Friday, April 8, 2011

true story

So there's this girl. Let's call her Eleanor. (I've been naming a lot of things Eleanor lately. And by "a lot of things," I mean myself when I pretend to be a famous actress being interviewed in my bathroom mirror.) She's a pretty outgoing young woman, and pretty active in the community. She has to be, you see, because she's an only child, and her father is an extremely busy military leader, so she gets lonely. She's an extrovert, you see, and we extroverts need people in our lives, because when we don't have them we resort to pretending to be famous actresses being interviewed in our bathroom mirror.

So Eleanor teaches dance. That's what she does for a living. That and probably she's a baker. Maybe a seamstress, too. She's young, but girls like her know a lot of trades. She's pretty liked in town, because she's honest and genuine, and she has a fun spirit. People like girls with fun spirits. At least that's what my pretend interviewer says when he interviews me about my latest movie, in which I play a girl with a fun spirit. Aw, shucks.

But Eleanor isn't bashful. Nooo, not at all. She's a strong young woman. How has she not been married off yet? She has thick, dark curly hair, and dark skin, and brown eyes the color of molasses. A guy could get lost in those tresses and all-consuming brown eyes. Have you ever tried to escape a pit of molasses? It's impossible. Point proven.

But she wants to be married. Not in a "gimmee gimmee gimmee a man after midnight" kind of way, but it's a resigned desire that she keeps close to her heart while she's teaching couples to dance for their wedding receptions. And she wants it, even more than she loves dancing and baking and sewing, though she's great at all those things. It's her one desire. And she knows it's coming. She just knows that she has to wait, and it'll come.

And it's not like she's completely alone. She and her father are pretty close. For all his military maneuverability, he's a loving, doting father. His name is Jephthah. Whoa, what? Yeah. His mom had just had 4 teeth pulled before Jep was born, so her mouth was still numb and full of cotton balls when the nurse asked her what she wanted to name him. Really she wanted to name him Harry. It got lost in translation.

Jephthah and Eleanor have a pretty strong bond. They get each other. He loves her like no other, because his wife is absent from the picture, and Jep used to take Eleanor on these grand adventures, riding camels and swimming in oases and generally being the apple of his eye. He'd do anything for her, like pay $9000 for a wedding dress because she was a former Miss Delaware. (If the government's looking for some money, they should check Say Yes to the Dress.) He'd had a rough life, too. His mom was a woman of ill repute (and unkempt teeth, apparently) because his father evidently had no self control. And Jep's brothers from another mother were kind of jerks, the hoity toity type, and they chased Jep away saying, "No inheritance for you!"

Well for the past few months Jep has been at war, and this is a big war. If he wins this war, he becomes general of the whole kit and kaboodle. (That's what they call armies where Jep comes from.) And today Eleanor happens to be rehearsing the "I want to be in America, la la la la in America" scene from West Side Story, which the local theater has asked her to choreograph for their spring production of the torrential musical. So to get in the mood before class, she blasts the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on her stereo and dances around the house.Then she opens her front door, her swooshy skirt piled high on her thigh in Latino flair, and there's her father, Jephthah, walking towards the house, looking bedraggled.

Eleanor's first reaction is to greet her father with an enthusiastic "Daddy!" and throw her arms around him with daughterly affection. But before she can, he falls to his knees, rips open his shirt, scattering buttons everywhere, and throws his hands up in the air in agony, like that scene from Platoon with Willem Defoe.


Eleanor stops dancing and stares at her father. He's in tears, literally weeping into the ground, and Eleanor thinks that the only other time she's seen her father cry was when Goose dies in Top Gun, and that emotion paled in comparison to what she was witnessing now.

"Why'd you have to do it?" He asks.
"Do what?" Eleanor asks, genuinely afraid, curious, and concerned for her father as she would be for a wounded wild animal.
"I made a vow to the Lord that, if He helped me win this war, I would sacrifice the first thing that come out of my house when I came home."

Now, my response to this would be, "You WHAT?! I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO LIVES HERE, who'd you think was going to come out of your house?! DID YOU EVEN THINK THIS THROUGH??" Or maybe I would have been coy and said, "So...how'dya do?" Or maybe I just would've taken off running very, very fast, and never looked back.

But Eleanor and I are very different. She squares her jaw and looks at her father and says, "Do what you promised." Then she walks through the city and says goodbye to all the people who love her, and she comes to terms with the fact that she'll never be a wife, or a mother, or have any of the things she dreamed about having, and she lets her father offer her as a human sacrifice to the Lord.

The end.

Just kidding!

No but seriously, that's where it ends. Read Judges 11 if you don't believe me.

Sometimes I don't understand the Old Testament.

2 comments:

Laura said...

This story has always bothered me too. Way to make it more creative though. "Lalalala in America!" HA! :)

martindell said...

That picture you included is an example of one of your many amazing features: perfect comedic timing.

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