Resurrection 27Posted: November 10, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Tom met Rachel at a party while doing his undergrad. She was three years younger and a freshman at Morehead State University, 60 miles east of Lexington, at the time. She was there visiting a friend and had gone to the party with her.
MSU is often called a “teacher’s college” because they produce more education majors than anything else. In Eastern Kentucky being a public school teacher gave a person similar status to doctors and lawyers, just not the pay. With so many education majors, 60% of the students were female. Girls at MSU made it a habit on the weekends to end up at UK, where there were more boys to choose from.
Tom was instantly smitten with Rachel. Her shoulder length brunette hair, her glowing light blue eyes, her bright smile.
She was tall. Tom, being shorter himself, tended to ask out girls who were petite. He wasn’t too sensitive about his height, but girls tended to prefer guys taller than they were. As they talked that first night, he realized she was wearing flats and was almost as tall as he. She didn’t seem to care.
For both of them that first night the other party goers ceased to exist. They were the only two people in the room. Tom told his best stories with him in the roll of the hero. Rachel listened intently, transfixed by his deep brown eyes. She was smitten as well.
Before the night was over they exchanged numbers and Tom promised to call.
In the months that followed, there were many late night calls. Despite his academic demands, Tom was never too tired to talk with Rachel. Where he used to go home to Silerville or bar hopping with his friend most weekends, he now found himself in Morehead. By the time Tom finished his undergrad, they were deeply in love.
Med school changed all that. The demands of study and labs meant Tom had little time to talk on the phone and most weekends had to play “catch up” in his studies. Rachel would often come down to Lexington, and they would go out or just hang out at his apartment. Still the time and attention to grow a relationship were difficult for him to find.
His second year of med school, Rachel decided she needed more. She was about to graduate and wanted to go on with her life. She loved Tom desperately, but she needed someone who was present. Someone who was “there.”
“Tom, I need to talk to you about something,” Rachel had called one Tuesday night.
“Sure, Rach, what’s up?” Tom had no clue.
“I’m about to graduate and I’ve been thinking about my future. Tom, I love you, you know that, but I don’t think this is working out for us.”
Tom was blindsided, “Wow. Did I say something or do something to hurt you? Seriously, Rach, if I did, I’m sorry. I’ve just been so busy and stressed…”
“No, Tom, you’re wonderful. You didn’t say anything wrong. I just…it’s just you have so much to do and med school is another two years, then residency. I don’t think you have time for a relationship. I love you and I love every minute we spend together, it’s just I want to have a real life with you, but you aren’t going to have time.” She was tearing up as she spoke. Tom could hear her voice cracking.
“We knew this would be a hard time, we talked about it. It’s temporary and then we can get married, move to Silerville, start our lives,” Tom pleaded.
“I don’t think it’s working for us, Tom. I have to go. I will love you always.” Rachel hung up and dissolved into tears.
The next two months Tom was devastated. His friends counseled, “The best way to get over a woman is to get under another.” Tom didn’t find it funny. He didn’t want to date, to find someone else, he just wanted “his” Rachel back.
Rachel was miserable as well, though she handled it better. She had graduation to plan, parties, family. She still thought about Tom, thought about calling, thought about trying again. She wondered if she had made a huge mistake or if she would ever find anyone else as caring, as smart, as ambitious. Someone who made her feel the way Tom always made her feel. She decided it wasn’t fair to Tom. She knew she had broken his heart as well as her own. She couldn’t do that to him again.
On the day of her graduation, Rachel’s parents, grandparents and brother all showed up. She was the first one in her family to get a college degree. Her brother wouldn’t graduate for another few years. They were all exceedingly proud.
They were all there in a group, smiling and talking in front of the ACC, when Tom approached.
“Tom? Thank you for coming! I had no idea you’d come.” Rachel hugged him, “It’s good to see you.”
Once she released, Tom got down on one knee, taking her hand.
“Rachel, you know I love you and I know you love me. Yes, I will be busy for the next several years. I know we need time together for this to work for you as well as for me. All I know is, no matter how busy life gets for us, I want to go to bed with you in my arms every night. I want to wake up next to you every morning. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Tom reached into his suit pocket and produced a ring box. Opening it he asked, “If that’s what you want too, will you marry me?”
Rachel’s mouth began to quiver, her eyes filled with tears. “But…Tom…we…” she began. In an instant she knew. She knew she wanted to be Tom Sibley’s wife. She knew she wanted the life with him she had dreamed of for the last three years. She knew without a doubt.