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Old Boots

Old Work Boots

Bob’s a miraculous testament to industry
Standing in his boots while waiting for the bus
The bus is late
Again

Thirty years he’s been working, wearing the same leather boots
Worn out or worn in, it’s hard to tell
He’d say worn in
Then he’d chuckle

Three decades of production line work and packaging deliveries’
The shift work has aged him
He looks tired and worn out
He is

But still he works
Fourteen hours a day
Despite the cancer
Which is terminal

Bob’s been given months, but the whir of machinery dilutes the anguish in his heart
The bus stop is where he feels the pain
It’s the other passengers milling about
Their casual affection for one another

It’s the older folks holding hands that causes his throat to tighten
He hasn’t held a warm hand in years
He’s been too busy working
For the family

Bob reaffirms the sacrifice he’s made for his family
Despite a tear escaping his listless eyes
God how he misses them
He’s missed so much

The kids left home and only visit during the day, while he’s working
He’s always working, they would say
He sleeps alone in a single bed, so he doesn’t wake his wife
He loves her dearly

But they have grown apart
They live like flatmates
She leaves his dinner in the oven
He brings home the pay check

The bus finally arrives; the hydraulic hiss of the door lets everyone on
Bob makes eye contact with the driver
Whose glazed and tired eyes stare blankly back
He clips the ticket

The turbulence of the factory usually numbs Bob’s mind
But today he can’t assuage a foreboding
A black despair overwhelms him
He doesn’t want to die alone

 

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