Soon Debra and John were quietly looking for a place together. It had to do with vigilance and quick reflexes and the will to fight.They found a ,500-a-month house on the boardwalk on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. “The world ends,” she would say, “and those who are fit to survive will survive.” She was as nonconfrontational as her sister Jacquelyn was assertive.
High black Gucci heels, designer jeans, Chanel bag.
At 59, married and divorced four times, she had begun to worry that she was too old for another chance at love.
She called them “approachable dreams.” They were like glossy ads in upscale lifestyle magazines — purged of kids’ toys and dirty dishes and other real-world complications. She didn’t mind his idiosyncrasies, like his habit of wearing his faded blue medical scrubs everywhere, even to a formal-dress cancer benefit she invited him to.
In her big Irvine warehouse, among the vases and mirrors and other decorative bric-a-brac, stood shelves of color-coordinated hardback books — aqua, navy, gray, brown — because books made nice furniture in perfect homes. The titles didn’t matter, as long as they omitted the words “sex” and “death.” Her perfect rooms were like the face you presented on dates, inviting people to fantasize about the piece that may complete their lives. Some people snickered, but she thought, “Busy doctor.” “So you are the real thing,” she texted him after one date.
She went to bed thinking, “Jerk.” She thought, “Cross off another one.” The next day she was back at her office, a little sad, trying to lose herself in work.