At the start of a new month I read over the entries from the last one and turn to a fresh page to begin anew. I do not record everything and I do not write every day but I put down moments of import when time and circumstance dictate. When I captained a ship I entered what needed to be entered every day - the lives and happenings aboard my boat - the events at sea, calm or otherwise, to be recorded for posterity. In my life journal, there are events I want to remember and always there is my life with Sar.
If time permits I like to look back and at the start of a new month I pull the journal from a year ago and often I pull the journal from 5 years ago or 10 years ago or wherever my hand wanders. This time I pulled "July" from my very early years with Sar.
As I read my entries I am once again astounded at the events. I excerpt a few of them here:
***We have just returned from Bethesda. Sar is visibly upset at the condition of our friend and neighbor. The woman remains in a coma. Her face is badly bruised, her jaw broken and both shoulders dislocated. We are grateful she has not been raped. Her assailant not only beat her when he broke into her house - he beat her in anger. Her husband is in the Persian Gulf and has been granted compassionate leave and is now on his way home to be with her. We do not know if the break-in was random or if the perpetrator knew who he assaulted. We are optimistic she will wake and will tell the authorities if she knows who did this.
***A long discussion this evening with mia bambina about self-defense. Sar listens carefully as I talk to her and agrees to one-on-one instruction to learn how to assist herself in the event it becomes necessary to do so. I pray it will never be necessary.
***I meet with the marine major who will work with Sar. I admit I wanted her to be trained by a Seal I know but I fear he will not push her as hard as he might out of deference to me. The marine - always - believes they are better than Seals and for that reason I will let him work with Sar. I will be there to be sure he does not push her beyond her limits and to be sure he will not give her any combat training. I want her to be able to adequately defend herself so she can get away but I do not want her trained to kill anyone.
***He sizes her up and sneers. That is what marines do when they begin a training session. Sar is just over 5 feet tall and just over 100 lbs. The marine is a big man and outweighs her by at least 100 lbs. This is good because one does not pick the size of the person that may assault you. He verbally assaults her. I know he does this to make her angry so she will be foolish in her retaliation. This will not work with Sar and is a mistake but he does not know this. Sar barely blinks. He walks around her and she turns to watch him. She never takes her eyes off him. He is waiting for her to make the first move. Sar grew up on the mean streets of Chicago. She was a mini street fighter and from the tales I have heard from her friends, she was good at this although I understand her friend Alli was even better. Street fighting does not compare with a well trained assailant. I am not sure what she will do but the imp is not intimidated by this man and she will not give him a chance to subdue her by rushing toward him.
***I watch from a short distance. Sar is focused on the man yelling in her face and she does not acknowledge me. I am not sure but I think I see the wheels turning in her head. She has sized up the situation. She cannot win against a man like this but she might do some minor damage. She does not respond to his verbal attacks. Her face shows no emotion but I have to wonder what she is thinking.
***He does not make a move toward her but changes his tactics and lectures her instead. It is a lengthy lecture on the basics of self-defense and he turns away from Sar. I am hoping she does not jump on his back because that would be too easy for him to toss her over his shoulder and onto the mat. Sar does not jump him. She kicks him in the back of his knee and he falters. I applaud silently. As he turns toward her she kicks the same knee and he goes down. He is as surprised by this as I am but apparently it was no surprise to Sar. She immediately jumps on his groin. I wince at what that must feel like. Did I mention mia bambina was a street fighter? She was a dirty street fighter.
***The rest happens very quickly. When the marine reaches a hand to push Sar off of him, she grabs that hand and from where I am standing I hear a snap. She has bent his hand back and a small bone in his wrist or finger has cracked or is broken. She holds onto that hand with both of hers as he swings his arm back to throw her off of him. She lands on her back on the mat and he leans over her to help her up - the initial match is over. It is not over for mia bambina. When the man reaches an arm down, her legs kick up and into the knee she had kicked before. He yells and Sar rolls out of the way and onto her feet.
***The marine does not know what to say to make Sar stop so he yells "uncle" and Sar takes a step back but does not take her eyes off of him. I am worried she will do something foolish and I rush to put an arm around her and lift her off the ground. I was right. When my arm went around her waist her arms were punching and her legs were kicking. The adrenaline is surging through her and she is bursting with angry energy. I realize the marine held back considerably. I hold onto Sar and thank him for that but I suggest he wear protective gear next time and to show her various holds and how to break out of them. The man agrees. He is hurting a bit from her kicks and is surprised the untrained imp was as agile and as lucky as she was. He gives her a nod of approval which in marine speak means she has potential. I no longer underestimate the stories I heard about her childhood but I have to wonder who taught her to fight.
***Our neighbor is awake and talking. We are relieved she is on the road to recovery. The assailant is someone she knows and he is a civilian. It is a civilian matter and in the hands of the Virginia police.
I return the journals to their proper place and sit back at my desk. I think about these first few days of July, 2006 and begin to write. Sar comes into the room and gives me a kiss and sits on the couch near my desk. Her pups follow her and sit at her feet. She has a bit of hand sewing with her and she hums as she works. She talks softly to both dogs and every few minutes I hear the Rott growl that purring sound he makes when he is content and in turn, the Mastiff thumps his tail on the floor. I look up from my writing to watch her. This is my imp.