beginnings of a novella about one man's inner sufferings after loosing his home.
|The sun was beating down on Jim as he stood in front of the house that was once his, looking it over, and remembering when they first moved in. It was only five years ago, but with all of the memories the house had accumulated made it seem like an eternity. Memories… if one could only take those along.
“Jim!” cried Mary from the street, “are you ready!” The kids were piled in the old minivan along with linens and clothing. The same old minivan that had carried the kids since Alison was born. It was purchased used then. All total, the van was 18 years old and it showed. Despite the faded, cracked, and peeling paint; the torn upholstery and carpet that were browner than the original beige, the van had been a good one. Years of pampering kept it running past its prime, and it was their only car after Mary’s Camry was repossessed.
Jim turned his head toward Mary, “I’m gonna take one more look inside; make sure we didn’t miss anything.”
Once inside Jim searched the floor, the walls, he scanned them completely with his eyes. He knew there would be nothing there. He wanted to take in as much as he could before leaving. Nails and picture frame wire on the walls commemorated the life that was once theirs. Stains in the carpet memorialized a happier time when Alison and Jordan were toddlers. The built in bookshelves that Jim spent several months constructing represented a once held sense of permanence.
Jim and his family pulled into the driveway of a recently built home. The home was small, but nice with red brick across the front and cheap siding the rest of the way around. The yard had no grass, there was no landscaping around the house, it was new, never lived in.
There were other houses on the street being built, only a few completed. Some had cars parked in the driveway, others had ‘for sale’ signs posted in the yard. A huge billboard that greeted visitors from the highway read, “Bell County Oaks,” across the top and, “Why Rent When You Can Own, 0 Down Financing,” below that.”
“What do you think Jim?” asked Mary. “I called the builders, they said there should be no problem getting us financed.”
“Well… it’s nice Mary, but we can never qualify for a loan. Our credit history is not good.”
“Yea, but I spoke with a lady who seemed very nice, and she said that they would be able to find someone to loan us the money. She used to own her own mortgage company and she has connections.”
“I find that hard to believe. But if so, we can never afford to make payments on a house. We have a hard enough time making rent on our apartment each month.”
“Jim, I understand where you’re coming from, but the lady—Janet Greene is her name—says that she is sure we could qualify for an FHA grant that will help us with our payments for the first couple of years—until we get on our feet again.”
“Mary…,” Jim was becoming frustrated. Mary always wanted the best for their family, and she was very persistent. Her philosophy was to push things to the limit, while Jim was rather resourceful and always believed in leaving plenty of wiggle room, “what if we don’t get on our feet. You know…we thought that when I took that management job in Nashville. Now, a year and a half later, we’re flat on our ass shopping at goodwill and taking handouts from the food bank.”
“Jim,” Mary said trying to provide some comfort, “Our situation is temporary. You’ve got a pretty good job now. I’m sure you’ll get a couple of raises over the next couple of years. It’s a good company, and you’re good at what you do. We’ll make it. Everything will be okay.”
“And what if I don’t!”
“Jim, you’re so pessimistic, has some faith. Have Faith in God; He’s always been there for us. And have faith in yourself. Besides, we can fill out the paperwork, and if it wasn’t meant to be then they will just tell us no.”
Reluctantly, Jim agreed to go along.
Jim walked through the house slowly. He entered the kitchen first. As bare as it was, cabinets open and empty, small round black marks on the floor where the table legs once stood, marks on the floor from the chairs sliding back and forth from under the table, he could see himself clearly leaning against the counter in front of the sink drinking a beer. The sun gleamed brightly through the bay window. Mary was serving chicken nuggets and French fries to the kids. He could feel the heat from the stovetop, and hear the washing machine tumbling cloths in the corner. Allison was screaming for Catsup, Jordan wanted Milk.
“It was great hon. I looked over the blue prints, laid the whole job out, security cameras, controlled access points, alarm sensors, the whole works. Those guys were like pudding in my hands. By days end I had ‘em signing a $91,000 dollar security contract.” Jim was ecstatic. His confidence had gone from an all time low to never before experienced heights. Mary was very excited as well. She felt that her faith had paid off. It seemed as though tings were going to be okay.
“That’s great Jim. How much does that mean in commission.”
“Two percent—about $1,800; A few more of these and we should be able to buy that new car you wanted.”
“Do you think you can make sales like this again?”
“Honey, guys there make sales like this at least once a month, not counting the hundreds of smaller sales made every week. We won’t be rich, but we will make a pretty good life for ourselves.