Monday, May 26, 2008

The Death of Debby Hanssen

Because the world is flat,
it turns me on.
Because dreams twist inside,
they blow my mind.

Who am I? Who are you?
What was here? What was true?

Because we'll never die,
it makes me cry.

"It was the death of a liar - but not the lie."

In the bright, optimistic sun of a Spring morning, the grief was heartfelt and genuine. Tears flowed and sorrow ran deep knowing Debby had left the Earth forever. With all trespasses now forgiven, she once again attained the status of pure angel and was revered through a selective lens. Debby had been born a dreamer, one who saw gifts in life others missed. Her aura naturally drew admirers to her and she was appointed the Golden Child.

It was a corruption she never survived.

Growing up, she was an ascending star; her classmates voting her Homecoming Queen and Most Popular. And Debby was the rare exception of one who held those titles without also engendering jealous hatred. It was as if her peers sought to preserve their own dreams by vaunting her. She pursued none of this success. They loved her because she so clearly saw and believed in her dreams of life.

But the superstars of school rarely become the superstars of life. Debby knew what her dreams of love meant: an eventual marriage and the heavenly existence of two being as one. This Super Marriage was to be her ultimate achievement, justifying all previous acclaim. The Good Girl needed to make good and fulfill her dream of being a beacon of light to the world. But along the way it turned out she needed something else much more: approval.

Approval was the drug she succumbed to and it fed into her a paralyzing fear that robbed her of her courage. Could she truly live up to the honors bestowed upon her? The fear of losing adulation became greater than the fear of losing her dreams. Debby the silent addict went to war, her soul battling the lie that the flow of approval must never stop or her fall from grace would be eternal.

Yet the truth was just the opposite.

Going into college she still held onto much of her courage. But who was she? What would she be when came out? No longer the superstar she but only a mere mortal. "Look at that Debby girl now," they would say, "working as a secretary, leading an ordinary life. What a fraud." Praise would become contempt, the hero an outcast - and all the world would know. This bothered Debby but not to the point of doing anything. She resigned to let the war continue in deeper silence. But her Maker had
no intentions of letting such weakness continue.

To bring Debby back to the path of her dreams - to end her being a house divided - God sent the Wrong Man to her - one who would understand her weakness but not her dreams. Debby would famously recount how at first she dispelled notions of romance between the two but that even through her doubts the flower of love grew. At least,
that was her spin on it. The Wrong Man gave voice to all her fears of self-doubt and slyly offered the prize of marriage to her anxious heart. Little by little he whittled away her strength until finally, the lie became truth and she betrothed it.

The hell of battle took casualties upon her soul, making ever dimmer the Light of hope for her dreams. God was pained by the sight of her moving further away and
sent a second voice to rekindle her true desires. But with her passions inflamed once more, the war within split her in two. The path to happiness lie in first being able to live on her own - a fate she declared unacceptable. How many times had she sneered on the solitary little people with less in their lives than her? "They have no faith!" she presumed, shaking her head. No, to become one of "them" was too much to ask. Yet, with the raging desires of her dreams' delights intoxicating her once more with the joys of life, the emptiness of her marriage could no longer be denied.

For a while there was hope.

She took a
few feeble steps towards independence and left the comforting bubble of approval. Debby found she was more that what she described herself to be. But her pushers were calling her back, telling her to reclaim the holiness of a well manicured marriage. And what if her dreams were merely delusions? If she stayed on this path and it too turned up empty, what would she have then? What could she have? At least back in her marriage she had praise back in her life. Empty praise, but praise nonetheless. So back she went.

Every step back into her old life became more painful with each passing day. The truth she could never admit veered out of control and took Debby along with it. Her house was infested with lies but she belied any outward concerns by bringing children into it, thusly reassuring her admirers she was on the road to righteousness and responsibility. But the internal explosions finally culminated in
the infamous Incident, wrecking her cherished image that suffocated her so dearly. But even that could not break the chains of fear. The lie must live on agreed one and all.

Until her war
took a victim who brought pain for the ages.

The suicide of her son, their eldest child, brought Debby into the deepest flames of hell. Her lie just kept costing more and more! But it was the responsible thing to do she was assured. Carry on and call it God's will. Physically and mentally she was never the same, oftentimes seeming distracted and disinterested. She would keep on being the Good Girl and do What Was Expected but the heartbreak of it finally drove Debby to her young grave. Where she was glorified one final time.

The mourners glowingly recalled Debby's dreams, her youthful successes and her onetime vibrancy. Today, even The Incident was forgotten and some supposed her a good mother. They hailed who she was but not what she was. The enablers of Debby also were lowered into her grave. In life, they claimed that by sticking up for her lies, they were sticking up for her. Yet tragedy came all the same.

Debby Hanssen was a Babe Ruth who never played baseball. She was born, but never was. She never let anyone in on her truth - not even those who already knew it.

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