Okay this is an extremely rough...rough...rough draft. It's the first chapter to a story I've been working on for quite some time and I've had a hard time getting any farther than chapter 3. It's been a rough process but I think it's starting to come along better now. It needs editing and critiquing and basically I need another few pairs of eyes to tell me what I need to fix or add or take out. All that annoying shit. So! Tell me what you think. Chapter two will be up soon.
It never should have begun like this. If I could rewind those last few weeks and make them better I would take my chance in a heartbeat. I would wipe the pain away from every heart that felt its touch, and I would have been the son I never was. My life most definitely would not have begun like this.
My father was a simple, hard working man. He put in his time at the local auto-body shop; ripping cars apart, and putting them back together for his customers. He did his nine to five, Monday through Friday since he was eighteen. He was a simple yet hardworking man, that made the mistake of falling in love with a rich girl straight from the windows of every clothing shop you see in New York City.
My mother was sixteen when her family vacationed in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for the first time. The only rich family from New York to enjoy getting their hands dirty. They'd set up camp at the Lake Minatare Recreation Area to spend a week living off the grills and whatever fish they caught. Yadda yadda, blah blah. To make a long story short, her fathers' car broke down one afternoon and my father was the one to fix it. Love at first sight, and it all went down in history from there.
It's because of these events that I find myself boarding a plane headed for Scottsbluff. It's been fifteen years since I saw my dad. Fifteen years that I spent living the high life in New York City with my mother and her husband Bill. I never really thought about my life in Nebraska after we moved. It was full of awkward times and hardships, as well as fighting. Then one day my mother decided she'd had enough, packed up all our things and moved us back to live with her parents in the big apple. She got some spiffy job at a lawyers office, rebuilt her broken life within the year then met Bill, and well, that all went down in history as well. And everything's been sunshine and rainbows since. So I really never needed to look back and miss Scottsbluff. I sure do regret that now.
I got off the plane at about six in the evening. According to the arrangements made by grandma Bachelder, my uncle would be meeting me at the airport to drive me back to the house. My house actually, my fortress of pain. I guess standard procedure with someone dying and having a will, who ever is left with such-and-such an item, has to actually claim it. Which is exactly why I'm here in Scottsbluff. My father died last week from complications during heart surgery. He died and left me the only part of him he put his heart and soul into.
As I stepped out into the rain washed drive at the airport, I sighed. Rain wasn't something I ever liked, especially while living in New York City. Standing in front of the Scottsbluff Regional Airport made me realize that rain; rain was no different anywhere it occurred. I found a bulbous pillar a few feet in front of the exit to lean up against. It was the only part of the building not drenched in water and served a perfect spot for me to wait for my uncle - who I assumed, or hoped at least would have a sign bearing my name- to arrive. Lost in my thoughts, watching the tear shaped water droplets fall from the thick gray clouds, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. I looked over and scanned the heads bobbling along until I looked down and found the source.
"Ace?" The man asked tentatively. His face was flushed pink. Probably from running through the airport or at the very least from the chill of the rainy air. He offered a kind smile and urged me further.
"You're Ace Bachelder, am I right?" I blinked a few times while my brain gathered itself.
"Uncle Steve?" I croaked, my voice obviously weak from lack of use. His answering smile was wide stretching from ear to ear. His teeth were lightly tinted yellow, the pack of cigarettes in his upper pocket told me why.
"Glad you could make it, kiddo. This all your stuff?" he leaned forward and began lifting my suitcases off the cold, wet ground and edged towards the east gate. I lifted the last bag off the pavement and followed him. His rotund figure bobbled along through the people skillfully, even with his size. He gracefully dodged bodies left and right, while my less than perfect, lanky figure loped and knocked into half the people I tried avoiding. Uncle Steve merely snickered as we approached his truck.
"Walk much in the city?" he asked, obviously amused with my lack of balance. I glowered in his direction and looked down slightly embarrassed. I was never good on my feet unless I had a football in my hand. But graceful wasn't exactly the first word I'd use describing a game consisting of full body thrusts and smack downs and pummeling. Graceful ease didn't win a football game. It was brute strength and muscle mass.
"Didn't anyone ever teach you how to talk?" he chimed, a small antagonizing smirk began to form on his lips.
"Look, I didn't come here to get made fun of for being a city dweller. So the sooner you take me to my house, the sooner I'll be less of an ass." I snapped and instantly regretted it. What was I thinking speaking to my dad's brother like that? This was his family more than mine, what gave me the right to be disrespectful? I looked across the bed of his truck towards him and saw the frown and dislike clearly on his face.
"I'm sorry." I amended. "It's been a long day and I shouldn't have taken it out on you." I hoped that was enough for him. It seemed so as he shrugged and got into the truck. I hopped into the passenger side and became quite silent.
The drive from the city to the suburbs was short. An awkward silence hung thick like fog between the two of us. It didn't help that his truck smelled like tobacco and stale peppermint, the mixture causing me to want to vomit. It was after holding back my fourth dry heave from the stench that Uncle Steve pulled sharply off the small stretch of highway and onto an unpaved road. I bounced horribly and even smacked my head against the ceiling quite a few times as he drove up the winding drive to the house, not even trying to avoid the craters in the road. The small grin on his face told me pay back was a bitch for the snappy attitude I gave him earlier. Smartass.
I ignored this the best I could as we bounced along the drive and looked helplessly out my window at the pine trees framing the sides of the road. They were a lot taller than they were in my youth. Even as a child, the trees looked small enough to climb. But now as an adult any thought of getting my ass into those trees was laughable. They were enormous. I scowled towards the trees now. They much reminded me of prison bars and I laughed internally. They were prison bars. At least until I found a way to sell the house. Then I'd be a free man.
When we finally came to a stop I hopped out, glad to be free from the fumes of the truck. The rain had subsided on our drive and I was able to look up without my eyes being pelted with rain. I looked up at stone face of the house and gawked. Prison was an understatement. It looked more like a dungeon than anything else. The once white brick had turned a bluish gray with age and even though the stone itself was weathered soft, it had a much harder, fiercer look to it. The painted blue shutters were faded and chipping at random areas. A few of them even hung at haphazard angles, dangling almost completely off the windows. I looked around at the yard, trying to find at least one shed of familiarity to the place I once called home. The grass was almost as high as my waist. The lawn mower sat perched against the battered old shed next to the garage and was full of rust. It looked like it had been years since it had run properly. This wasn't my house!
"What the hell happened here?" I asked in an almost horrified voice. Nothing of this mess resembled my old home. There had to be a mistake. But as I slowly took in the surroundings there was no denying it. This was it. Everything was in the same place as it was fifteen years ago. Almost as if it hadn't been touched since my mother and I left.
"Didn't your mother tell you that he was sick? I don't know how many times Eileen and I called her asking if she could come help. Family's scarce in this area. No one else to call once you get to Ma." I stood there in the middle of the driveway in absolute horror. Why didn't she tell me about this? I immediately reached for my phone, but I didn't get any farther than opening it before I slammed it shut forcefully. Being the middle of no where and far from cellular ports meant no service.
"Why wouldn't she have told me about this? I mean I could have helped out ages ago. I haven't been doing anything other than going to school." Anger began to coarse through me but there was nothing I could do now. The damage was done and my father… he was gone.
Created: Jan 08, 2010Document Media