Sounds, they are something most of us live with and there are many sounds we take for granted and hardly hear anymore. Sounds like traffic, or trains, if you live near a busy road or railroad track where there are many trains during a day passing through. Other sounds tell the tale of our lives. Blind people need sound to be able to compensate for their loss of sight. Sounds guide them through this maze we call life.
Then too there are sounds that make us all soft and cuddly inside, like a child's laughter, a kitten meowing or purring; the sounds of a loved one saying 'I love you'; the sounds of a new spring day as the sun rises and you hear birds chirping or singing. There are other sounds that make us happy, like the great crack of a ball hitting a bat and you know it is out of here; or maybe the laughter of a child or one saying 'I love you Daddy!'
But just like the good sounds, there are bad sounds too; like shots in the night, a dog's growl, a woman or child crying or screaming. These sounds make us fear things we cannot see. This story is about those sounds that make us afraid, very afraid.
Let me give you some background first and then we can hear the sound of fear. I'm Steve Logan; I'm 26 years old, 6'-1", 189 lbs and fit between working out at the gym and running. I have wavy blondish red hair and am considered quite handsome by the opposite sex. I own my own business, although it is not a real money maker yet, but it is coming along nicely. I have many friends and one in particular is my best friend, next to my lovely wife; that is Joe Peterson. Joe and I met in second grade, I was bigger and he was much smaller than your average second grader, so he came to me to see if I could stop him being bullied. I said 'sure, no problem' and we hung around together from then until high school graduation.
Joe ended up to be fairly handsome, but short compared to me. His 5'-9" height and 165 lbs, added up to a nice package, but he is a pussy hound and is pretty good at it. He can just about talk any girl into his bed if he puts his mind to it. During our high school years, I can't count the number of times that my size, features, and athletic abilities brought girls flocking to me and Joe's charm and gift of gab got us both laid, a lot and I do mean a LOT. After graduation, I received a scholarship to the state university located about three hundred miles from our home town. Joe with mediocre grades and a fancy free lifestyle stayed around home and got a job selling used cars, at first. He actually was a good salesman and soon worked his way up into the new car dealership in town.
For me, I played football as a wide receiver and baseball as a great shortstop for three years until my knee was torn during a football game in October just before Halloween. I was sidelined for football, but my baseball hitting was unaffected and fielding suffered a little so I was repositioned to first base. But that was after being redshirted the rest of my junior year and part of my senior year. Since I still had one year left of my eligibility I was back to playing baseball for my fifth year as a senior.
I had not been lax with my studies either. I was able to get a Bachelor's in business management with an Associate's in computer drafting and with my five and a half years at University I came home with a MBA as well. I made good use of the scholarship and then paid separately for the summer schools I went to, to be able to get my masters before I left school. I started my small business in designing and setting up renovations for new businesses or when a business wanted to expand.
While in college, I met a lot of nice girls, but one stuck out like a rose among daisies. This was Cynthia Jean Thornton. Cyn was 5'-7", 125 lbs loaded into a 36C-25-35 frame. She was a natural blond, and cute as could be. She was a cheerleader and the head one when I had my accident. Surprisingly she never gave me a look until that fateful night in October, the 28th to be exact. The next day at school I was trying to juggle my books, my notebook and my crutches at the same time and it just wasn't working. I dropped my notebook and she retrieved it and then relieved me of my books and said, "Where to Handsome?"
To say I was stunned would be an understatement. Here was the head cheerleader; someone who previously wouldn't have given me the time of day, if asked; was suddenly helping me. I mumbled something about going to Economics class and she said, "Lead on Handsome, I'll follow you." Well she didn't actually follow me, she walked right beside me and when the hallways got crowded, she spoke up saying things like, "Make a Hole, important cargo coming through," or "Football Star needs some space to walk here."
When we got to my classroom and she helped me sit down in the aisle seat and then sat right next to me. I had to ask, "Do you have this class?"
"Sure, handsome, I usually sit up there," as she pointed to the last row where there were several jocks and some other cheerleaders. I usually got to class early and sat up front so I could get the most from each class.
"Thank you so much ... ah..." I started, but I really didn't know her name at that point.
"Oh, I'm Cynthia Jean Thornton, but most people call me Cyn. And you are Steve Logan, star wide receiver or were anyway and holder of several school records in both football and baseball. I heard that your batting average last season was an impressive .403 with 35 homers and 78 RBI's."
"Ah ... I'm pleased to meet you, but why did you suddenly decide to talk to me and even help me to class this morning?"
"Well, I kind of wanted to meet you for the last couple of weeks, but I heard that you don't think much of the jocks and cheerleaders that don't study and just squeak by. I'm not much better than them, but I do try hard to get something out of my classes. I need some help in some of my subjects and since you're out of commission for a while, I thought maybe you could help a poor girl out."
About then the professor walked in and I said quietly, "We can talk after class." We both then concentrated on Economics and tried to learn something.
That is how it started, I helped Cynthia with her studies and she helped me get around the school and to some parties on the weekends when we weren't studying. By Christmas break we were a couple and I took her home to meet my parents. I said that she was my girlfriend and that we dated exclusively. The reason we were together I believe is that she really liked me after she got to know me. As for me, when I was near her I felt different, I felt love, kinda like when I was around my mom.
They liked her right away, but my dad asked me later when we were alone, "Son, are you sure that you want such a pretty girl for a girlfriend. A lot of them pretty girls have a wandering eye. Now you just watch careful before you commit to something that's gonna break your heart later on."
I had explained how we met earlier in the evening and mom had Cyn in my old bedroom and I slept on the couch during our five day stay. I think that my small town parents and their old fashioned southern ways may have changed Cynthia's feelings toward me as she didn't say a whole lot on the trip back to school. She had gone shopping at the mall for some presents for my family, but when she came home she seemed different. I just thought she was missing her parents and their celebration. I told her that we could either go to her parents for New Years or Easter. She seemed to perk up then, but was still quiet most of the trip.
When we got back I didn't see much of Cyn for a couple of weeks and then it was just like nothing had happened. We hadn't had sex yet as I was kinda taking it slow. We had made out quite a lot and we had both done oral on each other. When I made oral love to her, it took at least an hour and she was always limp as a wet dishrag when I was done. That's why we always had her do me first.
We did go to her parent's home in St. Louis, Missouri during spring break. It was a long trip by car so we flew by way of her parents sending her the tickets. I was surprised, when she told me about them springing for tickets for both of us. I slept in the spare room at the end of the hall next to her parent's room. Cyn was in her old room downstairs. I got the distinct feeling that I was totally beneath them and that I was just poor white trash. I did talk a little to John Thornton regarding my records at school and my possible baseball career. I had been drafted by the Chicago Cubs as a shortstop, but then they said first base would be ok too, if my hitting could cross over into their Double A minors team the Tennessee Smokies. I guess he wanted to have his daughter bag some rich guy at school and I was not it. For all I knew they already had someone picked out for her.
The four days we spent there I hardly even saw Cyn. Her mother and she were always gone and I was left alone with the maid. Needless to say I was mighty pissed when we got on the plane to go back to school. Cyn wouldn't talk about the stay, she said she was tired and went to sleep, or at least it looked that way to me. Thank God we didn't live together yet. Monday morning first day back to school, I didn't see Cynthia at all. In fact I didn't see her until Friday morning of the next week. She came by my room before I left for class and asked if I was going to take her to the party that night at the Frat house. I told her I didn't even know about it but if she wanted to go, then I would take her, but I did ask, "Cyn, what happened, I haven't seen you since we got back from our trip to your folks?"
"I was busy trying to study for a test in computers. I didn't know I had to clear everything through you first? Maybe we just need to break this off now before things go too far." She turned around and left. I didn't see her for the rest of the semester. While I was working at a club after school during the summer break, I saw her come in with Joe Peterson. I didn't even know she knew him. I hadn't introduced her to him when we were home because I never saw him. They didn't see me as I was short order cook and part-time bartender at a club off campus to pay for my summer school. But I sure saw them being all lovey-dovey, but since Cyn had broken up with me after out trip to St Louis, I couldn't complain.
Cynthia was two years behind me and so when I graduated I went to Kodak, TN and played for the Smokies. Kodak is about 20 miles east of Knoxville on Interstate 40. I played baseball and worked on setting up an internet business doing research for companies trying to revamp, reorganize or relocate. I would research vacant buildings or properties and usually did so during my travels with the team, I could get close to a site and look it over and give a report back to the company. Yeah, I know it all sound like BS, but it really started to become the in thing for companies to do. Word of mouth and some catchy internet listings got the attention I needed. I started small with Knoxville; then I expanded to Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis. Then I got a client in Ashville, NC and then Charlotte, Atlanta and things started really taking off.
My baseball career was going better too. I went up to the show a couple of times when they had some injuries, but they only had a Double A and I really needed to go to a Triple A team to get much better. You see baseball farm teams are set up going from bottom to top with Rookie, A-team, Double A, and Triple A until you reach the real team. They call it going up to the 'bigs' or the 'show' when you graduate to the major league team that sponsors the farm teams.
To make a long story short I got traded to the Texas Rangers Triple A team, the Round Rock Express, in Texas just outside Austin. This is the team that the Ryan family got started after Nolan retired. Now we were talking, I was only fifty miles from home now and I could go visit often. I had invested my money from playing into my business so I was doing pretty good plus getting paid better than for the Cubs. I was even able to buy some sports injury insurance in case I was hurt bad enough to have to quit baseball. I got a half million dollar policy from Lloyds and thought that would hold me over if anything bad happened.
I had played two years for the Smokies and then a year and a half for the Express when the unthinkable happened. First Cynthia found me and moved into town, and then within two weeks during a home game with Cyn watching I was hit in my bad knee with a hot line-drive along the first base line. I didn't even have time to react before I heard a snap that I'm sure some people in Austin heard. I went down and stayed down, mainly because I passed out from the pain. I woke up in the hospital with a knee that was wrapped up and looked like I had a soccer ball inside the bandages. Cyn was there by my side and so were my parents. I was still groggy but soon the doctor came in and when I asked, "How bad Doc?" He replied, 'I hope you can play the piano, because baseball is out."
That is how my mediocre baseball career ended and I became a limping business owner.
To say that seeing Cyn again surprised me would be a gross understatement. While I played baseball I had periodically received e-mails from Cyn saying what a fool she was to break up with me and that she hoped I could see my way clear to visit once in a while. I wrote back and said I would try, but not to count on it. She had just one more year left at the university. The really interesting thing was that Cyn knew all about my fledgling business and offered to help as her degree was in computer systems, and website design. So Cynthia joined my small company and after I recovered from my injury, she and I were the only employees.
I poured myself into my business, with Cyn's design work and answering the phone, things started getting better, much faster than before. Of course I now had to pay for my travels, but my expenses were paid for by the clients. I had a much broader client base now as I was working Texas, Oklahoma and most of the southern states. They were pretty much the states that represented the south in the 'War of Northern Aggression'1. I was also getting inquiries from other states too, but I had found a couple of competitors up north and out west that we had a mutual agreement that we would point prospective clients to the business that handled that area.
1 For those who don't know what the "War of Northern Aggression" was, that is what we in the south called the War Between the States or Civil War.
Within a year, we were doing quite well and I asked Cyn to marry me. We were living in the same condo complex and enjoying some frequent lovemaking sessions in either my place or hers. We were at the Olive garden when I leaned over the table and took both her hands and asked, "Cynthia Jean Thornton, will you please do me the honor of being my wife?"
All the wait staff and even some of the customers heard my question and waited with baited breath for her answer. That was about the longest 30 seconds of my entire life up to that point. I saw a great many emotions run across Cyn's face as she waited to answer me. She looked around the restaurant and then to her parents while I sat there hoping against hope that I was doing the right thing. I had started to pull my hands away from hers when she quickly grabbed my hands and pulled them back to hers as she softly said, "Yes Steve. Yes I will marry you." Then bedlam erupted around us with congratulatory salutations from all.
I think I knew then that I had made a grave mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it. I was blinded by my love for Cyn plus I had invited both my parents and Cyn's to supper and they were at the table next to ours. I later learned from my dad that Gertrude Thornton about fainted when she heard my question and John Thornton cringed when he heard his daughter's reply. It was too late to save myself, but did I really want to be saved at that time. As I think about it now, I realize that at that time, I really wouldn't have cared to be saved, even if I knew heartache and misery would be the result.
Six months later we were married, and two years later I finally saw the light. Well more to the point I heard the sounds that strikes fear and heartbreak into the minds of men.
Our business started slowly to make headway in this depressed economy. A lot of northern companies were headed south to take advantage of cheaper labor and local incentives like local and state tax breaks in order to bring work down here. A lot of places in the south were still booming in the housing market. With that trend, more workers were leaving the depressed north to head south looking for jobs. The cost of living is less and therefore our business was starting to see some small profit at the end of each year. Of course I was pouring most of our profit back into the company in getting newer equipment, better facilities, as in not working out of our home and moving into a real office. Well at first we rented a small travel trailer and parked it in a RV park. Then after two years of struggling we moved into a real downtown office with three rooms.
Cyn was our receptionist, accountant and web designer as well as office manager. Me I was on the road a lot visiting sites that I just couldn't find out anything from the internet. I probably traveled three days out of every five weekdays.
Our life settled down into a routine and I flew out on Sunday evening and came back either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and the rest of the week I was home. That allowed us to party or go out on the weekend, if we could afford it. Things were starting to look rosy now. I had found another man with good qualifications in Alabama while I was on my last trip there who would be graduating in June. It was now late April and I wanted to surprise Cynthia with the news that I would be traveling less in the future.
About six months after our marriage, where Joe Peterson was my best man, Joe was promoted and was able to come to Austin for the car dealer he had worked for in our home town. This was a chain of dealerships in three states that covered all the car models. I think he said that they had ten dealerships in three states. He also had married Shelia Marshall, who happened to be the daughter of one of the dealership group's owners. We saw Joe and Shelia quite often when we went out and our relationship was kinda normal. We would go out together and dance or just to see some a movie or play or even a ball game. We sometimes went out for supper and then drinks later, but it was mostly just couples fun.