He didn’t think he was entitled to anything. His biggest mistake had been expecting reciprocal behavior from the people closest to him. He set the standard at work. It was not uncommon for him to roll up his sleeves and pitch in, on a job site, if the deadline was looming and work had lagged for one reason or another. Ironically, he had perfect plumb and was as happy swinging a hammer as he was drawing. He never imagined he’d walk alongside the old man’s footsteps when he was a kid. He never intended to. More often than not, he’d wanted to take him on when he was a teenager. By the time he was big enough to do it, he’d lost the desire. Foster IV could be a stubborn son-of-a-bitch but he was a good father.
Everyone had called his mother Mimi. Her given name was Madeline. Mimi believed in appearances. She colored her hair platinum when it started to go grey. She always knew the right thing to say, the proper attire, and on which occasions one was required to acknowledge or send flowers. She wasn’t prepared for her adored son to be snatched out from under her nose by “that snippet of a girl.” From the beginning, Mimi didn’t like Marion. Hank had tried to unite the women in his life but Mimi was jealous and Marion was wounded. He’d spoken to his mother, asking her politely to treat Marion like a member of the family she would eventually become. She’d blanched white at the suggestion that Marion would be his wife and replied weakly, as though she were going to faint, “You’ll always have a room under this roof.”
Hank and Marion remained married in spite of Mimi’s prayers. She never knew how much she hurt Marion by refusing to accept her, just as she didn’t realize that she’d diminished in his estimation. He loved his wife like his existence depended on it. She added a dimension to his life that had been invisible until he met her.