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Jonathan Jamison was a perfect man. He lived in a
perfect neighborhood. He had a perfect house. He had
a perfect car (cars). He had a perfect job, which had
run like a well oiled machine, for the more than
thirty years, he had been honing his perfect skills.
He had a perfect wife, and perfect children. Yes,
Jonanthan Jamison was a perfect man, living in a
perfect world. And everything he touched turned to
gold. Of course, there had been a few minor turn of
events in his life, which had threatened his rose
colored existence, but he had merely cast them off,
and set them aside, afterall, perfection is nothing to
be trifled with. When his oldest daughter, had turned
14, she had exhibited some signs of rebellion, so he
had hastily packed her off to boarding school, and she
had remained there, until adulthood, or at least,
until she was on the threshold, with all signs of
teenage angst, forever gone. Or at least in his mind.
Thus, his perfect world remained intact. And whenever
he might have been tempted to throw caution to the
wind, he had his perfect wife, Dorothea, to remind
him, of what was acceptable, and what was not. Of
course, the fact, that he had met Dorothea, while she
was a cocktail waitress, and was in fact, the former
mistress of his former (married) boss, was later
dismissed as nothing more than gossip. It had cost
Jonathan Jamison, a marriage, that was less than
perfect, and in losing something, less than, he had
gained something more. Dorothea, with Jonathan's
money and connections, had steered herself well, in
the perfect land of make believe. Her resume, was
nothing, less than stellar, according to the
re-invention, and she was able to personify, the very
essence of what Jonathan Jamison envisioned..which was
nothing less than Perfect.

And so it was that in this perfect land in which
Jonathan Jamison dwelled, his perfect wife, awoke him
one morning with the announcement, that his less than
perfect, sister, Caroline, was coming to visit. Heavy
sigh...not Caroline. He didn't think he could
tolerate her less than perfect presence, at this point
in his life, and thought he had made himself clear to
her, on this point, by halting all communication with
her, some four years ago. Or was it five...or six? At
any rate, he had little patience with this less than
perfect person, and found her to be frustrating at
best, and intolerable at the very least. He looked up
into the face of his beautiful perfect, wife, and
winced out loud. Did she talk to Caroline? Did she
tell her that she wasn't welcome? No...Caroline had
left a message on the voice mail. Oh, Lord, he
thought...he really wasn't up to this. Four...or was
it five..or six...years ago, Caroline had contacted
him and asked him to help her financially, in order to
divorce her abusive husband. He had obliged her.
Afterall, he was a nice guy. But when he learned that
Caroline, had filed for the divorce and then taken the
husband back into her life, he was furious. Afterall,
he wasn't that nice a guy...perfect, yes...but not
nice. He had called Caroline and demanded that she
send his money back at once. She had tried to explain
that she didn't have the money, at that moment, since
she had used it as a retainer, for a divorce attorney,
but assured him that she would pay him, in full, as
soon as possible. As a "show of good faith", a check
had arrived in the mail a few days later, with a
partial payment. Jonathan Jamison, had gone through
the roof, and immediately telephoned Caroline to let
her know that a partial payment was unacceptable, and
that he would not accept anything less than payment in
full. She again had assured him that she would make
good on repaying the loan. And she sent no more
partial payments. Shortly, before Christmas, she sent
the remainder of the payment, in full, to Jonathan
Jamison. He was still angry though. Indignant. And
Caroline had begun to disappear from his life, like a
signature signed invisible ink.
Dorothea, of course, being the perfect wife, had
advised him, that they simply couldn't tolerate
someone like Caroline. Afterall, they had children.
They were important people. But the straw that broke
the camel's back, so to speak, came a couple of years
later, when Caroline, again had come to the end of her
rope...with another broken nose, and told her husband
that it was over. The husband, had responded by
abandoning her and their children, and nothing more
was heard from him. Thus, Caroline had no more
financial support from him. And three days, after he
disappeared, she had found herself laid off from her
job, due to a hostile corporate take-over, though,
secretly, Caroline knew that her performance at
work..and her loss of days due to domestic injuries,
had not helped her, when it came to deciding whose
head would roll, when they came to her department.
She was a thousand miles from her nearest relative,
and things were looking very bleak. The day came when
the utilities could not be paid (forget the mortgage,
and car payment), and there was no food in the house.
Pride, be damned. She swallowed hard and called her
only brother, Jonathan Jamison. He had been waiting
for that day, for two years, and it gave him great
pleasure, to be able to say to his less than perfect
sister, that he could not and would not help
her...nothing. Not even a kind word. But it had felt
good to Jonathan Jamison. Afterall, she had made such
a bad choice in this husband, and then after taking a
stand, she had backed down. Something, Jonathan
Jamison would have never done. At that point, the
invisible ink, became just that, and he wrote her
out of his book. He could not and would not tolerate,
such a pathetic human being. Unfortunately, through
the grapevine, he would hear from time to time, that
things were not going well, for Caroline. At one
point, he even heard that she was homeless and living
in some sort of shelter, with her children. He was
appalled. How could she have let herself get into
such a mess?? Good grief. He had no time or patience
with someone like that. And now...his perfect wife
had informed him that this creature was coming to
visit. He was not looking forward to seeing her.
Jonathan Jamison was afterall, a perfect man, living
in a perfect world.

Caroline Jamison was not a perfect woman. Once she
had aspired to perfection, but had learned early that
it was useless. Her world was less than perfect, and
no matter , how hard she tried, it would not respond
to anything that even remotely resembled perfection.
She had survived, not one, but two abusive marriages,
and the reality that each had brought to the table had
also brought the realization, that mistakes, were
meant to be made and learned from, in this life. Caroline had not
walked the same road as her perfect brother. Not even
close. She had seen the seamier side of life, and
lived to tell about it. But also, she had seen others
who had survived even worse, and it had indeed made
her heart of stone, a heart of flesh. She was not a
good woman, muchless perfect, but she tried hard to do
what she could to make the world, a better place. The
last few years, had taught her well. She would never
be the same, or see things the way she had seen them
before, as an innocent.. or as an ignorant. She was
soft, she was hard...and she truly believed that
everything has purpose. She would not sing her own
praises, and neither would many of those who had known
her in her fomer life, but the truth was that wherever
she went , people stopped what they were doing to
notice Caroline Jamison. The imperfect woman. She
never understood why, and when someone would point
this out to her, she would laugh it off, and pretend
that they were merely imagining it. Secretly, it
puzzled her, though. She was sure, she hid the
pathetic state of her existence from strangers, well.
And she always held her head up, no matter, what kind
of a day she was having, and no matter how much pain,
she was experiencing. And she always had a smile, for
the children who would seek her out in a crowd. And
hugs for the little old ladies who always wanted to
strike up conversations with her, in the lines at the
grocery store. Yes, Caroline Jamison was a pathetic
creature, but she knew that there were others who were
hurting and in more dire need than herself. And this
gave her courage and strength in the face of
adversity, and taught her about love and caring, which
she might never have known, had she been allowed to
live in a perfect world of her own choosing.
Thus, Caroline had abandoned the idea of perfection,
and the pursuit of such nonsense, and with that she
vowed to check herself on judging other human beings.
Afterall, she had reasoned, that there was only One
who was perfect. And His name wasn't Jonathan
Jamison.

And so it was, that Caroline, found herself, in the city where her brother, Jonathan Jamison resided. She had debated whether or not to contact him, as her time was short, and she knew full well, how he felt about her. However, she had concluded that pride be damned. Regardless of how he might feel, or not feel,about her, he was still her only brother; once the closest human being to her on the face of the Earth, and she wanted to see him. At that moment, Jonathan was endeavoring to make an exit from his home, in an effort to avoid any connection with Caroline, but he was not fast enough, and Caroline caught him before he could make it out of the door. She was exiting a taxi cab, at the end of his front walk, just as he was stepping out of his front door. He froze, and then there appeared to be nothing more to do, than make the best of the situation. She exited the taxi, waved with a smile to Jonathan, and then turned back to the cab driver and engaged in a moments conversation. The cabbie was smiling, Jonathan noted. Why was it, that everywhere Caroline went , people were smiling. She couldn't even tell a decent joke, for goodness sakes. She could never remember the punch lines, and then if she did manage to get through to the end, she had the most annoying habit of laughing at her own jokes. It irritated Jonathan Jamison. She was so damn irritating, period. But as he watched her interact with the cabbie, he couldn't help but find himself smiling as he watched her. She had started to move away from the cab, when the driver jumped out of the vehicle, and ran to the opposite side, from which Caroline had just emerged, opened the door, and produced a pair of tennis shoes. Caroline, half way up the side walk, was oblivious to the fact, that she was shoeless. Country bumpkin, that she was, thought Jonathan, but still it was funny, watching the cab driver, chasing her down the sidewalk, waving her shoes. Caroline had turned, laughed and thanked the man sincerely. He had laughed too. She left him with a smile. Then she had turned back to Jonathan, and waved, with the smile still on her face. And in spite of himself, Jonathan couldn't help smiling back. He was a perfect man, living in a perfect world, and he was angry with his sister, for reasons, only he knew, but the truth was that she could still invoke feelings in him, that he had no answers for. She was still his sister. How had he forgotten that. The sister who always got into trouble, and always made bad choices, and was so imperfect..... yet, still could make him smile. She walked up the sidewalk to where he stood, and threw her arms around his neck, and hugged him tightly. And for a moment, he wasn't a perfect man, living in a perfect world....he was Jonny, and she was Carrie, and she was the constant companion, of his childhood. The one who was always there for him, and always would be. And he began to forget how irritating and annoying she was.

He invited her inside and forgot about making an exit, to avoid her. Dorothea had taken the kids to dance class, and babeball practice, so it was just he and Caroline in the kitchen. He poured coffee for both. Black for her, and cream and sugar for him. They chit chatted and little was said of her current mission, though she did mention that she was on her way to speak to a women's group concerning the plight of abused women in the United States. Something about that sounded impressive, but he knew little about that sort of thing. She seemed excited about it, though, and that genuinely made him feel happy for her. She told a few silly, funny stories about herself, and he laughed. She was a lousy joke teller, but good about telling stories about herself, as the butt of the joke. A few years earlier, he had introduced her to some friends of his, and she had gone to an art show with them. Caroline had gotten lost from the group but ended up finding her way back to them, in the escort of an armed guard. She had had to make a hasty trip to the bathroom, and when she had returned, the group had moved quickly and she was lost. One of the guards had offered to help her find them and the sight of Caroline walking up in the company of this armed savior,carrying an umbrella, wearing walking shorts and a un-buttoned trench coat, was something to behold. The group of strangers...Jonathan's friends...had a field day with her. And Caroline, always the good sport, had taken their kidding well. They had embraced her from then on. She was that way. So imperfect. And everybody loved her. That is, unless they knew how imperfect she was. Unless they couldn't take that she was such a frustration. Unless they couldn't deal with the disappointment which her imperfection brought to one's being. Unless they had laid awake at night worrying about her. Then it was easier, to put her out of mind. And dismiss her entirely. But Caroline in sight, was hard to dismiss. She was not obnoxious. She had a quiet way. A dignified sense of everything around her. And she was damn funny. And so, on this fine spring day, Jonathan let himself spend time with his sister, and actually enjoy her company. When it was time for her to return to the airport, he offered to drive and see her off. She insisted that she could take another cab, but he wouldn't hear of it. They drove to the airport talking about foods they had eaten as children, and Jonathan swore that she had forced him to eat mud pies. She vehemently denied this, since she valued mudpies as food fit for the gods (and treasures), and was sure she would never even have thought of sharing a mudpie, muchless forcing someone else (who didn't treasure them the way she did), to eat one. And did she still eat boiled okra? Of course, she replied, though she was sure that with the exception of herself, himself, and their mother, no else in the world did. And hot links, with....mashed potatoes and pork and beans. He told her that he had eaten corn with them once, because he had no pork and beans. And it just wasn't the same. And when he was grown, he had discovered that there were other ways to eat steak, besides cooked to death (their mother had a thing about eating or preparing meat, which might even have a hint of pink in it). Caroline laughed. Jonathan laughed. Gosh, it felt good to laugh, with each other again. And when they arrived at the airport, they had hugged each other at the gate. She had looked Jonathan Jamison, in the eye and hugged him tightly, saying "I love you, Jonny" and he had told her that he loved her too. And he meant it. She turned and began walking down the ramp, then turned back one more time, and waved to him, smiling. Jonathan returned the wave, and as he was turning to leave, he noticed a man, watching Caroline, as she walked away. Puzzled, he watched him for a moment. Suddenly, the gentleman became aware of Jonathan's gaze, and shifted his attention to him. "Do you know that woman?" A little taken aback, Jonathan acknowleged that he did; that she was his sister. "Your sister?" "Yes" replied Jonathan. "My sister". The man shook his head in wonder. "Why?" queried Jonathan. The man gave a little laugh. "I guess you didn't notice then." Jonathan shook his head, but was becoming slightly annoyed. "The woman...your sister....glows. Like she has a light all around her. Amazing....too bad you didn't see it."

Jonathan Jamison was a perfect man living in a perfect world, but today, a less than perfect person had crashed through his walls, and he didn't see....didn't know. But it was okay. Crazy old man...imagine...thinking that silly Caroline glowed. Like an angel or something. He laughed all the way home. He would tell Dorothea, but somehow he didn't think she would believe it. Still, he was glad Caroline had come. Maybe he would even send her a Christmas card this year.
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------
Sharon Vaughan



Comments

The following comments are for "A Perfect Man"
by sharonkv777

paragraphing
I haven't finished reading yet, but i'll be back. Just wanted to say i'm enjoying it but the big chunky paragraphs are a bit hard to plow through. It might be just a formatting reason, but if not, it needs to be broken up into smaller paragraphs. For example, in your first paragraph I would take "which had run like a well oiled machine" from where it is referring to his job so that it refers more to his life. Then start the next paragraph at "Of course...." That's when a new idea starts.

( Posted by: Smithy [Member] On: October 28, 2003 )

Setting and scene
Good story, nice message. I would term it "inspirational" lit. I agree with the last comment on the paragraph structure. It's a little much for the eyes. Could you give the Dialogue lines thier own paragraph? That might help. In the first half, you TOLD us about Jonathon and Caroline. Is it possible for you to SHOW us the characters other than just names? Also, is it possible to nail down the characters into scenes that we can see, smell, hear and touch? What do they look like? How do they dress? Caroline is homeless, but what sort of house, or town does Jonathon live in? It would make this good and important message more powerful. Thanks!

( Posted by: a.k.a. Sas [Member] On: October 28, 2003 )

back finally
I finished it and enjoyed it. You have the basic storyline there and the comment above this one sums up what is missing.
A nice tranformation of the perfect man into the perfect imperfect one.

( Posted by: Smithy [Member] On: November 4, 2003 )

perfect man
WOW!!!! I do like your style.
all of what I have read is great!

( Posted by: CoCo [Member] On: December 1, 2003 )





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