This story, and it is not unique in this --indeed every story ever, is my guess- hinges on certain moments of serendipity. Apart from that, you'll find the characters more or less humanely rational.
Step one: being born to a set of aloof, socially misbegottens who managed, somehow, to stay happy and gainfully employed while the rest of the world collapsed around them.
Step two: realizing the important lessen, as a young man, that sports and poetry, fucking and liking, are not mutually exclusive.
Step three: being something of an old soul.
* * *
Bello was not, in actuality, a loud or shouty young man. Quite the contrary. In addition to his quietus, he was tall, in high school, and on the swim team.
Freemont, California. Nothing to do with anything in this story, oh no.
This story is set in and west of Detroit, Michigan. The cracked tower (of academia) and it's snowy, crumbly bedrock.
Where does Bello live? In the middle of course, in a deep country side, with a sheep, some chickens, three cats and a dog. All the neighbors, both that there were, also had dogs.
The dog's name, the dog being a huge orange beast of a mastiff, the dog's name is Kitty.
Bello has a sister named Ellis, but she's much too young for this story. (Which is not to say she doesn't have stories of her own. . . just not this one.)