Toby Williams: Chapter Two

by admin on March 25, 2011

Toby Williams

Chapter Two

Having grown up in a family environment and not wanting to leave that familiarity, Karen and Thomas had decided to stay in Cottonmill allowing young Toby to experience the same tight knit family circle that they had had growing up there. Both sides of the family had agreed to this decision, and in the year following Toby’s birth they had helped  the William’s clan purchase their first home. It was a two level rambler complete with garage and an unpaved driveway, just a mile or two from their parents; Karen’s on the north side of town, Thomas’ on the south. Close to an acre and a half of land surrounded the house with a few knee high bushes lining both sides of the driveway, perennials and various flowers planted underneath the huge bay window that faced the front of the house.
Thomas had always wanted a large yard. Even before meeting Karen, he had always pictured or dreamed about playing with his future kids in the yard, a sprinkler spraying water into the air as he takes them (a boy and a girl respectfully) and holds them towards the sky, letting the water douse all of them. Because of his upbringing, he was no stranger to hard work and the prospect of manicuring and maintaining a yard, particularly his own yard appealed to him greatly.
Karen too wanted a great expansive yard. Due to her agricultural upbringing, she couldn’t possibly imagine a tiny patch or plot of land. She envisioned herself working in the backyard, a portion roped off for the families victory garden. Collard greens, squash, tomatoes, bell peppers and of course sweet corn would be planted and then picked and served weekly at the kitchen table with all the love she could muster going into the preparation. Thankfully, the land surrounding 1714 Pier Point Place accommodated both their dreams and desires.
Karen managed to graduate from Marshall with a perfect 4.0 with math being her strongpoint. This had helped her land a job with the towns one junior high school Elliot Fisher, named after the town’s founder. The math department welcomed her with open arms and she became Mrs. Williams, math teacher extraordinaire specializing in fractions and long division. The fact that she was an alumni of Fisher only helped make the transition that much smoother, her having knowledge of the school’s physical layout and all.
Thomas went the extreme opposite of a ‘thinking man’s’ job, deciding to invest his time as an adult honoring his father by working as a fireman in the same firehouse that his dad had actually worked in. The engine count had increased to four, with the original two still in service, the colors changed to bright fire engine red keeping up with the fad sweeping across the nation at the time among firehouses. The difference with the men during Thomas’ tenure there as opposed to his fathers was that the entire staff was comprised of full time firefighters, not volunteers. The staff had increased in size as well with the number swelling to twenty, giving each engine five men apiece to help operate the hoses and ladders attached to them.
They all lived together four nights a week , Thursday through Sunday living in a dorm-like setting, bunk beds and shared meals abundant. The camaraderie was high and as a result of this the team ran smoothly, easily handling emergencies and non- emergency situations with practiced ease. The weekends seemed to be the time when most aid was needed, hence the reason for full time employment from the men. Also, these incidents mostly occurred at night or in the early mornings and it was much easier to have an immediate force in one building to respond at any given time than to have to scurry around and search for help all about the town. The men of Firehouse #19 took great pride in themselves and considered themselves a unique band of bothers, willing and able to serve Cottonmill to the best of their abilities.
The combined earnings of little Toby Williams’ parents put the family barely in the middle class income bracket. Yes, there was a small nest egg for them in the form of CD’s and IRAs from both their jobs, and yes,  Toby had a savings began from day one of his existence that will go towards his college education, but overall their budget was followed down to the letter. The only outside expenditure the family allowed themselves was the vacation to some beach or to New York City to wine and dine under the cities neon lights. The trips would only be a week at most, but a vacation was a vacation in their eyes, anything that helped break up the monotony of small town life. These trips throughout Toby’s childhood made a positive impression on him, and those were the times when he remembered his parents the happiest.
Another family time activity that did not cost too much and did not reflect negatively on the family’s bank account was the watching of VHS movies. Many an afternoon or right after dinner the happy trio could be found glued to the television with little Toby sandwiched in between them, arms around one another, taking delight in each other’s company. The movie themes would vary from science fiction to romance to what seemed to be the families favorite, full length animated features. With these the family jumped in head first, knowing that good laughs would be just around the corner; a swell time to be had by all.
Although Toby was much too young to understand fully what was shown on the television set, he enjoyed the bright colors that flashed before him. A dizzying display of greens, reds, purples and yellows kept him hypnotized to the screen, especially during the animated movies where they seemed to move so much faster to him. But what really drew the smile from his tiny lips, what made him feel and know that he was loved was the way his parents would hold him between them, laughing or gasping over his tiny frame, occasionally running a hand through his thin, light brown hair, kissing his head or cheek. All of theses combined physical endearments made for one happy child, and this helped tremendously when having to lay him to sleep, his mental state at ease allowing sleep to come easily, a blessing for both of his working parents.
Every night during his early childhood, both of his parents would put him to sleep, his father carrying him, his strong arms and sure grip comforting Toby while his mother followed up the stairs behind them. Toby’s parents had taken the spare bedroom and through a combined weekend effort while Karen was pregnant, magically converted it into an impressive nursery. There was not an ounce of home improvement or DIY skills between the two, but with this mission it had been accomplished with ease and in good time with the help of instructional videos played on their trusty Sony VCR and a little trial and error. The walls were a light shade of blue with a sailboat riding calm waters circling the walls as a border. His wooden crib sat against the far left wall parallel to the room’s one double paned window. A thick yet soft baby sized mattress was placed inside. On top of it was a quilt that Karen had made during her sixth month of pregnancy, it being the same shade of blue as the walls themselves. This was not a coincidence.
Both parents would stand on the right side of the crib sometimes singing, sometimes just standing there arm in arm, his father’s six foot-two frame dwarfing his mother’s five foot-five inch total height patiently waiting for Toby to fall fully asleep, something that came almost as soon as his head hit the miniature pillow. His full, curious eyes would flutter as he desperately fought off the inevitable sleep that was already overtaking him, and when he finally gave in to its siren song, the dreams came. Dreams of happiness, dreams of family.
Karen and Thomas would leave the nursery being sure not to disturb their sons’ sleep, and retire to their own bedroom, satisfied that the house and one another were safe and secure. Life was good and there would be more years of bliss to follow. There was no way the family could have foreseen tragedy in their future. This was something that never entered their minds.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pixie 09.18.11 at 12:15 pm

Very curious what is going to happen,I love it!

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