Wednesday, April 3, 2013

James Goodman: A sampling

I suppose the logical place to start a post of this nature is to tell you a little bit about myself.  I was born in a galaxy far far away… oh, wait, wrong genre. Please, allow me to start again.  I was born in Dover, Delaware, but I’ve lived in several states over the years and even a few different countries. I had a rather interesting upbringing, often living in one place for a school year, moving for the summer and moving yet again to begin the next school year. I guess you might say I get around, lol. One good thing about moving around so much is it gave me a lot of exposure to many different cultures and lifestyles.  I’ve made many friends in my travels, some of which, I still keep in contact to this day.

I graduated from Peach County Georgia before joining the Army during Operation Desert Shield. Probably not the smartest move to sign up when we were on the verge of war, but by the time Desert Storm rolled around at least I was well trained. I have both good memories and bad about my time in the service, but if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

After my discharge (quite honorable I might add), I attended Oklahoma State University and eventually earned a BS in Engineering. I used the degree to work a few different jobs (and a few more moves around the country), before deciding to strike out on my own.  I decided to settle down in Oklahoma and see what growing roots feels like. I live here with my beautiful wife, adoring teenage son and three rambunctious dogs.

I am also a founding member of the Highway Rollers, a great group of motorcycle enthusiasts who raise money for various charities throughout the year.  Oh, yeah, and we also like to ride… a lot. Get your motor running. Head out on the highway!  

There’s more, of course, but I think that at least gives you a pretty good glimpse.  I don’t suppose you really came here to listen to me ramble on about myself anyway now did you?  Let’s move on to something a bit more interesting (hopefully). Perhaps a short story to give you a little taste of the working of my twisted mind would be a good way to end the post. So without further ado, I give you In sickness and Health

“Talk to me.”  Marcus pleaded with his wife’s rigid back.  “What have I done to deserve this?”
He stepped closer, letting his breath move her hair.  His hand hovered near her shoulder, the warmth of her skin wafting across his palm, but he couldn’t bring himself to touch her. She didn’t want him to, he was sure of it. He would only touch her, comfort her if she let him.
“I know you’re upset, Sabrina, but I can’t fix this, if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.”
Her shoulders slumped, dropping away from his near touch.  She crumpled, knees giving way, nearly dropping her to the floor.  He cupped her elbows, guiding her to the sofa.  She fell into the cushions.  Her gaze fell to the picture on the end table.  He watched her intently as she picked up their wedding picture, tracing the curve of his cheek with her finger.
Twin trails of mascara washed over her cheeks, pooled and finally stopped near the corners of her mouth. The center of the stream was still fluid, but the outer edges already dried and flaked.  She looked like she wore a painted mask.  A mask of sorrow. A mask he never saw her wear before. A mask he never wanted to see again.
He reached to caress her cheek, but something in her eyes stopped him.  He withdrew his fingers. His heart wretched, threatened to burst.
“How could you do this to me?” she pleaded, staring straight through him, through his soul.
He drew his fingers back further, clenching them, remorse transforming to trepidation, then to anger.  “What has gotten into you?”
“It’s not good for me to talk to you anymore.”  The muscles of her throat contracted and expanded as she swallowed hard.  “I need get better.  I need to be strong.”
“That’s ridiculous.  The doctor said there was nothing wrong with you,” he said, flabbergasted by her implications.
“Why did you have to take me to that place?” Her voice was barely more than a whisper.
Her eyes unfocused, stared at the wall behind him. He turned to see a picture of her and her best friend, framed and hung from a nail.
“It was for your friend, remember?”
He wanted to help her, needed to soothe her, but her words frightened him. He was on the verge of losing her and he knew it.
She kissed the picture. “We were at the party and you had such a good time, but then, you always knew how to have a good time, didn’t you?”
“I’m not talking about the party, goddamn it!”  Why is she doing this? Why does she want to hurt me?
“Oh, Marcus.” She sobbed, clutching the picture to her chest.  “That other car, the red light-- I can still hear the scream of our brakes.  That sound…the sound of glass breaking and metal bending. The sound of our lives being torn apart.”
“I know it scared you and I said I’m sorry.  So, I had a few too many glasses of wine.  It couldn’t have been that bad or they would have thrown my ass in jail.” She was acting like he was a drunk, but he rarely drank and even when he did it was never to excess.
“I don’t think you ever even saw that other car.  We just plowed right into it.” She let herself fall to her side on the couch, staring up at the ceiling.
“But you’re alright.  You came out of it with nothing more than a few scratches,” he said, moving to sit beside her.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” she managed before becoming overcome with sobs.
“What do you mean over?  I love you, baby. I would do anything for you. Please, don’t say it’s over,” he pleaded, dropping from the couch to his knees in front of her. “Whatever’s wrong, we can fix it. Please don’t throw everything we have away like this.”
She pulled the picture from her chest; held it at arms length above her face.
“Why did you leave me?”
“I didn’t leave you. What are you talking about?  I would never--”
His words died in his throat as she slung the picture across the room, smashing it against the wall.
“Oh God, why?” she cried out.  “Why did you have to let him die?”
The End

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