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An Imperfect Love Chapter One

7/15/09 5:10 AM


Granted, the couple met under unusual circumstances. For two decades she’d wondered what led them to believe that they could be happily married for a month- much less the rest of their lives. He was a country boy, the second born of four children. His parents were hard workers, prioritizing their children’s needs and desires before their own. He knew the benefits and the inconveniences of a large extended family. He had grown into a man who shared the work ethic of his parents. He was also a fisherman, a hunter and a master of all things mechanical. He wore an expression of complete satisfaction, perhaps even smug, when under the expert use of his tools and an innate ability to locate the source of the dysfunction, something broken began to function again and perform the purpose for which it was designed. That look always sent a shiver through her. She did love a confident man. At first glance, he appeared to be a humble man. Grounded. Earthy. Selfreliant. Orderly. Well-groomed and good looking. He was sharp-witted, but never off-color. Kind, but not soft. Naïve, perhaps. Sheltered, definitely. Music moved him. Not the lyrics, the music. He loved to dance. More often, an observer of conversations than a participant. Unless, the talk was of fishing, hunting or engines. Most frequently mentioned in the engine talk were the 289 engines. There was another one, called by a number that she couldn’t remember now. What she vividly remembered was how his passion for an old engine in an old car was visible through the light in his eyes. His passion for old engines and cars was really a passion for creating; maximizing the potential of the machine that otherwise may have appeared common. Common to a man with less vision. He loved to tell the stories of the Falcons, the Mustangs, the Fairlanes – the old Fords from his youth. His favorite, perhaps, was the story of the Fairlane 500, discovered while traveling, with his Dad, down a country road along the McDowell Creek. The car, the pride and joy of someone from another time, sat discarded and alone in a farmer’s field. It functioned now as a storage

receptacle for the farmer’s empty egg cartons and home to a family of rats. The car’s electrical system, the fallen victim of their constant, mindless gnawing. Years of bearing the weight of the winter snows and years of sitting in the water from the spring thaws had rusted and then deteriorated the floorboard. The moment he spotted it, he saw beauty. He walked to the door of the farmhouse and offered $25 for the privilege of hauling away the rat-infested jewel. He attached the Fairlane to the truck with a chain. His Dad drove the hauler. He sat among the egg cartons, thankful for the protection they provided from the steel springs of the drivers seat, no longer covered in the original red vinyl. He struggled to hold on to the steering wheel while dodging the disrupted confused rats that were frantically abandoning the ship. Anticipation was the best part of a project like this; the possibilities were endless! Images of the engine modifications, the interior restoration, the new body paint color (black with a clear coat over the top) cost him sleep. His energy was renewed by his vision each morning. The restoration of the turquoise, 1963 Fairlane 500 with the white top, began, in his mind, the moment that he first laid eyes on it. This found treasure, discarded and abandoned, could not have meant more to him, had he driven it straight off the showroom floor. He was hopelessly in love. One night, pleased to see him enjoying himself, she watched him as he shared the story of the Fairlane with a new friend. He reenacted the scene for the table, pretending to hang on to the steering wheel, shielding his face and batting at imaginary rats in the air. As he reached the climax of the story of the magnificent transformation of the turquoise Fairlane and his eyes began to light, she became, for the first time, consciously aware of the truth that had been lingering in her subconscious for years. She excused herself from the table, sprinted to the ladies room, locked the stall door behind her and vomited. Sill dizzy, she gathered herself and moved to the vanity area. She washed her hands, pulled the Scope from her purse, swished, and spit. She ran her fingers through her hair and wiped the mascara smudges from beneath her

eyes. Fear was something she did not respect, would not entertain and definitely would not allow controlling her. She looked straight into the reflection of her own eyes in the mirror and intentionally, purposefully held her silent gaze. Then she threw her shoulders back, tossed her hair, and walked out the door. Wearing a freshly glossed smile, she returned to the table. No one would ever know that she had been driven from the table, nauseous, that her greatest fear had become reality and no one would know that she returned to the table, a woman, now driven by a seething anger.

7/15/09 5:10 AM

7/15/09 5:10 AM

An Imperfect Love  

Chapter One

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