One Lonely Morning

(This is the story as I have it so far, written just this afternoon, and brought to you fresh from my warm keyboard. I plan on editing it down to under 1000 words and adding some things here and there. I hope you enjoy this early version and keep an eye out for the final version!
Sincerely, Joshua A. Spotts)

One Lonely Morning

By Joshua A. Spotts

Stanford Verfolgte straightened his bow tie. He looked past his smiling reflection in the mirror to a picture on his bookshelf. He reached one long fingered hand toward the picture and ran one clean finger down the glass. Dust covered his finger as he withdrew it and slammed the picture down. He heard the glass shatter. Turning on the heel of one of his polished dress shoes, Stanford Verfolgte marched from his room.

As he descended the stairs he pondered the dust on his finger. He thought about the picture. Hadn’t he thrown it away? After all, why would he keep it? It reminded him of…well, it was best not to dwell on such thoughts.

Grabbing his violin case from the glass cabinet in front of the kitchen door, Stanford called out, “Mother, I’m leaving now.”

No answer came from the depths of the kitchen. It was unusual. But Stanford decided not to venture it there. It was his mother’s territory and it was often too cluttered for his liking. As he switched the violin case from his left hand to his right he realized something was not right. There was dust of his hand where he had opened the cabinet. There was never dust on the cabinet.

The clock struck seven in the morning and the cuckoo bird came out and made its obnoxious sound. The house door slammed as Stanford Verfolgte left a dusty, empty house behind.

Stanford took his keychain out of his pocket and found the key to the family Cadillac. Holding it between his still dirty fingers he opened the garage door. It rattled as it ascended into the ceiling on rusty gears and wheels.

The young Mr. Verfolgte waited until the normal degree of rust and dust had fallen to the floor and then he entered the garage and flicked the light on. What he saw caused him to step back, dust clung the heels of his shoes. Mud plastered the fenders and lower sides of the black Cadillac. Stanford clenched his left fist together and stared at the Cadillac. He knew of only one person who would dirt the car. But that wasn’t a logical possibility, or so Stanford Verfolgte told himself.

Carefully opening the car door, Stanford brushed his hand across the driver’s seat to ensure that no dust would defile his suit when he sat down. Pushing the keys into the ignition, he settled into the driver’s seat, and put on his trim, black sunglasses. He turned the keys in the ignition. The car sputtered, growled, and stalled. Stanford glanced at the red, glowing clock in the car radio. 7:10.

An empty paint can clattered to the garage floor. The sound of a glass bottle shattering burst in through the Cadillac’s open windows. Stanford felt his heart racing. He sat perfectly still for a few minutes, listening to his heartbeat, feeling the beads of sweat on his forehead. His eyes widened behind his sunglasses. There was someone in the garage!

Stanford’s long fingers twisted the key forward. The car roared to life. It lurched into reverse gear and flew from the garage as Stanford’s foot crushed the gas pedal. Screeching out unto the road, Stanford threw the Cadillac into drive and sped off toward his school.

Pulling into the parking lot, Stanford Verfolgte wiped his sweaty forehead with a white handkerchief. Looking at the handkerchief, stained yellow with his sweat, Stanford tried to put the fears behind him. He tried to forget about the person in the garage, the mud on the Cadillac, and the dusty picture in his room. He wondered if he could ever forget. He wondered if the memories would persecute him forever. He wondered if the occurrences of earlier this morning were his memories coming to life. Or, perhaps, they were real. Perhaps he had returned. Stanford’s fingers trembled with the thought.

A car pulled into the parking lot. Stanford glanced up from staring at his shaking hands. He thought he recognized the car and fear wrapped its icy grip around his heart. He looked down at his floor, searching for something to defend himself with. The clock read 7:35.

The car stopped right beside his open window. “Hello, Stanford.”

Stanford swallowed, sighed, and looked up. It was only Mr. Bucciero, his music teacher. “Shouldn’t you be inside warming-up, Stan?”

Yes, the audition. “I’m a little nervous, sir.”

“That’s natural. I’m sure you’ll do fine.” Mr. Bucciero winked at his soon-to-be former student. “That scholarship is in the bag. Now get in there.”

Stanford Verfolgte willed his fingers to stop shaking as he grabbed his violin case and headed inside. He passed through the first set of iron double doors. They creaked from their overuse through the past school year.

Footsteps sounded in the hallway, muffled by the second set of double doors. Stanford stopped. He looked at the handles. They were covered in dust. His heart raced. He stepped back, clutching his clean violin case to his chest. Inside that case was the key to his future. A future his father had nearly destroyed. A future that Stanford feared his father would ruin again.

The footsteps stopped right behind the doors. A small amount of dust shook from the handles. Stanford gulped down his fear. His brows pulled together. He reached out, grabbed ahold of the dusty door handles and, not knowing what stood on the other side, threw open the doors.

A strange confronted Stanford. A man in a green suit stood but three feet away. Gone were the lopsided hat, the black jeans, and leather jacket that Stanford’s father always wore in his memories. “Hello, son.”

Stanford tightened his grip on the violin case. His heart beat as if he had just run a mile.

“Um…your mother,” his father began, “is away on a business trip, so I figured I should be here for you. No, well, I really just wanted to come say, well, you know, sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t around for you, you know, before. So, I’m here now, and I can see you don’t want me. I’ll…um…just leave and not bother you ever again. Good luck and I’m sorry.”

Stanford stood in shock for a moment as his dad walked past him. “No! Wait! Please stay…Dad.”

That morning, Stanford Verfolgte played his audition piece perfectly because, for him, it was no longer a lonely morning.

Copyright 2012 Joshua A. Spotts

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