Ingrid was beautiful, someone Paul thought he’d seen in a magazine somewhere. But she couldn’t be. Ingrid was the General‘s daughter, not some model. But Paul though he loved her, anyways. And he didn’t even know she was the General’s daughter. Her dark hair was past her shoulders and her smile lit her face, just like the model she could have been. Her aura was that of an angel’s grace. Paul brushed past her for the first time on his way to play basketball with the guys. “I like your shoes,” Ingrid said as he started past her up the stairs. He looked down at the old basketball shoes on his feet, smirked to himself and stopped just long enough to turn around and say “Thanks,” with a smile. But Paul couldn’t help it when he tried to turn back and continue on, because he couldn’t turn his lingering gaze away from Ingrid. Unwillingly, he tried to tear his eyes away from her, so he could head to the basketball courts where everyone would be waiting if he took too long, but he couldn’t pull himself away from her. Finally, he felt slightly guilty when his gaze awkwardly lingered for too long, and then he was able to leave. As he started up the stairs again, Ingrid called out to him, “What’s your name?” He responded, “Paul,” with a quick turn of his head. “Do you want to hang out tomorrow?” Ingrid asked. Saturday, Paul thought. “Sure…” Paul started. Ingrid interrupted, “What’s your number?” she asked. So Paul headed back down the stairs as Ingrid pulled out her cell phone. The two exchanged numbers, and Paul headed off to the basketball courts.
Paul arrived to the courts early, as usual, and began to shoot around to warm up. More people gradually showed up, some with their own balls and some sharing, and they shot around, too. Eventually, when enough people were there, somebody suggested they start up a game. They agreed on teams, and Paul was one of those on the court first. His team wasn’t assembled very well, but Paul started off quickly, handling the ball well for most of their possessions, and scoring most of the teams points. Paul continued to take the ball, and ended up scoring 81 points before the game was called. His team stayed on the court, as the losing team switched out for the bench. Paul’s team won again, with him scoring the majority of the points, and his team went on to keep winning, the next 16 games in a row, until the complaining from the other teams and the players from the bench forced Paul’s team to disband. Paul continued to shoot around at another basket during that first game he sat out, practicing more innovative dunks, and later stepping behind the three-point line consecutively hitting threes until it was his turn to play again. He continued playing the games he was allowed to play late into the evening, until the players started to go their separate ways home. When everyone was finally done and had said their final “good game,” Paul stayed to shoot around a little while longer.
The next day, Paul had off. He spent it waiting, sat staring at the phone, waiting for it to ring so he could answer. He anticipated the moment, what to say when she called, how to react, cool, calm, maybe excited or perhaps with a little delight in his voice. And while he waited, Ingrid sat at home doing the same. She sat there, too scared, too shy to pick up the cell phone she too watched anxiously. Despite her bravery with Paul shown the day before to get her to this point, now she became timid again, and hoped Paul would be the man, the pursuer, and call her like he was supposed to. The phone never rang for either Paul or Ingrid, forever though they both seemed to wait. Not knowing what to think, but nothing new to Paul, he at least moved on.
We know this because Paul continued his little basketball outings, competing against teams and players and striving to make himself better. And as ironically imbalanced as the world is, as it occurs for all successful people, more good gets piled on top of everything else already. Eventually Paul’s abilities became known to others, and as a visibly successful man, he soon gathered a small following of autograph-seekers, to include his own personal cheerleading section whose presence grew at each game.
But unknown to others, for Paul, living on a military installation did actually cause a slight imbalance in his life. You see, Paul worked with only males, as the nature of combat forces goes. Quite a convenience really, when dealing with internal issues. But what’s more to that is the installation population consisted so heavily of males that the remainder of those seen on the installation were spouses and children. So of course he did not allow himself to look at women, or even address them in public. It was unwritten code, and kept him well away from drama and problems. But Paul couldn’t fight nature, his instincts, forever. And when it was discovered that Paul was single, his reproductive stock was sought out. Not by the women, because Paul would never permit that. But once fathers were done having their share of daughters’ boyfriends to deal with, the worthless, abusive, and just plain unworthy to pay attentions and carry on the family line with their daughters, they honed in on Paul, though respectful just like he had been, and offered him their daughters’ hands in marriage.
Because of the way rank works, because some decisions are worth more than others, of course the General had a say in all of this. “How dare my men offer their daughters to this man like they are no more than whores or prostitutes?” he asked his advisors, ever present in every matter to support his decisions. “What do they want from this poor overwhelmed soul other than the reap benefits by association?” So as the General says, it must happen. The General also learned of Ingred’s interest in Paul through sources unrevealed (because generals know EVERYTHING). When the General first learned of Ingred’s fondness for this Paul fellow, the General set forth policies that prohibited fathers from further arranging any sorts of excursions between Paul and their daughters. The daughters would have to pursue him of their own accord, or otherwise leave Paul alone.
The new policies helped free Paul from the lesser of the resource-seeking wenches, allowing him pursuit now by those of more pure hearts. This included Ingrid, and others, but once Paul discovered Ingrid was the General’s daughter, he became entirely infatuated with her. Because her father wore tabs, badges, and awards that made his uniform heavy, yet his strong shoulders and set jaw made him an imposing figure of a man. What Paul wouldn’t give to follow in the footsteps of such a man. So he decided to marry Ingrid. Not without pomp and circumstance would be the wedding of a general’s daughter, so Ingrid received the wedding of her dreams, fulfilling her every imagination. She picked the location, the wedding theme, the crowd that would attend, all paid for in full by the General’s kind heart. And when Paul swore his vows, promised to cherish her in sickness and in health, Ingrid was beyond her own joys. And Paul realized, too, that now whatever dreams he could not accomplish, he could live vicariously through the General, his father-in-law. Of course he loved Ingrid, and he now knew that their children would be even greater than he could be. So they lived happily ever after.