He woke up. He wasn’t ready; he never was. He rubbed his eyes, trying to get acclimated to the light. It wasn’t a strong one but was enough to irritate the sleepy eyes and wake him up. He sat up on the bed, still rubbing the eyes. The days were dry, and they would be dry for a long time. The rain season was so far away that you couldn’t even smell it. That’s why after the sunlight, the second thing that hit him every morning was the smell. The aroma of the ranch was strong. The sand had a powerful fragrance; it was almost dominant. Almost. It would be if it wasn’t for the hot days. The days were so hot that even with the first sunbeams, the animals started to sweat. That’s what he had every morning, rubbish eyes and the smell of sand and animal sweat. He was happy. With a smile, he got up and went to the kitchen.
As always, in the kitchen, he started to make his coffee. Morning, the day actually, could only truly begin after coffee. He went outside in pyjamas. The water of the dwell was perpetually fresh; he always asked how this was possible. He would die without having an answer; that was life. He filled the kettle and went back to the house. The stove still had enough wood to heat the water and for him to cook. Every day he ate the same thing, eggs and beef jerky. He liked it because it meant that he could afford meat. The beef was expensive; it was a luxury. Because of that, the breakfast tasted better than it really was. The coffee was bold and hot. It was a great breakfast; he was finally ready for the day.
He went back to the bedroom and took the pyjamas off. After putting on his day-to-day clothes, he went to the barn. He opened the door and conducted the horses to the field. Then, he went to the hen house. The roost, as always, was the first to leave; the chickens followed him. There were no eggs today; he thought that there always will be a later and a tomorrow. He fed the animals. The animals ate, he waited.
The sun was getting hotter by the minute. He could feel the sweat running down his neck and forehead. He controlled the time, not by the clock, that he didn’t have, but by how wet he was. It was getting closer to the time to leave. But he still had some time. It was good to have time; you can accomplish many things when you have time. In his case, he could put on the horseshoes in the horses without having to rush. Time was significant, and time was all he had. He chose the horses, the stronger and faster ones, put the horseshoes in them and went to the city.
It was a good day, a regular day. He sold two horses, he had chicken for launch and bought more beef jerky. Walking back to the ranch, he remembered a dream he had at night. It was a funny dream. It made no sense. He was riding a wagon that wasn’t a wagon. It was made of metal instead of wood, and there were no horses. He was going fast, too fast. Faster than any horse, he should be terrified, but he wasn’t. He started to think a little harder and realized that the wagon was not on the road; it actually looked like he was between the clouds. He began to think harder. It was a funny dream; it made no sense. But at the same time, the more he remembered, the more real it became. He was lost in the memory that he didn’t hear the thieves surrounding him. He didn’t note the horses stopping because of the fear. He barely listened to the bang.
He woke up. He wasn’t ready; he never was. He was stressed. He was always stressed out. The first light that he saw was his cellphone. The alarm was on, he desired to hit the snooze button, but he couldn’t. He rubbed his eyes a little bit with the left hand and turned off the alarm with the other. He sighed really hard. The day had barely begun, and he was already wishing for the end of it.
He took a cold shower; he needed to wake up. In the kitchen, the coffeemaker had already poured the coffee into the jar. While still wet, he searched the reason why the water in dwells is always fresh. His grandad had a ranch, and this question had always bothered him, but that was the first time he remembered to look for the answer. He put on his day-to-day clothes. He drunk the coffee, a ready to go smoothie and ran to the car. He was not late, but he liked to think that if he arrived early, he could leave early. Truth is, he was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. He had an enormous project, an even bigger team. He needed to be perfect every day. Otherwise…
The traffic was awful, just like every day. There were cars everywhere. He was amazed by how it didn’t have a car on top of its own. He then started to think about how life should’ve been more peaceful when cars didn’t exist. He began to remember how life was indeed calmer when cars didn’t exist. It was funny that he was remembering, not thinking about it. It looked like he lived that life. What, of course, was impossible. He speculated that he must’ve had a really vivid dream about it, probably after watching a movie or reading a good book. The specifics didn’t matter; he just wanted to go back to that quieter time. He went back, he dived so deep in the dream, in the memory that he forgot about the traffic and the car. He never saw the accident.
He woke up. He wasn’t ready; he never was. He was exhausted. The shifts weren’t easy. Sometimes he had to work for 20 hours. He slept in the factory with the other workers; they never woke up feeling rested because of the eternal noise and the constant smell of coal and smoke. He didn’t remember the last time he saw the sun. Not only because he was caged into the factory, but because of the fog. There was no sunlight in the city, at least not in that part.
He took a cold shower. The coal and the hot water were only for the machines. The ones who kept them running didn’t deserve that luxury. They were cheaper and easily replaceable. There were many workers, there weren’t many machines. The coffee was weak and cold, probably made many hours ago. But the bitter taste did the trick. He was fit for the day… or, at least, fit as he could be.
He had the worst job in the factory. A hard life was even more laborious. It was the job that no one wanted, and everyone felt sorry for the ones that had to do it. He had to go out to get more water from the dwell and coal from the deposit. That was the worst job because it was the most exhausting one. You had to walk more than anyone, and you were always going from the hot to the cold. Those were his days. Hot to cold. Breathing the toxic smoke of the machine. Not having enough to eat. Not sleeping enough. Not having enough time and energy to ask himself how the water in the dwell could still be fresh with all the smoke and coal. Nor even having time to think about dreams.
He lived… He existed, briefly. He was dying, and he knew. He tried to ask for help. But the blood didn’t allow a single word to get out of his lips. The exhaustion always knocked out everybody. The loud sound of the machines didn’t allow conversations. He choked on the blood that was flowing in his lungs. His body was thrown into a furnace, the entrepreneurs never bought enough coal. They knew that workers would keep the fire alive just like the coal, with the advantage of being cheaper and more abundant. The only one who grieved his death was the one who was assigned to his old job. Life went on, even if he didn’t.
He woke up. He wasn’t ready; he never was.
Never the end…