Short Story Day 89 of 365
“I know this is painful for you, Ty, but it’s all we have now,” Sara said. “It’s asking a lot, but can you push through?”
Ty Brandle had been working the contract job during the holidays to bridge the gap between permanent gigs. Money was tight and the work was tough. On his feet all night, Brandle transferred canvas mail bags from bins to trucks and vice versa.
When the trucks arrived on the dock, he and a team of others would help the drivers load their trucks and be on their way. Most of the packages were five pounds or less, but he handled them all night. The government supervisors were generous with breaks but the work was steady.
Every morning he’d be home by 8, in bed by 8:30, and slept until 6. Only 36, Ty wasn’t used to the manual labor. Before he took the job, he bought a pair of comfortable steel-toed boots, lying to himself that they would help. The boot insoles weren’t working and his back was aching every night.
Or maybe it was the cheap mattress he lay on each day.
Several times a night he considered giving up and going home, but knew that different and permanent work was hard to come by, especially this time of year. After the new year began, perhaps, but not a month before. His only salvation was the paycheck he was bringing home each week. It wasn’t much, but it was something. And something at this point was better than nothing.
“How long can this last, Sara?” Ty asked his wife every morning when he got to the breakfast table. Sara was still looking for less demanding seasonal work and knew that if she were doing what he was doing, she’d be in much worse shape given her lower back issues. Plus, they’d probably have hospital bills on top of that.
“A little more, Ty. You can stop if you can’t do it any longer, but I think there will come a breakthrough point.”
Ty knew she was right, but it didn’t make the long nights easier.
On Day 18 of his 28 contractual days, Sara began to notice the breakthrough even if Ty hadn’t. His complaining stopped, his aches were non-existent, and he was more cheerful.
Twenty-two days into his contract, Sara finally told Ty what she had noticed.
“Yeah, that’s when I figured it out too,” Ty said. “Since then, my boss notified me of an opening doing similar work during the day shift. Full time with benefits after I finish the contract. I’d have to take the Civil Service exam so it could take two or three months, but they want me to work for them, Sara.”
“I’m glad you didn’t give up when you could have.”