My Debby

'Till death do you part...how dare it? —A short story I wrote for my Creative Writing class

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1. My Debby

The month was August, and the day was quite cool. The sun was certainly present, as is the natural routine of the universe, but a handful of clouds prevented it from beating its rays into the inhabitants below. This was not a common summer day. Of course, summer was just about to end, and fall was hiding right around the corner. But still, this weather was inaccurate; why was it called summer if it wasn’t hot?

Once in a while Deb had thought on such things, but now wasn’t one of those times. She hadn’t the mind to contemplate why nature didn’t conform to the construct of human minds, or to complain that she had put on a t-shirt this morning in that very assumption. The woman needed to first focus on sinking this hole.

A flock of geese meandered overhead, honking like a herd of bicycles. She didn’t pay them any attention, for she must make this shot. The gentle breeze rustled her greyish curls and threatened to tip her like a domino, but she wouldn’t have it. She had a bone to pick with this lumpy white sphere. Through her narrow tunnel vision, it and her were all there was. There was a club as well, but that barely counted. The instrument might as well have been a part of her, an extension of herself. She applied to it a control that one would have with a limb. Time faltered, as she pulled back the club ever so slowly…

Aaaaaaannndd…

With a clink the ball rolled across the fuzzy green, down toward that hole and also toward Tom. He stood proudly, smiling in her direction, with his club in one hand and the hole’s yellow flag in the other. He wielded like a scepter, as if he himself were king of the course.

Little by little, inch by inch that cratered ball crept. The aim was precise, a perfect beeline. Deb prayed to the good Lord above that she would make this, that perhaps the wind would goad it just a little bit farther. And secretly, so did Tom.

One yard left to go.

One foot.

One inch.

And when they both thought that this was the end, a sheer embarrassment, that ball reached just a little bit more and fell right into the hole. As if their prayers had been answered, and an angel had descended from heaven just to poke it in and seal the victory.

Deb let go of the club and pumped her fists into the air. She looked over at her husband and laughed. “I did it!” she squealed. “I really did it!”

Tom’s eyes squinted as he smiled back. A simple sink, a double-bogey, had put her in the highest of spirits. Seeing his Debby so happy made him want to jump with joy.  She had such a contagious laugh, and the most beautiful of smiles he had ever seen. In the whole sixty-four years he had lived upon this earth, he had never come across anyone so stunning, absolutely gorgeous.

His grin wasn’t as wide as it usually was, and he knew that. But this was as wide as it was going to get.

“Good job, honey!” he called, seeing as she was already advancing toward him. He squatted down to the ground to grasp the golf ball in his hand, catching a nice earthy whiff of the buzzed lawn. He rose to his feet and found that Deb had just arrived. She held her hands together in front of herself.

“You really think so?” she asked.

“O’course,” he reassured as he stuck the flag back into the hole. “You’re doing great!”

Her face had been through so much over the harsh years, and the wear shone in the form of wrinkles and bags. Yet despite it all the tips of her cheeks flashed a poppy red. “Thank you, Tommy,” she said as she looked away. “But I know I’m not doing very well.”

Tom moved closer to her. “Hey now,” he spoke in concern, resting a gloved hand atop her shoulder. “It’s only Hole Two. Rome wasn’t built in a day…”

He threw himself with his own words. Certainly, the infamous ancient civilization of chariots and conquerors had taken numerous years to construct.

But Deb didn’t have years.

She didn’t even have a month.

His eyes had gone blank, and Deb noticed it immediately. “I know that,” she said. “And you are a great teacher.” She mustered the strength to stand atop her toes, but just barely. She placed a kiss on his pale cheek. “I wouldn’t want to be taught by anyone else.”

Tom looked at her, her vibrant blue eyes gazing back. Like she had contained the heavens in those little circles she used to see. Still ever so striking after all these years. Since the day they had met he had the privilege to be looked upon by those baby blue’s every single morning. Or afternoon, if the nights proved sleepless. Yes, spending those cold, rainy twilights crying in each other’s arms, laughing until their feeble sides ached, debating upon confusions and concerns, or just unable to close their eyes thanks to the almighty power of sugar and caffeine. The two of them had been through a great number of such nights, together.

A nightmare to consider what they would be like without her.

Tom removed his hand from the one shoulder, but then set it upon the opposite. “D’aw,” he said. “What did ever I do to deserve a woman like you?”

Deb began to laugh, and looked downward in attempt to conceal it. “Well, you must’a done something pretty terrible!”

He gasped at the mention, and she guffawed in the most unladylike of ways, sniggers and snorts in all. Although she wasn’t ever known as the ladylike-type. Never did suit her style.

“Debora!” Tom scolded with a smile. “Don’t say that!”

She was able to calm herself finally, enough to at least speak. “Oh, c’mon!” she said, slapping his arm without much vigor. “I’m joking!”

But he knew that surely, because he found himself chuckling alongside her. “You better be,” he warned. “I don’t wanna hear nobody insulting my wife like that.”

Her blush hadn’t yet disappeared, and was still as bright as ever. But she dropped the joke. “Hey, let’s get a move on,” she said. “I wanna get to the next hole.”

Tom nodded, and let go of her shoulder. “Alrighty,” he said. “Lemme grab the bag.” He pivoted and walked to his navy golf bag, his irons protruding like quills. He inserted his own and lifted the strap on his shoulder. And once he turned back around to see his wife, he found her crouched and bent in a most disconcerting way, trying to retrieve with painstaking effort the club she had dropped. She looked like she was about to collapse.

“Whoa whoa, Debby!” he called, jogging in her direction, bag clanging as it swung. He put his hands under her arms and lifted her back up, much to her dismay.

“Come on, Tom,” she whined. “I almost had it. If you’d’a given me just a second—”

“Babe, I know you wanna think you’re in tip-top shape,” he said, having returned from his journey downward, and bearing her golf club as his prize, “but you’re not. So don’t push it, okay?”

Deb huffed. “I would have got the club, Tom. I don’t like you treating me like this.”

“’Like this?’” Tom repeated. “What d’ya mean ‘like this?’”

“You doing things for me!”

Tom knitted his brow and placed his hands on his hips. “What, you mean like me making you lunch? Or bringing you tea in the morning?”

“That’s just it!” Deb pointed out. “You know I don’t like tea! Since I came back from the doctors you won’t even let me have coffee!”

Tom shrugged his shoulders. “But tea’s healthy!”

“I don’t care, Thomas,” she said. “Your tea isn’t gonna make me live longer!”

Tom stayed silent. But Deb wouldn’t.

“And you holding me when I’m walking down the stairs. You cleaning the house and not letting me help. Whenever I struggle the littlest bit you do it for me. And I don’t like it, Tom! It’s unlike you!”

Tom went googly-eyed. He didn’t understand what was going on. “That’s because I love you, Debby!” he defended. “What is wrong with me doing things for you?”

Deb paused a moment, and heaved a sigh. “Tom, I love when you do things for me,” she reassure. “Don’t get me wrong, I really do. But what it’s become over the last week…this is different. You do it all the time, not just once in a while. I’ve always helped you around the house, but now you won’t let me do anything at all that requires the slightest bit of effort. And I’ve been going along with it hoping you’d stop eventually, but it doesn’t seem that you’re gonna stop.”

Tom wasn’t trying to; in fact, he was specifically trying to prevent it. But he was trying in vain, for as Deb finished her statement a tear trickled down his cheek. He didn’t know what to say back, if anything at all.

Deb noticed the tear, and it seem in that instant her own eyes welled as well. “I know you’re upset,” she spoke, much more crackly than before. “You’re probably angry too. I know I would be. If I were you I’d be yelling at God to let you live.”

It was then that Tom had given up, and he sobbed. He put his hands to his face, catching the whimpers in his palms. Because that was exactly what he had been doing ever since Deb’s return from the doctors. First he had prayed, most reverent and sincere. Yet once the days had rolled on, and his wife was complaining of harsher pain than yesterday, those prayers had become fits of rage. Shouting and screaming at the Lord, demanding how such a good God could just sit and watch his Debby slowly fade away. How his Holy Father had the nerve to inflict this disease upon His beloved daughter. And as the days came and went the exchanges grew more and more heated, in which Tom had found himself spouting curses that he couldn’t keep himself from saying. He was angry, oh yes, and his faith was dying because of it.

“Please, Tommy!” Deb cried, as she wrapped her delicate arms around her husband. “Please don’t cry! I can’t stand it!” She had never seen Tom weep so openly, and so harshly. Only one other time she had witnessed such a fest. That day long ago, that they had originally wanted to keep discrete, but their parents had wanted extravagant, and a lake seemed like a nice place in between preferences. The day they stood upon the rickety dock, hand in hand, Thomas Robert Adison clad in black, and Debora Lynne Jones draped in white. The day they had promised to love each other always, and never abandon the other no matter what. That day they had bound themselves with golden jewelry, and had said to the other, “I do.”

A simple phrase, “I do.” One of the shortest sentences in the English language. How two miniscule words could mean so much lay unbeknownst to all of mankind. For Deb and Tom it meant that despite hardships they would be there for each other, that for eternity their love would be kept for one only. That nothing could tear them apart, not arguments nor fights nor disagreements.

That the only possible way for them to be taken from each other, for them to be ripped apart, was through nature’s cursed law.

“’Till death do you part.”

Tom didn’t want it to be so. He hadn’t agreed to this. The universe had no right. Debora was his. The world couldn’t take his Debby away from him.

It wasn’t her time yet. There was still so much that they had to do together. So many places for them to go. So many sights to see. Foods to eat, music to hear, people to meet, lessons to learn. Like golfing. Deb had asked Tom to teach her to golf that very morning, and he had much obliged. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he had said, and the fact held true. But how dare he tell her that she had plenty of time to practice her husband’s favorite sport?

Deb had weeks, at the very most. Her doctors had been generous with their estimations. Weeks before her frail organs shut down completely, and her body wouldn’t be able to function any longer.

“I can’t do it, Debora,” Tom whimpered over her shoulder. “I can’t let you leave me. I don’t want you to leave me. I love you so much.”

He couldn’t have seen it, but Deb couldn’t help but smile. “I love you too,” she said. “And whether you can do it or not, I have to go. So, in the weeks I have left to spend with you, instead of sulking, can we just enjoy it as much as we can?”

Tom suddenly stalled his weeping, as if he had frozen in time. Deb was right. He had been fulfilling tasks that he had thought up for her, and had stayed ignorant to her true desires. All she had wanted to do was be with him as long as she could. And if that just so happened to be this day only, then so be it. Acts of service was not what had kept them married these forty-seven years; it was their love. It was as if Tom had forgotten the very substance that marriage was meant to be made from. How could he had been so foolish?

He moved away from Deb slowly and wiped his damp face. “I’m sorry, Debby,” he said much bolder now. “You’re right. Let’s just enjoy our game for now.”

Deb wiped her finger under her eyelid, to remove any evidence of tears left from her mascara. “I agree. Let’s do it.”

And so the old timers made their way across the green, down by the rough, and on past a pond that was meant to lay as a snare, but actually looked quite stunning as it twinkled in the morning sun. Tom with his arm around his wife, as she walked alongside him smiling ear to ear. Nary a stumble in her step, as if she were not in the slightest amount of pain. She was a trooper, that little lady. He would have been the first to admit it.

She was tough, yet gentle.

Kind, yet flawed.

Beautiful, and that was all.

She was his Debby. And Tom couldn’t bargain with the Lord for her life.

He was her Tommy. And Deb wasn’t sure her departure would leave him unscarred.

But they would keep on living until the time would come. Enjoy this moment they had been blessed with as long as it would last.

For now, they were going to play golf.

Once they finally made it over to Hole Three. 

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