Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Check Mate - Prologue


April 23rd

Who wants to deal with the hassles involved in a cross country move? How about undergoing the experience twice in one year? There exist some people in the world that would move anywhere to advance their career. Certainly any sane person would move twice in a year if it could possibly save their marriage. Anyone would definitely undertake such a move if they knew it could save their life…

Dionne Harper would handle that laborious task. As a matter of fact, she had to. She stood in the center of her kitchen and dropped a bomb on her husband. She’d received another job offer. A job offer more lucrative and prestigious than she ever imagined. One that couldn’t have come at a better time.

She told her husband the news and braced herself. She held her breath and anticipated a soured response. He would explode once he heard the news. She didn’t care. He sought a retreat to the east coast. But he couldn’t find a job fast enough. That left them with not much of a choice. Each day became more of a gamble. More pressured, more stressful, and potentially dangerous. He’d have an opinion, yes. But no choice.
“Michigan? Are you serious? Michigan? I never even heard of this place. Where’s Lansing?” Andre asked.

“It’s East Lansing,” Dionne said. She hoped his recently found supportive attitude continued as it had over the past six months.

It wasn’t his first choice in location, but better judgment convinced him that any news of an escape was a blessing.

War-torn Kosovo would be superior to Grandridge.

Andre sighed and reached out for her hand.

“I start next month. I signed on to teach summer classes in Trigonometry. I wanted to get my feet wet before the fall semester starts,” Dionne said while their fingertips made contact.

“So you’re saying we have to be there-”

“In about two weeks,” Dionne said as she placed her head against his shoulder. A hushed exhale escaped from inside of her.

“Two weeks?” Andre asked. That meant a hastened exit.

“I figured the sooner, the better…,” Dionne said.

“You’re right,” Andre whispered, “we’ve been through enough.” His tone softened even more as he rubbed her back.

“I’m going to go upstairs and keep packing,” she said.

Within seconds Dionne disappeared upstairs. Andre exited the kitchen after maneuvering past several dozen cardboard boxes, which littered the kitchen and hallway. He approached the garage and entered.

He stepped towards the black and white dart board that hung on the wall and plucked out a few darts. He took a few paces backwards and began to hurl the darts towards the wall. His stress subsided.

Moving again. This would be the second move inside of a year. Crazy. Just crazy. No other word could describe their life. Their marriage had been tested unmercifully and yet they survived the first horrendous move. Together, they could handle another. Once out of darts he opened the garage door.

The southern sunlight stretched inside the two car garage. He paced outside and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. His eyes never left the real estate sign in the front lawn. They’d just accepted an offer on their historic two-story home. A closing date was set. Eight more days and they’d be out of there. Good riddance.

He’d seen first hand how so-called quaint communities operated. You either get along with the right people or you could be blackballed, marked, and ostracized. If you didn’t assimilate the results could be deadly. Yes, deadly.

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