Becoming Better

Ashley Thornton

      Tuesdays are better than Mondays, said no one ever. Well, Rachel said that. But she said a lot of things, all of them not things that normal people would say.

      I remembered the first time she went to my fiance’s house. Called the cat a moocher and told her to get a job. Could you believe it? Thinking of the cat before me. But that was classic Rachel. Lawyer, no nonsense, fashion terrorist Rachel, and I was the prissy pumpkin of the pair. She tried to tell me that the marriage was a bad idea. You’re selling yourself short, she said. A ten million dollar mansion is selling myself short? But she just declared that I was worth better. Some statement; his poodle had a busier blue collar life than me.

      You’re better than this, she wailed.

      If I was better than this, I would have a one hundred million dollar mansion, and the dogs would be sitting on the cool green lawn wearing collars of rubies instead of amethyst and garnet.

      But I kept that to myself. I was an Emily, after all. And us Emily’s, we had it together. We were much better than those Katies and Amanda’s, and, if we dare speak of her, Karen. Don’t even get me started on those Ari’s and Regina’s. Britneys are the worst.

      Where was I? Sorry, I lost my train of thought. See, I’m nice. A true Britney wouldn’t even say sorry. The-

      Oops, sorry. John wouldn’t want me to swear.

      Who is John? My husband! At least for now. His lung cancer hasn’t been kind to him.

      Cigarettes. We always had that in common. When I first met him-in a monkey suit, black and white shoes, dull diamond bedecked bowtie, everything too tight, a long French cigarette falling out of his hand.

      Fell. The cigarette fell to the ground, he fell in love with me, and I fell for the ritz and glamour of the twenty one karat, rose petal adorned, elephant statue chandelier, the minifridge of Fiji Water and white wine, the red macaws, the azalea clumped pavilion, the mustached and sumptuously dressed set of butlers that dried his favorite white blazer and pinned it to a line, the
Mickey Mouse shaped celestial blue swimming pool, the sweeping staircase, and oh my goodness, Rachel, the view.

      She sighed behind the phone line.

      “Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

      “You’re not assisting me, Rachel. You’re just being a little bedbug.”

      “Am not, Emily!”

      “Humph!” I hung up. I walked out of the parlor to the second floor and into the bedroom,
pushing open the double doors melodramatically as I sashayed into the room. And there he was,
my John. Open mouthed, disheveled, drooling, dead.

      I took off my six inch goose feather heels and scrambled to his side. Like any good fiance would, I tried to plug his nose and breath into his mouth like those lifeguards on TV. That didn’t
seem to work, so I checked his pill bottles in the neighboring bathroom to see if he had missed one by accident. No, all eight of them were empty. His prescribed tonic glass was empty as well. Soap was still clinging to the claw footed tub, and a rubber ducky dressed as Santa Claus was dry and lonely by the gilded pull-and-drain plug.

      And by it, a letter.

      I ripped the seal apart with my fuschia-and-green seashell glued gel nails, hasty to see what could have led to his demise. The note was short. My will. The love of my life, Emily. You
really aren’t no Britney. Take the money. Bye-bye. -John Cherrywood

      Oh, the joy! I was in tears. What a compliment. I wasn’t a Britney, was I? And all I had to do was outlive him. I skipped to his side, happy to remove from his withered, wrinkled hand
the glittering diamond engagement ring.