Along the wet streets of mid-town Cleveland in Ohio, Anthony Dain, a short, stocky man, stumped along to try to avoid the rain. His hat and trench coat were beginning to become drenched in the torrential downpour. It was the third time in the week it had rained, and he was growing more and more irritated by himself because he always seemed to forget his umbrella at home. He would always place the umbrella right next to the door. “I must not forget it tomorrow morning,” he always thought to himself in the evening once he glanced at it. However, he would always make a speedy exit in the morning and forget to carry it, only for it to start raining on his way back home at around 6 pm every day.
Anthony Dain had a stocky body with exceptionally broad shoulders. Ever since he could remember, he had never been able to find a well fitting suit from any store. He needed to have them tailor-made. His mustache was so long, curved and thick that it resembled the spread out wings of a small black bird. This would make the short and quick trot even more comical to any passerby. However, Anthony Dain did not give a second thought to what anyone might think. He was past that stage, and too old for that, as he believed. He scurried past a beggar who had stretched out his hand, and looked down in total dismay. He would always wonder why these beggars were out on the street and not out looking for an honest and well-deserved pay’s work like the others. He remembered his cousin from his father’s side, Simon Dain, who was born blind, but still managed to make something out of himself as a teacher for the blind. He glimpsed at the old beggar once more and gave a look of disdain, hurrying to get to his mansion.
He reached his house and found the housekeeper ready to leave. “Good evening Mr. Dain, I did not know what time you were coming in so I made dinner early, would you like me to serve you before I leave?” “No,” he mumbled, inaudibly. He was always very impatient in the evenings, and the housekeeper knew this. She was not sure what the reply was because of the low tone, but she was a somewhat timid woman and did not want to ask him to repeat for fear of vexing him even further. Therefore, she assumed that Anthony Dain had replied in the negative, and sped off into the cold and wet weather. He walked into the spacious living room and took a seat in his favorite armchair. Finally, alone, he sighed deeply, and the sound he produced echoed against the high walls of his fully furnished living room. He had a long and difficult day and having dinner was the last thing on his mind.
Anthony Dain sat in silence for almost an hour, not even trying to move to adjust his body. He had removed his coat when he got into the house, but his clothes underneath were still slightly wet. He was a little uncomfortable with the cold attire, but more pressing issues were occupying his mind. An employee, which he had hired out of sympathy because his parents passed away, stole his money. The employee, Anderson McCall, had worked in one of his five retail shops that sold leather accessories. Working as a cashier, he had been in the shop for about six months, and Anthony Dain had grown to trust him. However, he went to the store early that Monday morning to review the inventory only to realize that the money and the stock did not match. That is when one of the shop attendants informed him of Anderson’s departure to Chicago. “He had been planning to move to Illinois for weeks now, and we thought you knew. In fact, we thought you are the one who sent him the goodbye card he came with last week,” said one of the attendants. Those words almost threw his short body off balance. His sharp numerical skills quickly began to calculate the loss he had made: five thousand dollars. Next month’s stock would be far less.
Anthony Dain vowed never to trust anyone again. This was the last time he would make that mistake. The first time was with Susan Rotche, a lovely, dark-haired petite young woman, but at that time, it was understandable, he thought, for he was only nineteen years old. Susan Rotche was the apple of his eye. No one could ever match her beauty and wit. He would always laugh at her jokes. Susan was not very funny, but because her charm smote him, to him the jokes she made were hilarious. They had been lovers for one year, and one day, early in the summer of 1943, when he was about to propose to her, she cut his speech short, saying that she was already engaged to another man. Jeffrey Jones was a thirty-year-old, wealthy, and well-established lawyer. Anthony knew him because they were living in the same neighborhood. However, he had no idea that love was brewing between him and Susan. He could only recall three occasions where they were all together. Anthony wondered how that happened. He could not believe how heavy his heart had been with just words, but he knew there was nothing he could do if love was not enough to keep Susan. He could not compete with a rich and tall man.
Anthony had to let her go. Forgetting her was not easy. His only consolation was his interest in starting the business for selling the leather accessories. He proved to be efficient because he realized he was good in mathematics. In addition, he knew how to target his market, and his suppliers rarely failed him. There were also very few leather shops in mid-town, where his first shop was located. Due to this, his business expanded rather quickly. Often at night, he would think to himself that Susan might one day see how much he has progressed. She would then immediately be filled with regret for leaving him. However that day never came, for Susan had already moved to the West Coast with her husband. He began to resent himself when he realized that all this time, his drive for being successful was fueled by his eagerness to finally show off to someone who had no interest in him, and whom he would probably never see again.
Once he had shown an interest in a young girl, and she seemed to return the favor. This was the second time he had trusted someone. However, he quickly came to learn that she was interested only in his money. He even noticed a certain trend with her: if they were not meeting at an expensive restaurant, the girl would not show up, feigning an excuse. One day, the girl canceled a lunch date when she realized Antony had planned a simple and romantic picnic in the city park. He had dedicated much of his effort to the date, and this was the last straw. It was at this point that he broke things off with her. Once he realized that many women had become materialistic, he began to feel trapped. He felt like his money was preventing him from having a woman love him for who he really was. It was overshadowing his essence, which he wanted women to notice. On the other hand, it was that very money that made his life comfortable. He resented it but at the same time needed it. It puzzled him immensely, and he became paranoid. In his childhood days, he felt ignored many a time, for his parents had seven other children. He could not share his feelings with his parents, for they had become estranged. He would spend Christmas and Thanksgiving reading a book and having a meal alone in his sizeable, two-storey mansion.
While still seated in his armchair, Anthony Dain started to take his imagination to another level. Anderson McCall had stolen his money. What if things were worse? What if all his shops were closed down for one reason or another? He would have nothing to fall back on. He could only depend on himself. Not just financially, but emotionally. He had no friends, just employees, suppliers and a housekeeper, and was eerily comfortable with that fact. He did not even know the name of his next-door neighbor, and was not planning to get to know it. What if the businesses were shut down, or he had gone bankrupt, but had someone special with whom he could share the financial grief? Surely, it would be priceless to have someone beside him to console him during such a time. He realized now that he would prefer not to know. He would rather be content with what he has now rather than ponder on what might be.
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