Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Clock Just Struck Four

I just heard The Husband shuffle to the bathroom.  Then I heard the clock strike 4.  A M.  And I am still awake.  Working on the allocated spending part of the study we are doing.  Our house is under contract and I am working on the spending budget.  And I keep getting errors in my addition.  And the clock just struck four. A. M.

Forty odd years ago this old gal would be sitting at a desk working on the books for Husband's business.  No clocks to strike to tell me it was long since time to go to the house.  Husband and Son would have eaten and gone to bed.  I was still hunched over an old adding machine with an ashtray of butts next to it.  Usually there would be a cigarette curling smoke near my fingers as I worked on the numbers on the green ledger pages.  Working to find the missing $14.37 or whatever.  Life at the shop did not end well for us.  We closed the business his father and mother worked so hard to build.  They were heartbroken.  We were devastated, embarrassed and broken.

The year was 1982.  I had been working at the shop and at a circuit board factory to help supplement the income.  I left my 9 year old son in his father's care as I commuted an hour's drive to work the 10:30 PM to 6:30 AM shift.  Many folks called it the graveyard shift.  I think it was/is because the time disconnect will almost kill you.  Most mornings I returned home with the rising sun at my back arriving in time to kiss The Son bye as he left for school.  I would eat a bite then head back to the shop to work until a DE student came in a 2 PM to continue the work.   That is when I could head home to grab some sleep before getting up and start the cycle again.

Years of working the swing and graveyard shifts left me a night owl.  No more cigarettes nor the blue-gray toxic smoke lazily rising above the ash tray.  No ledger sheets in green with gold lines.  No pink curls from the pink eraser littering the pages and desk top.  No job to get up for.  No hour drive for a job to work for 8 more hours.  No banter with the other women in the light table filled room.  No film to retouch so the circuit board will work.  No Son waiting for me to come home for his 10 year birthday party.  Just the glow of the laptop, the refrigerator running in the kitchen and a missing $14.37.  I just heard the clock strike the half hour.




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