Everyone suffers from something

Ricky was sixty seven years old dyed his hair raven black told people he was fifty four packed his things in a green garbage bag stuck out his thumb and jobbed from northern New Brunswick to the far side of Cape Breton. All summer long back and forth year after year. There was always odd relief when he appeared on the shoulder somewhere between home and Halifax on his knees hunched over fussing tying doing something with his bag or bundle. His face gravel dust tanned creased deeply engraved one finger cut short another damaged but it was his left and he was right handed and one less finger didn’t slow him down. Try and tell the foreman that. It was not easy for a man his age which is why he dyed his hair and kept one hand in his pocket as he explained with the other the depth of his experience versatility desire and need to work. Everyone suffers from something. Catches me with a corner of his eye otherwise stares straight ahead neither shy nor talkative a slight well kept capable sort. There is always work somewhere it all comes back to that. In Halifax he goes from construction site to site the docks and shipyards but most luck these days comes cleaning up around the Irving Big Stops along the way. That barely pays a day at a time though. Sometimes he gets lucky a foreman gives him a break he lasts a bit but maybe he isn’t quite as quick or handy as the young guys when it comes down to it. Three times in three days I’ve seen him in Pictou County on the edge of something. The rotary. Highway. A parking lot. For me he is an omen. To him I am invisible and he would find my omen idea strange and foolish. This is my exit and thats all of his story I know.


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