Ever thought about writing a book? Well I have but I never finished it.
Here’s an excerpt:
He had been home for no more than three days before the vexatious groans of home life brushed the halls like Christmas songs. To Michael, his mother and soon to be stepfather rarely seemed to fit, like pieces to different puzzles. Still they never bickered, but carried a childish infatuation towards each other. At night through the faint sounds of feral cats rummaging through the garbage bins he forgot to seal he could hear her strident giggle. They built conversation for hours on nothing. Had they really known the others deepest thoughts, fears, quirks? Hardly. Michael assumed the customary engagement or even dating process that would naturally diverge these two people would take place after the first few months.
When he first encountered Steve four and a half months ago—the observant son figured himself clever with the added half to account for their first bump at a local Save-a-lot on the east side of Flint Township before weeks later at a swap meet. They would run into one another on multiple occasions, it was a small place. His mother believed chance had blessed her so much that she overlooked the road signs that they might be moving a little pell-mell. Especially considering her circumstance. One weekend in late January, when Michael was visiting his mother, this meaty, considerable man with harsh breath and a chipped tooth approached them in the hygiene section no less. A comical notion to Michael now as Steve stumbled through his vows. He was in the middle of a cheap tact at being romantic about finding his true soul mate or something or the other.
It seemed the recent loss of her husband made Judy ring the dinner bell for the local stray dogs. And today being breaths away made him itch to write down the image for later. He snapped back into focus on Steve. That tooth. Anyone would find it difficult not to fixate on it at least for a moment. And Michael didn’t attempt to suppress this will. It was just Steve.
Overall he was a good-looking man, in the way that a shirt and tie could benefit any homeless man with good posture. Even for a man approaching the golden years of life and far from his peak condition of college, he carried himself well. Decades ago he received a football scholarship from Michigan Technical University in the hills of the Upper Peninsula. Halfway into his sophomore year he stopped playing—Michael attributed it to lack of performance, Steve to injury. Still he would major in aerospace engineering. After college, he picked up a job at a local car dealership and never felt the need to do more. It fit him well. He could dress professionally and undergo a power struggle with each costumer. In fact, he felt so passionate about it any mention of a car sent him to relive his inept feelings. Uncanny for a man his age about work, spitting mumbo jumbo about new shipments, models and discounts to apply in any situation. ‘The dance’ as he described it on multiple occasions, the relationship between the costumer and the dealer enthralled him. He had a niche for storytelling. Like a scratched CD repeating itself, his most memorable example was being thrown like a gladiator into the lion’s den. Sometimes Michael pondered on the riddle of who was the lion in these parables, even though he had no interest in any of this man’s business or minute triumphs he amused Steve with waning attention.
Mr. Harden was not a bad man in Michael’s opinion, just common. He neither felt compelled to relate to or care for him since soon enough he would be going back to school. If he could have missed the wedding due to class it wouldn’t have caused much disturbance. This always kept a comfortable distance between them, but both kept to formalities nonetheless in an unspoken agreement. True it had only been a few months, but even Steve recognized the needlessness to infer into his new future son’s life. Steve charged it to age and trying to relate to a kid in college was useless.
Neither drugs nor alcohol contributed to his stepfather’s deep obsession with presentation. Steve Harden was always ‘on,’ and he never failed to bring his cape or enlist others into his façade. He enjoyed seeing others be perfect without feeling it necessary for him to lead by example, as they say. There, snuggly in his world is where Judy fit. His mother Judy was a kind soul born past her time. She cooked, cleaned, found purpose in all the motherly duties and depended heavily on men to support her. Something that made Michael feel a small fire between his eyes whenever he sat on the thought too long. It wasn’t that her lifestyle called for lavish items but she simply could not do for herself past a certain point. She married Michael’s father right out of high school. Judy always contained herself in a manner straight out of an etiquette book. Her older brother, who now resides in Saginaw, once referred to her as the poor man’s Mary Poppins. Only in real life these motherly attributes stirred poorly with her only son. Michael had no close relatives his age growing up and passed his time mostly alone in an aching home built in the late 1920s by Irish immigrants looking to find a sustainable life.
The small sampling crammed into the hall and watched the couple faithfully. A man that looked to be on the edge of some fatal heart attack croaked. Steve raised an eyebrow, still concentrating on his love for his bride, and grinning affectionately.
Today they married in a quiet ceremony hall just off of Court Street in downtown Flint. They each had a handful of guests to witness the marriage even though they had already signed all the marriage papers and it had been official for a week now. So many people held their tongue about the whole situation many thought it best to just not go. The tension during the wedding was a mixture of confusion and curiosity. Later in the privacy of their homes and inner circles, mostly the women of similar old age would gossip. The speculation about how this mystery man appeared made some chalked it up to true love, but they were just being facetious. Next was Judy, was she cheating on her husband before his tragic accident? Was this kind woman leading a double life? Was it impossible? Finally, after joy and anger, most empathized for Michael and how tragic any one of their theories might have been for him. He had always been so quiet.