The works of many a great author begin with pretty damsels sitting in a garden or an important conversation at a dinner table. Funny, isn't it, that important things can happen while a group of people are chewing on tasty things together while sitting around a slab of wood? Then there are those stories that begin with inspirational words that start the reader thinking quite deeply. I know that many prefer the type of stories that begin with a proposal of marriage or even a wedding or dance.
Many stories begin so. But, alas, this is not one of them. This story begins in quite a unique setting. If I can just create a picture in the reader's mind at this moment I think it would be quite a satisfactory way to start. First, the reader must picture a little auto shop that sits quite happily on a street in Delaware during the year 1924. Winter has not yet drawn to a close and snow still lays like a carpet of white o'er everything in sight. Inside our little auto shop is a black automobile- one of those earlier models one might have seen in a movie. It's front hood is off, exposing its iron guts- all of which are glistening with a thin coat of gasoline.
Beneath this black machine, two oil-stained coverall legs can be seen kicking about a bit as their owner moves around under the automobile to find a certain problem. From one of the pockets on these legs a red rag dangles. At least, the rag had been red in its younger days. Now it was so spotted and speckled with black grease and oil that it seemed more of a grayish, blackish brown.
It was this sight that met Timothy Wane's eyes as he walked into the front of the shop. With a grin on his freckled face he came over and bent down low to look under the car at his friend. "Find the problem yet, Nate?"
Nathan Rochester's face, now charcoal black from a certain accident he had had a while before, looked over at Timothy. "I think so," he replied. "Here, hand me that wrench, will you?"
After looking around at the tools spread out on the floor for a moment, Timothy did as he was asked.
There was a squeaking, creaking, turning sound and then Nathan pulled himself out from under the car. He came to his feet and wiped his hands with the dirty rag from his pocket. "That should do it," he said. "Let's see if she works now." So saying, he walked around to the front of the car and turned the crank until the automobile's engine roared to life.
Timothy smiled as his young friend gave a smooth bow and a look that said, "I told you I could do it, thank you very much." "Well, well, well," he chuckled. "I'll be darned."
"I told you," Nathan replied, shutting the car off, "it just needed a closer inspection. And you wanted to throw her away."
"It wouldn't have hurt our business any, for the owner to buy a new car."
"Oh, so that's it, is it?" Nathan laughed.
Timothy shrugged with a grin. "Hey, I don't mean to deal dishonestly or nothin', but I'm just too lazy to care about fixing problems like that one there." He nodded his head in the direction of the fixed machine.
"So how'd you do that?" Tim pointed to Nathan's face.
Running a hand over his chin and then looking at the black marks the movement left on his fingers, Nathan shrugged. "The engine spit some smoke at me a bit unexpectedly." He began mopping up the mess with his battered rag.
Timothy folded his arms across his chest and laughed out loud. "There's a picture for the Sunday Morning Funnies." Then he sobered up and yawned. "Well, I think I'll head home now. Ruth'll be wondering why I missed dinner."
"Yeah," Nathan replied. "Daisy's probably wondering where I am too." They both shared a laugh and then Timothy went home. Nathan was left to wash up and close the shop on his own.
After locking up, the 25-year-old Nathan Rochester bean walking the two blocks to his home. He whistled as he walked, thinking of the productive day he'd had at work. Three people had come in to buy automobiles and two had dropped their old ones off for repair. One man had even come in to buy a small bell for his son's bicycle.
Upon reaching a small, square-shaped, one-level house, Nathan trotted up the porch stairs and pulled a pair of keys from his pocket. Inside, the sound of a large, happy dog could be heard jumping on the door anxiously and whimpering in excitement. "I'm coming, Daisy," he said, opening the front door and walking in.
A tall, white Great Dane with black spots and chestnut-brown eyes was there to great him- licking his face and prancing around the entryway excitedly while her powerful but slender tail wagged wildly back and forth. "Did you miss me, girl?" Nathan asked lovingly. He scratched her head and patted her firm chest. Then he began making his way to the kitchen to feed her.
Anyone who owns a dog might know of the excitement that the creature endures at the sound of a can of food being opened and the plop as its contents fall into the animal's bowl. Daisy whimpered and barked happily, sometimes turning in a circle when she didn't know what else she could do to contain her excitement.
Nathan placed the dog bowl on the ground and his precious Daisy went straight to eating the food inside it.
Nathan Rochester had always been a handsome child and had now grown to be a handsome man. His dark, curly hair and handsome face had both been inherited from his father, but his dark blue eyes were those of his blood mother, Jane's. He was of a slender but masculine build, and his height was perhaps just a bit above the average.
Once he'd had a dinner of burnt chicken leftovers from the night before and a bowl of under-cooked rice, Nathan made his way into his tiny living room and, picking up a book of poetry, a journal, and a pen, he sank into his battered couch and began to read. Daisy jumped up and curled up beside him, laying her big, white head on his lap lazily.
After reading a few deep, passionate poems, Nathan set to working on the one he'd been trying to write for the past month in an old journal.
Nathan was not poor, but neither was he rich. He had enough money to live comfortably by and enough to pay the bills. But this money was only earned by working from morning to night without a break. Poor Daisy was always home alone all day until Nathan would return, feed her, feed himself, and then sit to work on his poetry until it was time to go to sleep. Indeed, every day was the same as the last. The only variety in young Mr. Rochester's life was the different costumers that came to the auto shop at which he worked.
Poetry was Nathan's passion. And, were it only possible, he would read it, write it, think it, feel it, all day every day. He also loved to read good literature. To be quite frank, he was fascinated with the English language. He found it poetry in itself and loved nothing more than to study it. His father had wished for him to go into Medical School, as he himself had done. But Nathan could not bring himself to agree to go to a school where one might learn how to chop people up and give them medicine. He found the whole business depressing and gruesome. When he'd explained to his father that he wanted to be an author of poetry and literature, Dr. Rochester had replied: "dreams don't pay the bills, son."
It had been Nathan's stepmother, Laura, who had convinced him to pursue his dreams, only that he ought to work as he did so. And so Nathan had saved up enough money to buy his own house (shabby and small though it be) and he had gotten a job with an old friend. After having lived a life of loneliness for six months, he'd brought Daisy home and she'd become the love of his life ever since.
Now here Nathan sat, living the same day after day after day. But he was not sorry for the way his life was turning out. He felt certain of himself that he would save up enough money someday to marry and hoped that his poetry would help him to support a family. Of course he would keep his other job as well, for he knew that authors did not make much. But he didn't look to the future often and simply let his life run the way it was running.
(A/N. No, I am not at all giving up on my other stories. Not a bit! I've been planning on posting this third one for a while, and now I'm actually doing it. I'll still update "Untamable" and "Swings" as often as I would have before.