Thursday, January 28, 2021

Just Because You Can (Part Two)


(See Part One here)

Deanie got up the next morning and left Calvin in the bed to sleep it off.

After they’d left the party last night, Deanie stopped at a gas station and got a pack of cigarettes while Calvin slept in the passenger seat. She was never a smoker but smoking with Jolene felt kind of right. 

When they got home, Deanie got Calvin to wake up enough that she could haul him into the house and dump him into bed. Then she stayed up, smoked, and drank some whiskey. She honestly wished she had some of her Daddy’s moonshine that he used to brew up in the mountains. But whiskey would do for now. 

She finally got up and carried herself off to bed, unzipping her dress along the way. When she got into their bedroom, she let her dress fall to the floor, took off her stockings and underthings, and slipped a nightgown over her head. She slid in between the sheets and laid awake for a while as Calvin snored beside her. 

She thought about Jolene and how she seemed to want to be her friend. She thought about the things Jolene had said about both of their husbands. She finally dozed off to sleep and thanks to the whiskey (not to mention Ferlin’s dirty martoonis), she slept deeply. 

Deanie woke up to more of Calvin’s snoring. She rolled out of bed, put her robe on, and made herself some coffee. After she poured herself a cup, she sat down at the kitchen table and lit a cigarette. She looked at it. How had she never picked up this habit? She didn’t know, but she was enjoying it now. 

As she sat and looked out the window at the back yard, the phone rang. She answered on the second ring. “Hello, Marshall residence.” 

“So formal, Deanie! Hey. This is Jolene.” 

“Hey, Jolene. Thanks for calling. How are you?” 

“I’m fine. How are you doing?”

“Good. Just listening to Calvin snore.” 

Jolene laughed. “Ferlin is upstairs so I can’t hear him, but he was snoring too when I got up this morning!” 

Deanie laughed. “Seems like they can’t handle their liquor.” 

“Not as well as we can, that’s for damn sure.” 

Deanie stifled a laugh and took a drag on her cigarette. 

“Deanna Joy Marshall, are you smoking?” 

Deanie giggled. “I am!”

“You said you didn’t smoke!”

“I don’t. But today seemed like a good time to start.” 

“Well, don’t let it become a habit. You won’t enjoy it eventually.” 


“I was wondering if you’d want to come over for lunch one day this week. I feel like...well, I do want to be friends with you.” She paused. “I’d really like to have a friend like you, Deanie.” 

Deanie listened in astonishment. Someone as glamorous as Jolene wanted to be friends with her? She finally managed to stammer out, “I’d...I’d really enjoy that, Jolene. Thank you.” 

“Wonderful! Is Tuesday good for you? One o’clock?” 

“Yes, that would be great.” 

“Oh, I’m so pleased. Hey, here’s a tip, honey. Make sure you have coffee made for when Calvin gets up. If you don’t, he’ll be a real pain in the ass.” 

Deanie burst into laughter. “Jolene!” 

Jolene laughed, too, but said, “Trust me on this one. When we hang up, you’d best make it right away.” 

Deanie said, “Okay, I will, I will.” She lowered her voice. “And yes, Calvin is a pain in the ass if he doesn’t have his morning coffee! I can’t imagine how bad he’ll be when he has a hangover.” 

Jolene snorted and said, “I’m sure. See you on Tuesday, Deanie! Kisses!” 

“See you then.”

Deanie hung up the phone slowly. She seemed to have made a friend. 

She stubbed out her cigarette and got up to put on the percolator for Calvin’s coffee. She sat back while it brewed and lit another cigarette, smoking as she looked out the window. 

The coffee was finishing up when she heard Calvin stirring in the bedroom and making his way to the bathroom. He finished up and shuffled out to the kitchen, and sat heavily in the chair across from Deanie at the kitchen table. 

She said, “Good morning.” 

He grunted and she rolled her eyes. 

He said, “Coffee?” 

Deanie was suddenly livid. “On the stove. You literally walked right past it.” 

He finally looked up at her. “Get me a cup?” 

“Are your legs broken?” 

His eyes widened but then his need for coffee overcame his irritation and he went to the kitchen and poured himself a cup. She viciously thought, “How hard was that, dummy?” 

He came back to the table and plopped into the chair again, taking a big swig of coffee. He seemed to finally get himself together and looked up at her and the first thing he said was, “Are you smoking?!” 

She stared at him and realized at that moment that she despised him. He wasn’t that sweet boy up in the mountain woods anymore. He was just an asshole. She blew a cloud of smoke into his face, making him cough. “I don’t know. Am I?” 

He waved his hand in the air. “Jesus, Deanie. Since when did you start smoking?” 

“As of now.” She glared at him. 

He sat back in the chair but it was obvious that he didn’t have any strength to do anything other than stare at her. “Well, at least open a damn window.” 

He got up and went into the living room and clicked on the television. She heard him fall onto the couch, where he’d probably spend the rest of the afternoon. 

She sighed and started cleaning up the kitchen. 


She let him have his time on the couch. In the early evening, he finally went in and got dressed. She started putting dinner together and when he came back out, he was more civil. She decided to be a little nicer, too. She served up the Salisbury steaks and vegetables and sat down with him at the table. He complimented her on the dinner but they didn’t talk much beyond that. To be honest, she was thinking about what she would wear to her lunch date with Jolene. 

After he finished eating, he gave her a kiss on the cheek and went in to watch a little more television. She sighed and muttered, “You’re welcome.” 

She cleaned up the dinner dishes, tidied up the kitchen, and looked around. Everything was in its place. Or was it? 

She walked into the living room where Calvin was sprawled out on the couch. “Good night, Calvin.” 

He looked up in surprise. “You’re going to bed now? It’s early.” 

“I’m feeling tired.” 

She went to the bedroom and put on her nightgown, then brushed her teeth. She climbed into bed and laid awake until she heard Calvin come into the bedroom. He slid into bed beside her and put his arm around her waist. He nuzzled her neck. “Deanie, you mad at me? Don’t be, darlin’.” 

She didn’t say anything. He rolled her onto her back so he could look at her. “Don’t be this way, Deanie.” He climbed on top of her. “No one else can love you like I do. You know that.” 

He pushed her nightgown up and when he entered her, she looked over at the window. The moon was shining brightly over the trees and she stared at the moon. She thought about how the moon looked when it rose over the trees up in the mountains. She thought about a boy who had promised her the moon as he kissed her under the trees as the cicadas sang. 

Calvin finally finished and climbed off of her. He laid back and fell asleep almost immediately. Deanie laid awake for a long while and when she started to finally doze off, Calvin began muttering incoherently in his sleep. He finally said a word Deanie recognized.