The garage was a wreck. Collections of VHS and cassette tapes sat in plastic bins in the middle of floor waiting to be played again. Disassembled furniture stacked against the wall. Wrappers from fast food restaurants and empty Pepsi cans had lain strewn all over the floor. Along with the boxes of junk were two couches, a dresser and old luggage that had been passed down throughout the family from decade to decade. Boxes of used clothing and toys from the children whom were now grown with families of their own still lurked in the dustiest corners of the garage.
The owner of the home stood in the middle of the garage with his arms crossed. Slowly, he pulled out a half pack of Marlboros and a lighter from the back pocket of his Levi’s. He pulled out a cigarette, stuck it in his mouth and lit it. He inhaled, took out the cigarette and blew out rings of smoke. He stuck the cigarette back into his mouth and allowed it to hang from his lower lip, a skill he had developed from his years of smoking.
The homeowner walked over to his toolbox on the opposite of the garage across the junk piles. He pulled out a hand held air compressor that was lying on top of the tools in the box. He walked out onto the driveway to the motorcycle propped up on its center stand. Carefully, he unwrapped the small air compressor that had its own cord neatly wrapped around it. He plugged it into the extension cord that dangled from the light fixture from the ceiling of the garage. The other end for inflating air was placed on the back tire of the motorcycle. The homeowner pressed the button on the little machine and it began to hum, working its magic. The homeowner blew out another puff from his cigarette and walked over to the side of the garage with the junk piles.
I can’t wait until she gets all her stuff out of here, he thought to himself. The homeowner jammed his hands into his front pockets and walked back and forth inside the garage. He spotted a folded green chair that was sticking out from behind a pile of old computer printers. He grabbed the chair and placed it on the edge of the garage opening. The garage door was opened fully exposing the world to the dishevelment of the garage.
The homeowner sat quietly in his chair, working on the last bits of his cigarette. The humming of the air compressor finally stops and the all is quiet in the neighborhood. The homeowner tips his head back in the chair and allows his mind to wander.
The past year had been a tumultuous time for the distinguished homeowner. He had been laid off in the beginning of the previous year and had been through a bitter divorce. Many obstacles had been placed in the homeowner’s path which had forced him to re-strategize his future goals several times. Because of the mishandling of money by business colleagues/friends and an avaricious ex-wife, his future had been nearly terminated. With ambition and following through on a tough decision, his future and finances will be restored.
One main part in the divorce settlement stated that the homeowner must give thirty thousand to his unrequitting better half. Something that she couldn’t wait to get her hands on. Another twenty thousand was owned to close friends. These friends had loaned the homeowner ten thousand as start up money for his body shop that fixed and restored motorcycles. The homeowner’s plan was to use investment strategies from online stock market investing to put more money into his small business and to repay those who had helped him.
By working diligently, he was able to double his friends’, also his business partners, money stock market investing. He had successfully turned their invested ten thousand dollars into twenty thousand. The entire focus was about investing for the future. The stock market; to those who have no understanding of the market it’s a huge risk.
For the handful of people who were involved with the homeowner’s project, this is a wonderful opportunity for early retirement and financial independence. Stock market investing had given the homeowner the financial support he needed as well as loans from colleagues, wages from jobs and his retirement plan he had had with his previous employer. He was determined to work for himself and to have the motorcycle shop he had always wanted. He was determined to have a comfortable future for himself and his family.
The homeowner was hit was disbelief when his wife left. He recalled the sleepless nights of contemplating what had went wrong. He would walk the empty house remembering Halloween and Christmas holidays when the home was full of laughter and joy. He was happy then. Or so he thought. The homeowner realized his marriage wasn’t what he thought it was. His wife was distant and their conversations decreased. As the children got older over the years, she became more withdrawn from her husband and more time with herself or the children in their lives. The homeowner never complained and thought it wonderful that mother and children were close. However, the homeowner became to feel lonely and neglected and found things to keep his mind occupied. Thus, the ideas of stock market investing and operating a motorcycle body shop were born.
The homeowner had a good reputation in his neighborhood and his side of town of being an excellent mechanic. He was good with people and had a repeat business of customers dropping their bikes off at the garage of his home. He had the customer base, all he needed was a convenient location. Borrowing against his 401K at work, he set out to find the perfect spot for a shop garage. Once the spot was picked, contracts signed and the money was put down, the homeowner had begun to move his clientele to his new shop and began dabbling in the stock market.
One of the investors, whom was the homeowner’s good friend and had the most money in the project, had unintentionally on several different occasions had nearly destroyed the day-trading project. This particular individual has a bad habit with impatience and spending money before it is made. Four motorcycles, three Jaguar luxury cars, a mistress, a pending divorce and credit cards tapped to the maximum, the homeowner’s friend was back on the path to financial destruction. The homeowner had saved his friend from financial disaster twice before but he did not have the energy to do it for a third time.
Most of the money that had been spent on frivolous items instead of going toward the shop or the investment plan. This had left the homeowner in a bind, leaving him scrounging for his next month’s house payment. Because of limited funding and the homeowner’s past due bills, he was left with no other option but to sell his house and the motorcycle shop he had worked so hard for. The selling of both assets was an extremely painful decision, but the only way to save his future.
The last ash fell from the cigarette. The homeowner took the butt from his mouth and tossed it aside. He unplugged the cord and the air intake of the air compressor off of the bike and put it away. He walked over to the motorcycle, pulled it from its center stand and gently sat it on the side stand. Just as he had begun to walk back into the garage, a green car pulled up right in front of his house and parked. The homeowner turned to face the car and cringed at the sight of it.
An older woman emerged from the vehicle and walked up the drive way to the garage. The homeowner took in a deep breath, popped another cigarette into his mouth and lit it. Calmly, he walked over to the woman whom was standing before his open garage.
“I need some help moving some of this stuff,” said the woman.
“Okay,” nodded the homeowner.
The woman’s age had shown tremendously on her appearance. Rolls of skin hung loosely about her face and body. Crow’s feet had made its grand entrance on the corners of her eyes and mouth. Her thinning, blonde hair reflected the gray hues from the sunlight. Her clothing bunched and tightened oddly around the around the awkward contours of her body. It was not only age that had donned its head on the woman’s appearance, it was also the bitterness and hatred that she held in her heart that was making its way to the surface.
The woman walked over to her car, pulled out some unmade boxes from the back seat and proceeded into the house through the front door. The homeowner gave out a large sigh and proceeded into the house through the entry from inside the garage. As the homeowner entered his home, he noticed that the woman was standing in front of the piano. Her gaze was fixated on the painting that hung just above the piano. Oh yeah, thought the homeowner, that was also in the settlement. He sighed to himself and walked over to the painting. The painting itself had been the homeowner’s mother’s most prized possession. It was given to homeowner and his wife as a wedding gift.
“It’s a beautiful painting,” said the homeowner.
“I know,” replied his ex, “I think about your mother every time I look at it.”
With that, the woman snatched the painting off of the wall and had begun to head out the door with it. A bit hurt and irritated from the comment, the homeowner stopped the woman just before she reached the door.
“Wait a minute,” he said, “you need to cover that painting. If you just throw it in the car it’ll be ruined.”
He grabbed a sheet from the linen closet and walked over to the woman with the painting.
“May I?” he asked.
She reluctantly handed the painting over and watched as the homeowner carefully wrapped the painting. He took it outside and gently placed it into her car.
“All set,” he said.
The woman walked into the kitchen and had begun throwing things into a box that she had just built. The homeowner grabbed a Pepsi from the refrigerator and walked to the back of the house to the master bedroom where he and the woman once shared. He walked over to one of the cluttered dresser tops of the bedroom and pulled out a piece of paper. The divorce decree. Filed. Stamped. Served. The homeowner took a sip of his soda and smiled to himself.
“It’s over,” said the homeowner, “it’s finally over.”