Carl stood under the umbrella, looking out across the downtown square. In coveralls reeking of machine oils and sweat, made worse by the rain. On the farm, Carl remembered, nothing was ever made worse by rain.
The old man’s farm. Paved over. A lifetime of milk and red earth-tinged memories. Sprouting tall buildings now, where sweet corn and green pastures once flowered. Where an old cow giving birth kicked the daylights out of his five-year old head. He got to name that one, ol’ Milk Dud, on account of how much his head bled.
And now he was the old man. He couldn’t have told you how it happened, but it did, and the city came up all around them. Lost the farm, hired on at the factory. At least he and Barb had the kids.
A tiny spasm wracked his hand and the umbrella slid out. Carl winced. The arthritis was flaring up, more and more these days. He collapsed to his knees. Why the heck did he come back here? And in his coveralls! He stuck out like a sore thumb. And in fact his thumbs were sore, and the truth was that being here made him feel there wasn’t a thing left worth livin’ for.
-originally publ. on flashfriday.wordpress.com