by Gregg Adams
Through the cobwebs weaved from too many glasses of cheap wine the night before, he opens his tired eyes and rises with the hope that today will be different from the last hundred. “My ability, experience and yearning desire to contribute will match somebody’s need today,” he says, desperately trying to believe his own testimony.
He remains confident that his knowledge and accomplishments will trump a poor economy and advanced age. While washing his face, he looks hard into the mirror, trying to find the man that not too long ago believed he could do anything.
He prepares a healthy breakfast to feed the healthy body and mind he hopes to regain and knows they are there, hiding behind the aging mess he feels he has become. He resists the urge to shower, knowing small sacrifices can help minimize the expenses he already can’t afford.
“Got to keep looking for that silver lining in this gray cloud,” he says. It makes him feel like he’s contributing something, anything.
Instead, he climbs the stairs to his computer with the hope that one of the many applications he will send into cyber-space, one of the contacts he has made or one of the voicemail messages he will leave will spawn the opportunity he so desperately desires.
He feels stiff after a few hours at the computer and suddenly realizes that mailman has arrived, a valid reason to take a break and stretch. He walks to retrieve the check he knows will be there and when it isn’t he sighs and thinks “it’ll come tomorrow,” ignoring the reality that when it does arrive, it won’t sustain his family to the degree necessary.
Lunch time arrives and he rationalizes that his good choice for breakfast, combined with his diligent job search efforts have earned him the right to indulge in overeating the wrong foods.
Feeling sluggish, he knows that he should go for a walk but heads back to the computer because walking won’t pay the bills.
From an IT Director opening in Alpharetta to a position bagging groceries at the Publix, he applies for everything he can find, but rarely receives any response. He knows that if he can just talk to a hiring manager in person he can sell himself, but he is always directed back to the online application process.
He submits his name for international opportunities and is invigorated by the fact that a real person had the decency to send a personal rejection email. “The Europeans certainly haven’t lost their compassion for their fellow man,”, he says to himself.
His wife, daughter and dog are the sole reasons he continues to strive. In a time of desperation, his wife continues to show an unwavering faith in his ability and demonstrates her love for him consistently.
He believes his daughter can’t and shouldn’t have to grasp the deep concern her parents share for the future. He pledges to himself that she will never know true poverty, no matter what it takes.
In the afternoon, his daughter comes home from school and brings with her a reminder of how joyous a life still full of hopes and dreams can be. It gives him strength. His dog sees that same person she has always seen – a leader that loves and feeds her.
He thinks how simple and powerful that kind of love is. With all of this he knows he is blessed with so much more than most in his situation and certainly more than he has, or ever will deserve. He vows to prove that their love and support is not misplaced.
After dinner, his wife leaves for the evening to pursue her passion. He knows it keeps her going and is grateful that she has found it. He spends the early part of the evening with his daughter, helps with her homework and listens as she shares the stories of her day.
He realizes how bright and full of life she is and gains motivation to ensure that remains uninterrupted.
He also acknowledges his terror that he potentially won’t be able to control that outcome. He puts her to bed and reconfirms his love for her, praying she sleeps without worry.
He is alone for awhile afterward and takes another look at the contents of the in-box, still hoping that fate-changing meeting request will be there, but it’s not.
He turns on the news, looking for a story about an economic bright spot and awaits the call from his wife to say she is on her way home.
He is happy and relieved when she arrives, thankful for her safety. She tells him about her evening and they share a few laughs until it is time for bed.
He kisses her goodnight and prays for her sound sleep.
As he lies awake, he tells himself that tomorrow will bring new and creative ways to find employment. He will look in the mirror once again, with the hope of finding the man that can make it happen.