Alfred Jensen is born, an only child, into a lower middle class family. Alfred's father dies early, and his mother, Maria, marries a second time. Alfred's rich stepfather, Bogdan, runs a cleaning service company, which profits exclusively by exploiting others. Together, Maria and Bogdan have another son, Alfred's stepbrother, Elvys. He is three years younger than Alfred, is spoiled and generally favored by their parents. Eventually Alfred ends up living with his maternal grandparents to get out of Bogdan, Elvys, and Maria's way. So Alfred lives with his grandparents on their little farm, watching TV or being harassed by his Nazi Grandfather who wants Alfred to toughen up and bullies him with physical drills.
In school Alfred is shy and introverted, which makes it very hard for him to make friends. Other kids find him weird and call him a nerd. His only friend is a girl named Mary. Mary sits next to Alfred in class. She is shy also and even though they are attracted to each other, they would never admit it. Alfred helps Mary with her schoolwork and is thrilled when they brush against one another.
Alfred is abused -verbally as well as physically- by his stepfather and stepbrother Elvys. Then, as a growing and increasingly brawny teenager- partially a result of his grandfather’s PE drills--he is bullied less. He is a successful student, smart and ambitious, with a talent for math. During summer breaks, Alfred works in his stepfather's company but always just as the "errand boy." Alfred is sick of all the harassment by his stepfather and stepbrother and only puts up with them because of their money. Also a result of his grandparent’s drilling, Alfred becomes obsessed with “proper” appearance: extra short hair, crisp white shirt and a tie, become his trademark. After finishing high school with flying colors, he is recruited by a military scout to become a pilot. A long kept secret dream is coming true for Alfred, and he believes everything will change for the better for good. His grandparents pass away before he can prove himself to them – they will never see him fly.
Alfred wants to show his surviving family that he is a real big shot and asks to be stationed on the frontlines of the war. His plane is shot down and Alfred becomes a prisoner of war/POW. In captivity he endures deadly terror and torture. Alfred finds the only way to cope with all his fears and trauma in any and all available drugs. After an exchange of prisoners he is free at last, but all the terrors of war continue to keep him captive.
Alfred is still traumatized by his war experience. Back home now he tries to figure out what his life should look like next and who he is supposed to be. He feels let down by his country and the government. Luckily his determination and intelligence help him land a job as the captain of a big airline. Alfred then runs into his childhood crush, Mary, who he had lost contact with after finishing school. Mary works as a flight attendant after finishing a career as a fashion model. They fall in love immediately and get married shortly thereafter. Together, Alfred and Mary have a son, Alexander. Alfred is busy flying while Mary stays home with their son. Alfred wants to make sure that they have enough money to pay all the bills. Mary on the other hand feels lonely and bored at home without her husband, especially when their son Alex is away at school. Her beautiful friend Claudia, persuades her to come to a singles bar to have some fun. At that bar Mary meets the owner: the well-known and very sleazy DJ Karl. DJ Karl hits on pretty Mary right away and Mary enjoys the attention. Even though Mary is not interested in him in the beginning, DJ Karl keeps on flirting with Mary until she gives in and they have an affair. Alfred has no idea about his wife's escapades until he walks in on them in the middle of the act one day when he arrives home early due to a strike at the airline. Mary tells Alfred she wants a divorce. Alfred seeks refuge in his old friend alcohol and begs Mary to stay with him. But Mary, still blinded by her newfound passion and freedom, rejects Alfred again.
The loss of the love of his life is, for Alfred, an extreme emotional blow and he loses it after drinking to excess. He talks about himself in the third person and demolishes cars in front of DJ Karl's bar. Alfred then walks into the bar and trashes all of DJ Karl's sound equipment.
After that, Alfred ends up on the street – homeless, drunk, and broken-hearted. Full of jealousy, bitterness and hopelessness - he considers suicide.
As Alfred is about to jump off the highest building in town, his phone rings. It is his son Alex, now 16.
Alex, who has lived with his grandparents for a while now, has just heard about his mother’s request for a divorce. Alex is upset and wants his Dad to help fix their marriage so that they can be a family again. He even offers to help. Immediately, Alfred is reminded of his youth and how he hated his stepfather. He worries that Alex may have the same bitter fate if he kills himself. Alfred is now hopeful again and together with his son Alex they try to find Mary to bring her back home. Mary starts to see her fault in the situation and recognizes that she does not want a life with DJ Karl after all. She goes back to Alfred and Alex.
Alfred finds himself distracted at his job. All he wants to be is a husband and a father at home. He quits his high stress job as an airline pilot.
While they are spending a romantic weekend together, Alfred and Mary reconnect, forgive each other, and promise to love and honor each other until they die. Together they make plans for their family’s future. They sell their city flat and move into Alfred's grandparent’s old farmhouse where they run an organic chicken farm.