It was 253 steps from the parking space to the front door. A walk that he had made thousands of times before. The collar of his jacket was turned up trying to keep the cold wind from creating too much of a chill. His steps were a bit forced, his knees hurting from years of stooping down to get items up from the storage under the counter to restock the tops shelves for his customers. He is tired…. so very tired indeed for he didn’t rest much last night…. worrying about his job…. and his health…. and his kids.
As he gets to the door, he reaches in his pocket and feels his keys. He doesn’t even have to look. He knows the key by feel. He has unlocked this door thousands of times. Today is no different that any of them. Just the start of another long day in the continuous parade of days that make up his life. He gets the cash registers set up, makes sure everything is straight and opens the door for customers. He spends most of the day dealing with inventory, talking with customers, directing employees… just like every day. Later he goes up to the office and pulls out his journal.
The journal is old and worn. It is obvious it has been used for years… tracking the days of a working life. He documents the sales for day, if it rained or snowed and what the temperatures were (highs and lows). He sits and wonders…. will tomorrow be different? And he knows the answer, it will be exactly the same… just like every day for the last 40 years have been.
And so another day ends… the lights are turned off, the door is locked and the 253 step walk is taken again… back through the cold to the car. And back to the house to face another sleepless night full of worry and a tad bit of regret… and I can’t thank him enough for all those years of all that effort… just because he wanted my life to be better than his.