Tawny Weatherly: a short story

Tawny Weatherly was the last person I wanted to see today. Tawny was a chain smoker, and had been since the age of fifteen. She had been diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and by a medical miracle survived it. Now, she spoke robotically through a voice box, while puffing a cigarette at the same time. As a home health nurse, I had never met someone that disregarded their health as much as Tawny. Weighing close to 450 pounds she often surrounded herself with take out pizzas, fried chicken boxes, and the wrappers of fried pies. She was a healthcare nightmare. Not because her blood pressure was 142/ 110. Not because her heart carried four stints. But solely because she, Tawny Weatherly, had the worst living personality that this world could offer.

People often pitied Tawny, but Tawny Weatherly did not deserved to be pitied. Even to me, her sole social connection, she was abrasive. During our first meeting, I had been fooled as she sweetly smiled at my greeting. After twenty minutes of explaining how the nursing visits would work. Her only question was, “you’re quite ugly, aren’t you?” As a bold blonde that had won several beauty competitions in her younger years, I boiled hot with anger. How dare a woman with two missing front teeth and mole at the corner of her wrinkled smile tell me that I’m ugly! I wanted to reply with rash harsh words, but instead I replied, “ beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” She grinned and said, “Then your beholders must be blind.” It’s safe to say that our appointment ended early that day. Since that appointment, she has blatantly accused me of cheating on my nurse’s exams and contacted my supervisor three times to give bogus accusations of her medications being stolen. One time as I was checking her breast for lumps at her request, she screamed sexual harassment not to my supervisor but to her primary care physician-a man who happened to be a dear friend to my devoted husband. Tawny was a very miserable woman, and I was about sick of her misery. I entered Tawny’s home expecting to be greeted with a cloud of smoke, and not to my surprise I was. I expected a voice to erupt from the cloud, but no voice came. No sound at all. No Tawny to be seen. Then I remembered that today’s appointment was a 2:00pm, a tad early for Tawny’s schedule and I weighed the likelihood that Tawny was still asleep. Every part of me wanted to leave it at that , but that would only mean coming back tomorrow, and Tomorrow was my birthday and I wasn’t about to let Tawny Weatherly ruin my birthday. I made my way to the bedroom as Twinkie wrappers crunched beneath her feet and the smell of old food strangled my nose. It was dark, only sunlight gleamed through the shades guiding my path through the tiny living room. The cigarette smoke was suffocating as I reached the other side of the glass ashtray, the source. Finally on other side of the grape soda stained couch, I reached the bedroom door. The knob was greasy, but I managed to turn it. Cheetos lined the bedroom floor with a sprinkling of lays potato chips. Tawny laid on her king size bed with her feet prompted on two empty pizza boxes. There were several burns in the carpet from fallen cigarettes, and my mind danced around the idea of a burning Tawny gleaming on fire, but I quickly shook the morbid image from my mind. I studied Tawny’s resting face and for a second she seemed angelic, harmless, forgivable. Then in the next second , I noticed her extreme lack of movement. No rising or falling of the chest . No air through the nostrils. Nothing. “Tawny,” I screamed shaking her viciously. “Tawny, Tawny”. I grabbed her arm, checking her pulse and finally there was nothing. Not even an inkling of life. Taken aback, my feelings changed from panic to glee. Tawny Weatherly was dead. Happy Birthday to me.  

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