“Hell of a thing, Frank,” Captain Briggs said as he looked out over the motor pool, Frank Genesin by his side, “hell of a thing.” Frank nodded and looked at the future which simultaneously brought forth his passing. He was the last to go, holding on to his keys, refusing to knuckle under, refusing to be pushed out, refusing to give up his right to drive, to work, to provide … to be a man. It had become too much. The shit routes that kept him away from his family for weeks. The worst trucks in the fleet that broke down every fifty miles or so. The break downs making him late with his shipment, causing him to pay fines. He was paying out to the company almost two times what he was bringing in most days. He wasn’t sleeping, he wasn’t eating and Milly, his wife, was becoming frightened for his very life.
“You’re half dead,” she told him one night. He had come home late, later than he should have because the truck broke down, the delivery had to be made, he made it, late of course and the damn thing broke down again on his way back to the motor pool. So, when he finally shuffled into the kitchen, it was past eleven at night, his dinner been heated, reheated and was now barely something that resembled food. He ate it. He ate it because Milly cooked it, because Milly stayed up to sit with him. Because the one thing he hated about the long haul was eating alone. She knew this so, she always made sure that, when he was home, she ate with him. Eighteen years on the road and he still couldn’t shake that lonely feeling when he had to stop and eat a burger or a bowl of chili by himself. He always felt like the eyes of the room were on him. Who’s this poor sap, sitting in this shit hole dinner, eating a blue plate special all by his lonesome. So, being home, having dinner with his wife, with his daughter Abby when she was home from school, these were the simple pleasures. The one’s he had earned. The ones he deserved.