Toby Williams: Chapter One

by admin on March 25, 2011

Toby Williams

Chapter One

Karen and Thomas Williams never had it easy. They had each other, and in the beginning that was more than enough. Having met each other through mutual friends ( their firsts date being at Cottonmill’s small county fair, with them sharing cotton candy while talking about school and their fellow peers, the mid-June weather cooperating perfectly), the attraction came easily, and by the Summer’s end, the two were inseparable.
Being that they were both juniors at Edward Marshall high school (63’ – 65’ state football champions. Go Spartans!), their class curriculum was nearly identical, with them sharing history and English that year. There was really not that much separation of intellect between the two of them, but Karen had the upper-hand in the brains department overall. This was due to her mother’s constant reinforcement of the importance of school and studying, something Karen’s mother never had emphasized in her household while growing up.
Her parents had been poor and schooling took a backseat while providing for the family was paramount; each member contributing to the collective pot. Although Karen’s mother was raised on a small mid-western farm with corn being the family’s number one export, she vowed that when she had kids that they would never have children who had to struggle with work instead of concentrating on a good, solid education. Between her mother’s badgering and her father’s work ethic, Karen had inherited the skills that helped her navigate efficiently through school, landing her in the top five percentile every year at Marshall.
Thomas was a decent student, more athletically inclined than scholastically. Math, particularly algebra was by far his weakest subject. Numbers just didn’t sit well with Thomas. A weak “C” was the most her could ever muster, even with the help of Karen’s tutoring ( which usually ended up in massive make-out sessions), and what seemed to him to be every afternoon after school study sessions with his math teacher, Ms. Stinger. Try as he might, the theories and concepts of math never broke through and as a result, Thomas went out of his way to avoid anything that had to do with the usage of multiple numbers. Basic addition and subtraction, multiplication and division are all he ever used for the remainder of his life, algebra never rearing its’ ugly head once he had left high school.
What Thomas excelled at was writing. It just seemed to come natural to him. His English teacher (Karen’s too) could not comprehend his unusually quick grasp of the written word and by his senior year, Ms. Taylor had tried to entice him to take college level writing classes, but he respectfully declined, unaware of is true potential. What he did end up doing was taking up with the school’s newspaper, The Screaming Eagle, excelling in its editorials and news reporting, keeping his peers in awe with his command of the English language.
His parents didn’t know where he had gotten from. Both of them had graduated from Edward Marshall with decent grades, and that is where there education had ended. His mother worked at the Hoover Company on an assembly line, ‘helping to bring the world the finest of everyday household appliances!’ She actually enjoyed the twenty-two years she had worked there, earning an honest wage for an honest day’s work. Bullshit factory psychology at it’s finest.
His father worked construction, his dry calloused hands showing the years of hard work he had put in paving roads, using jackhammers, or simply hauling and removal of various materials. Strong in body and mind, his father had also been a volunteer firefighter for Cottonmill’s two engine fire department, something he took great pride in doing. He along with Pete Jones, the local barber, and Larry Coolidge, the steel mill’s foreman comprised the three fire chiefs that ran Firehouse #19, along with seven to eight other volunteers rounding out the small band of firefighters.
No major fires or calamities ever actually occurred in Cottonmill. Just the occasional garage fire or cat-in-tree scenario. Nothing one engine couldn’t handle. Nonetheless, the men practiced their drills weekly, keeping their skills honed to perfection in the event of an actual need for all of them and the use of both almost burgundy-hued engines.
None of this helped to explain Thomas’ artistry with words, something Karen pined for whenever Thomas was around. She loved his writings, it was that simple. Many a weekend the two of them would venture out to the town’s outer limits, trekking into the surrounding woods just past I-15. Once in the woods, many man-made trails were available where if a couple wanted to get away from civilization for awhile, it was more than possible. They would take the same one: the northbound one leading to the next patch of forestry near Rapid Hills, and walk hand in hand until they found a small clearing that separated the two great forests.
A blanket and a backpack filled with assorted sandwiches of tuna fish, bologna or peanut butter and jelly along with water and crackers would be all that they allowed themselves to carry on these excursions, with Thomas carrying the backpack on is wiry but muscled back, Karen with the blanket. When the clearing was reached, the blanket was rolled out and Karen would lie on her back while Thomas sat Indian-style with writings in hand, reading his original works, causing Karen to swoon inside.
His imagery was vivid. Things such as rainbows, trees, clouds took on new meaning to her, his words having opened her mind to new ways of seeing them in the context of the world. The simple things in life became complex, the complicated understandable; such was the magic of his words. She would gaze up into his eyes, his hand occasionally running through her sandy blond, shoulder length hair and she would hang on to his every word as if her life depended on it, and as far as Karen Louise parker was concerned, it did. Every now and then, he would bring actual works from established authors such as Langston Hughes, Keats, Yeats and others further increasing the ever growing affection she had for him.
What had actually won her over, what had caused her to loose all her inhibitions was on her birthday, August 25th. He had composed a poem in her honor, one that had sent her into a heated frenzy, a feeling she was unfamiliar with. He had compared he eyes to the likeliness of stars, her lips to pillows filled with clouds manufactured in Heaven, and she had melted. And on August 25th, the five o’clock sun bearing down on them, they made love, both enjoying being the first one’s to have one another.
They moved as one, their breathing labored, the afternoon sun bringing out a light sheen of sweat across their bodies. Lips locked, tongues exploring. It was in that evening that she knew she loved him and two years later almost to the day he and her first made love, they got married. A quick stop by Cottonmill’s Justice of the peace was all that was needed. Nothing more or nothing less was required in their eyes. One year later much to their surprise, a ten pound, and three ounce surprise arrived in the form of Toby Anthony Williams, their first and only child. The two of them couldn’t have asked for a more perfect son.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pixie 09.18.11 at 12:05 pm

Good start Greggy:) I am going to continue until the last posted Chapter…

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