn because you had been trying to support your three kids on minimum wage ever since your husband and sisters had left for the grocery store and never returned. Two years had passed since then. You mentioned that you had just celebrated your 40th birthday by making a cake out of flour and water, then you started laughing just like you always did. As I was fighting back tears, I don’t know what alarmed me more: the tragedy of your circumstances or your positive attitude toward them. You responded, “As long as I still have a choice, I’d rather laugh than cry.”

Her name was Renee. I wish there were more of her in this world. She epitomized love. And she taught me more than high school.

43 thoughts on “Blunt Bites: The Girl Who Taught Me More Than High School

  1. Wow… this little bit of something really makes me want to know this woman’s story. I NEED to know how it comes out in the end. . . beautiful, indeed. And tragic.

    • I wrote down her address, and I planned on going to her house the following week, to bring food and clothes for her kids, etc. I also wanted to try to help her sort out her finances and get herself on the right track as she had no friends or family in the area. However, my bank did massive layoffs that week and I wasn’t allowed to take any work notebooks with… Her last name was impossible to spell, and so I have no idea where she is now.

  2. um, you just made my eyeballs leak a little bit. thanks a lot.

    (as an aside, i frakin’ love your photography. seriously.)

    anyhow, people like that are awesome. world needs more of ’em. i hope good things came her way.

  3. “You responded, โ€œAs long as I still have a choice, Iโ€™d rather laugh than cry.โ€

    OMG….I got totally teary-eyed when I read that!

    BEEEEAUTIFUL story, girl!

    “Her name was Renee. I wish there were more of her in this world. She epitomized love. And she taught me more than high school.”

    I LOVE that!


  4. this is heart wrenching and all that jazz but seriously all I can think every time I’m on your blog is that you are so much more tech savvy than me to change things up as often as you do!

  5. She sounds absolutely amazing….I wish I could have met her. And I hope that she’s doing better….god bless her beautiful soul! Thanks for posting this blunt.

  6. What a beautiful and heartbreaking story. My boss is looking at me funny as I sit here a little weepy at my desk.

    I think the world should remember that line, “I’d rather laugh than cry”

    I think she hit the nail on the head with that one.

  7. Errmm, what wars are you talkng about?

    I’m confused about the timelime.
    Oh well, I guess bad things happen to people (including reading skills, it seems). I hope you didn’t dish out a subprime loan to her that day.

    Love and awareness; the constant tightrope.

  8. ๐Ÿ™ sads.

    Could you not have just added cash to her account? You know, seeing as though they were making people unemployed!? It’s not all about ethics you know!

  9. Sometimes, when I feel like I am just *sooooo stressed out* – I am reminded about how good I have it and that I need to quit my bitching.

    Serious Blunty. Who knew. Thanks, love.

    • nope. i was let go from the bank a week after that. i had written down her address in one of my notebooks, but they wouldn’t let me take it with. … i was gonna visit her and bring some food, etc.

      her last name was crazy unpronounceable.. so i haven’t been able to locate her. ;(

  10. Every one has said it already but yes, heartbreaking but beautiful story. And imagine the chance of you getting hear her again. Too bad about not being able to get her name and stuff.

    Anyone who rocks dollar store hot pink lipstick has my respect.

  11. That was a beautiful and emotional story. How in the world do some people survive their tragedies in life and keep on smiling? I just might start carrying a tube of pink lipstick.

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