It’s 4.45 in the morning, pitch blackout. The alarm clock goes off – the most despised sound at the beginning of the day. He strikes it out, half asleep. Trying to escape the oh-so-comfortable slumber, all he can think of is the way he is going to require a bit more time to get up. 5 minutes, tops! A minute later, a second alarm goes off, tearing him from his inertia all over again. Sensing it’s going to be futile to keep on fighting his time, he surrenders to his time-keeper & gradually rolls out of bed.
His spouse dozes peacefully, ” he glances at her a minute – they have been married since high school & he is still in love with her. Throughout the painful days, when their world seemed to collapse, he learned to appreciate her more. He’s grateful for having her in his lifetime but hardly acknowledges it. A tired smirk grows out of the corner of the mouth because he gets up, goes to the bathroom & gets prepared.
Half an hour after, he pulls his lunch box from the kitchen, grabs his gear locks the door as he leaves his home.’ I hope that crazy leakage finally gets repaired today!’ He believes as he hops to his truck, springs out that the drive & heads to work. A pipeline burst one of the bottoms near the elevator, flooding the central place on the very top. Getting in & out of this mine has since become a nuisance. He’s been supervising at an asbestos mine at mid-managerial level, just shy of 13 years now. He has been working in it, overall, for 30 years.
Before he walks up the stairs to his office supporting the main entrance, he looks over to his left & finds something he’s not happy about at all. The central area remains flooded up & now leaking down the lift.
The time is currently 6.00 am & he is just arriving outside. As he puts his hard hat on & walks towards the mine, then his foreman suits him, sarcastically jokes about how he did not get any last night, subsequently briefs him on the afternoon. He takes a look at the roster, sifting through the pages of this activity log. ‘Tunnel 6 upcoming 80% completion’
‘Whoa! If the guys keep this up at this speed, we’ll finish the project 6 weeks in advance.’ he thinks to himself. ‘Way to go, boys!’
‘Those contractors are in for it’
Inside his office, he drops his equipment in the cupboard, sinks to his office chair & starts collating the final week’s records on tunnel 5’s output. He’s been leading all job management since he was a foreman & regardless of his vast experience & virtually unblemished history over his career, he still gets nervous whenever he’s running a job. It’s the same butterflies in his belly he hasn’t been able to get rid of, over the years. They’ve likely been responsible for his high operation, he reckons, so he’s not particularly troubled.
3 moments go by & a very small heap of accounts have piled up in front of him on his heavily, document-littered desk; he still needs a few more before he meets up with his team, then telephones the agency to break hell onto the poor contractors. Pictures of his daughter, when she was a young child, hang him, on the wall. Portraits of his wife & son pose. How time flies! Just yesterday, it appeared he was throwing up his daughter in the air, as she always loved; today she’s about to graduate from college, with a major in cybernetic engineering & $23,000 debts. Along with his son, now a freshman on a full scholarship in a top private college does not stop calling & texting about the girl he’s recently dropped for, whom he is now convinced is the one.
Got it! The last pair of reports he had been on the lookout for. In the base of the pile as always, once you’re looking for something. Now, off to brief the men. He shuts his office door but suddenly feels dizzy & an incredible pain in his chest – like a heavyweight boxing game for the world title, attempting to break from it. He feels frantic at the same time & is, inexplicably, becoming out of breath. The day hasn’t even started & he usually only feels like this, halfway through. It’s been a month or two now like this, but he has been shrugging off it as a normal thing that comes with age. At 59, he’s entering a new stage in life & kissing his prime years goodbye.
It’s at the stage, where he gets off the staircase, that he sees how pale his palms are, after wiping sweat from his forehead. Barely able to breathe, he also blanks out within a couple of split seconds & falls head-first into the ground, all of the ways from the past 3 steps of the staircase. Read more about diseases cause by asbestos.
The next thing that he understands is that he’s lying on a mattress, without the usual noises & sounds in the atmosphere. ‘The day could not possibly be finished! Where did everyone go?’
Groggy, he opens his eyes to notice he’s not at work. He’s in a private area that looks like a hospital. It’s full of machines, medical equipment, a large window on the left… and his wife sitting next to him, holding his right hand. He really is in a hospital… yet has no idea how he got there!