Breathe

Trees. Green trees. The winter came and left early. There was no spring. Hills of grass mixed with tall weeds covered the ground; land that just a month or two ago was brown.Funny how things come alive.

He left Gary heading east. Drove past liquor stores, Dollar General, barbecue joints, barber shops, and gentlemen clubs. He was wanting to see land again. Seemed like all he’d ever seen was concrete and steel. The old man was born amongst it. But, it never seemed natural to him. There’s city life and then there’s country; he longed to see country. He wanted to breathe.

There was nothing holding him back. Put in thirty years at U.S. Steel. Only filed for workman’s comp twice. He dealt with the heat, flames, heights, climbing up and climbing down. His reward, a pension and Social Security.

There was no one to take care of him. The old Pole never married, no kids. Had a woman he lived with for awhile. Wound up cheating on him. She made him come home to an empty house and a note; Dear Stosh. He knew it was coming. Stories by Nelson Algren told him so. There is no solace.

He drove into Indiana. Going on 20 East. That greenness of it all. Made him want to just get out of his truck and walk through it. And, he did. Got down in the tall grass and waved his arms like an angel. He could breathe now. He could finally breathe. That’s all he wanted.

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