The truck won’t start, and you’re pushing it down El Camino. Running beside it like a winded dog, while the people on the sidewalk stare. But you’ll get there. And you’ll be covered in sweat, but the old ladies don’t mind. The white uniforms don’t mind. And you might have to decline a sample because it would stick in your parched throat like sandpaper, but you’ll get the nut n chews and she’ll be happy. The truck will get fixed. Don’t worry about continuity, because I got continuity for days. In fact, that trip to See’s turned into two children who may take the world by storm. They just might.
The point is that sometimes things matter just because they matter. I don’t need to understand it. You don’t need to understand it. It’s just this thing you need to come to terms with. And accept. And if you do, the keys to the kingdom of Heaven are yours. She might watch you fish for hours and just smile. She might forgive you one more time than she should have had to. She might be waiting to grow old with you, just because you made that trek, covered in sweat, and you brought home the bacon. Which in this case was chocolate.
He wakes up early and drinks bad coffee in the dark kitchen. The sound of the refrigerator is like silverware in a garbage disposal, it would grate on him if he wasn’t so tired. The house is empty, but there is a child in a hospital room across town who calls him Papa, so he wakes up and goes to the first of two jobs, both in kitchens, one Denny’s, one Chipotle.
Two eight hour shifts get strung together by a thirty-minute bus ride most days. He sleeps on break. He sleeps on Saturday, and he is adamant about his Saturdays, and his managers don’t schedule him on Saturday ever, because they know that is the only time he sleeps. And without sleep, you can’t work. Maybe, you die.
He is soft spoken, but he is also young, and he has a simmering anger behind his smile. Nothing to do with it. He knows that the future is full of ground out days and hospital stays. He thinks about his choices and he wonders if he should have come North at all. The hospital is better here. It was the only way, but it is killing him.
He falls asleep standing up. He falls asleep on the shitter. He falls asleep eating lunch, and everyone pretends they don’t notice. They cover for him when he falls asleep sitting on a pile of milk cartons in the walk-in-fridge. They see him struggle, they see the inevitable crash coming, and they cross their fingers that today is not the day.
See Luis. Tired. Works two jobs, but it’s a small sacrifice. His daughter is alive.