Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: Fool's Gold Corrupts the Soul
By Bryan Coomes
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I can still hear my father’s voice as clear as ever, even though it’s been over seven years since we last spoke. It’s funny how just the sound of his voice still has the power to turn my stomach in knots.
I can’t blame him. He had every right to feel that way. In essentially every area of my life I went against his advice. When I stormed out of the old yellow cape cod that day, I was determined I was never coming back to him for anything.
I mean I could handle it when he told me that it was not wise to work on Wall St. because “it has a way of changing people for the worse.” He tried warning me time and again but I didn’t want to hear it. I saw what kind of a life my mom and dad had and I was determined to do better. Much better. They worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week in the hardware store they owned and operated, doing the same thing everyday for over 50 years for what? A meager existence. Sure, they had scrimped and scrapped all their life and did manage to save up some money. But I basically called him a fool for not investing with me since I had all the connections and I had all the inside information and knew that I couldn’t lose. Or so I thought.
I didn’t get upset with him when, after having my first million dollar year, I contemplated splurging on a brand new sunshine yellow Lambourghini Diablo to which he replied that “only a fool would part with so much money for a car.” And it didn’t really bother me that he left the room as I was sharing the exciting news of the acceptance of my application (and six-figure non-refundable fee) for the privilege of being allowed to buy one of the custom-built 6,000 sq ft. butter-yellow Victorian-inspired mansions in the prestigious development of Yellow Brick Road Estates. I just figured he couldn’t understand or appreciate it anyway since he was just so “small-town”.
I snapped though when it came to Sandy. From the first day I brought her home to meet them I could tell he didn’t approve of her. There was something in his blue eyes that was just cold. He would always welcome her into his home and treat her well enough, but I knew that the day that I announced our engagement to them that things would come to a head. That was the last day we spoke.
The dingy yellowed cab I am riding in pulls up to the front of my parent’s house. Taking the last bit of money from my wallet, I settle up with the driver and step out to face the house. Everything looks the same. It’s like the last fifteen years of life have stood still here while mine has been anything but.
You’ve got a lot of nerve coming back here after the way you left.
My father’s voice echoes in my head again as I begin slowly walking toward the door. With each step, the thoughts stab me to the heart. I had it all, and now its gone.
My blond-haired, blue-eyed, tan-all-year-round trophy wife Sandy left at the first hint that the money was running out.
My castle has been foreclosed on and if the bank actually manages to sell it, I will no doubt still owe over a million dollars from the difference.
My dream car was repossessed before my very eyes.
My career is over. The so-called “iron-clad” employment contract I had with a now defunct investment-banking firm on Wall St. has been voided. The lucrative golden parachute clause that would have set me up for life is gone as well thanks to the restrictions put in place by the federal bail-out our firm received a couple months prior to going under.
My heart is racing as I open the storm door and knock.
My father opens the door, as a look of astonishment fills his face. We stare at each other as time seemingly stands still, until a slight glow overcomes his face from a slowly spreading smile.
“Welcome home son.” He opens his arms wide.
Falling into his chest I feel the tears come.
“You were right. Please forgive me Dad, for everything.”
“I already have son. I already have.”
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