"Don't worry. I knew you assholes were going to be late. I told you guys 5 but rehearsal really starts at 5:30.... You're welcome".
That is a brief phone conversation I had with Debbie, Nicole and Jodi the evening before my wedding. They made it to rehearsal on "time", even though they took the worst way to the church and claimed to have been stuck behind a school bus and a tractor.( Pfff, really? In Wisconsin?). I lived with those three for many years of my college life and they were an important part of my and Brad's relationship. They continued with their roles at our wedding, two being bridesmaids and one being my "bitch" (her words, not mine). Debbie only swore twice in church. I got married and she kept her swearing in single digits. I call it a successful day.
L to R-Debbie, me, Jodi and Nicole.
The last picture of us four.
Three weeks after the wedding, on October 22, we lost Debbie to a car accident. I remember where I was (at home), who I was with (Brad), what I was doing (eating), what I was eating (food I won't eat anymore) and what the weather was like (cold and rainy). You can't accurately describe or portray how you feel, physically or emotionally, when you find out someone you love dies. You can't. It either sounds over sentimental and full of shit or indifferent and cold. So I won't try to. I also won't bore you with the same sentiments of "cherish the times you have" or "be grateful for every person in your life". Even though you should do all of those things. Because if I did, I could hear Debbie say "[It's] Sad that you suck so much".
908 Union Roomies
I met Debbie when I was pledging for the sorority, Phi Omega, my sophomore year of college. I dragged my roommate, Jodi, along with me to some of the events. Debbie definitely stood out. If I could accurately describe her in three words, they would be "Loud as hell". She couldn't help the fact that she was a human megaphone. We affectionately called her "Foghorn". She called me "T-Bag" but NOT for the reason you sickos might think. She liked her food hot, Schmude Hot, which is straight out of the fryer hot. New girls in the sorority, myself once included, had always been intimidated by her. She fronted as a hardass, but she wasn't really that big and bad. At a sorority retreat, the new girls were in charge of making breakfast for all of the active members. Debbie was still sleeping and we told some girls to go and wake her up. "Nuh, uh. I'm not waking her up. She'll yell at us", they said. I reassured them that she would not yell, that was just how her voice was. They didn't believe me. So I told them I would wake her up and that they should watch the master at work. I grabbed a flip flop, got a running start into her room and flew at her like a spider monkey. I smacked her on the ass with the flip flop, tucked and rolled off the bed and shouted "Wake your ass up, Debbie. Breakfast's ready". She grumbled, got up (eventually) and came out for coffee.
Debbie, Jodi, Nicole, Anna, Franny, Jess and I all moved in together (not all of us at the same time) in the shithole known as 908 Union. It was truly terrible; the house and us. We were the messiest group of bitches I've ever encountered. I eventually lived across the hall from Debbie, the only two downstairs. She wouldn't let me forget that she was there. Many days I would wake up at the crack of noon to her blaring ABBA and 80's music in the shower, which was right next to my head. Instead of texting Jodi or going upstairs to talk to her, they would both scream at one another. "WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR LUNCH" "I DON'T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR LUNCH?". Hey guys, you know what I want for lunch? A big helping of shut the hell up and meet at the stairs to discuss this, I have napping to do. We lived there together for two years. We laughed, cried, fought, watched horrible movies, got broken into, got egged, almost started the fucker on fire TWICE and left with five truckloads of garbage that we dumped off at the campus garbage bins. Why? Because we stopped cleaning a month before our lease was up. I could probably go on and on with stories about that house. I'll save it for another time...maybe I'll write a book :)
Debbie had some amazing qualities. She was fiercely loyal. No one messed with her family or friends. Brutally honest as well. She wouldn't sugar coat things and would tell you straight up her honest opinion if you asked for it and even if you didn't. I once had the greatest idea ever. I told her that I was going to take my new phone and record the ringtones from my old phone onto it so I wouldn't have to buy them again. After I laid out my plan, I beamed at her, waiting for her to tell me it was the best thing she's ever heard. "That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's not going to work". I told her it was going to work and that she could screw off because she didn't think of it. Five minutes later, after it didn't work, I told her she was right. She nodded her head in agreement, because she already knew that. One thing that I admired the most about Debbie was the fact that she never put herself down. She would never sit around and complain that she didn't have a boyfriend or wish that she was skinny. She was who she was and didn't give a shit. She was like the original Honey Badger.
I would like to finish up with one of my favorite stories with Debbie. (Now, we had many, many stories, quite a few of them being a touch inappropriate to bring up right now.) Every year, Debbie's family (which is like 50 people) would go camping for the weekend at what was called the Thresheree. It was a small town farm equipment thing held every summer at the grounds next to a river. We never really paid much attention to what the weekend truly was about, because we aren't farmers. All we knew was that it was an excuse to camp out for an entire weekend, drink and go tubing down the river. One night, after drinking throughout the day, Debbie became upset about something. She refused to tell anyone what was going on. So I thought I'd cheer her up. I went up to her and sweetly started to serenade "Have I Told You Lately, That I Love You?" by Rod Stewart. Surely this would be the key to her happiness. "Stop it ", she told me. "Why? Doesn't this make you happy?" I asked. "No, it makes me want to punch you". Idle threat. I continued to sing, like a sweet drunken bird. She continued to tell me to stop, but I knew she secretly loved it. "You ease my trouble, that's what you do", I exclaimed. "I'm going to ease my fist into your face if you don't leave me alone". Then she ran away, but I ran after her. She let me catch her and sing to her some more. I wonder if she would've liked me to sing "Rhythm of My Heart" as an encore? (Youtube it, it's good). She thanked me at some point, whether it was that night or the next morning.
I'm not sure what about that story makes it my favorite. Maybe in hindsight, it's because I was able to tell her I loved her in my own way. Well, in Rod Stewart's words, but my own way nonetheless. Maybe it sticks out because other memories that were of everyday events are starting to fade slightly. But it really described how our relationship was: me annoying Debbie but her not minding it because I was her T-Bag and I earned the right to annoy her. Regardless, I choose not to mourn Debbie today, but to think of all the crazy times I shared with her. Not just my stories with her, but her friends and families memories and stories too. She would have expected that. (I can just hear her say "Oh my gawd, did you seriously just say that? LAAAAAME!!!).