I remember dating someone and they said, “What have you written about him?”
I answered, “Nothing.”
My answer was honest. I had not written about him in my journal because he was easy, he was simple, he was the “nice guy.” I think I met him in 1992, but I didn’t really give him the time of day then because he was the “nice guy.”
Life went on. The years passed, relationships formed, children were born, countries were seen. I have always been in the same place (NEPA valley), but he saw a chunk of the world. He enlisted in the service right out of high school. With the Navy, he saw Italy, Spain, France, Israel, Greece, Africa… and the Mississippi, too.
This nice guy told me stories. A girl we went to school with sat with him on the bus, he said. “I remember sitting on the bus with her, and she held my hand. Then, she would move my hand on her leg. I wasn’t ready for that stuff and I was older than her.” He was in junior high, and she was two years younger. “She must have thought there was something wrong with me because we didn’t even kiss,” he shared.
He married young, at the age of 20. He traveled from boot camp to other states to different countries. He told me that 13 years in, he was at the end of his tour of service and was paid twice per month (the first and fifteenth via direct deposit). He kept only $25 dollars per pay period per month, so he only had fifty bucks to himself! The rest of his salary went into the bank for his family, and his then-wife had full access for budgeting bills, food, housing and transportation. You know, everyday life necessities.
In June 2006, the nice guy finished his service to the country in order to be with his family. The contract he signed ended, and he was honorably discharged. Though his children were glad he was home, and he was happy to be with them, his wife was angry and preferred him to be away. The house was a mess, and he cleaned it all up. The finances were a mess, and he was forced to fix those, too. He also discovered that his prized Chevy was missing… and later found that his wife had not been paying it off. The bank had repossessed one of his favorite possessions.
In 2006, he and his family began residing with his mother. The last straw was finding out that his deceitful person was taking checks that came via mail, signing them, and forging his mother’s name. That deceitful person is now his ex-wife.
The nice guy respects women. The nice guy serves the country. The nice guy supports his family. He looks the other way and holds no grudges, no matter how many times people have wronged him. This man loves his children. The nice guy is a gentle leader. The nice guy is determined and does not give up. He keeps going when he has lost everything, even when it all has been taken from him. He is patient and kind. He is a gentlemen. The nice guy takes his aging mother to doctor’s appointments on coffee outings. The nice guy holds the door for any strangers who cross his path and expects nothing in return.
I asked him, “What do you think being a nice guy really means?”
“Being genuine, and helping others not for selfish reasons, but because you want to. I remember driving down the cross valley and seeing someone stuck, so I got to her and helped. I just did it, and she tried offer me money or do something in return. I didn’t even want the coffee she offered me; I just wanted to help. All I want in return is for someone to help me someday.”
I’m now married to this guy, the nice guy.