Exercise — “I remember”
Clark Wilson, 37, Store Owner, Married
Clark remembers when everything became worth it. When the monotony of everyday finally had value. When work become something more than just the burden of inheritance. It started when he met a tall woman with blondish-brown hair and an addictive smile. Jane painted the colours of his life. Suddenly, stickering nearly expired fruits with sale prices became about giving customers an opportunity rather than throwing out ruined products. All the little things of running a store became… not terrible. There was still struggle. He knew there always would be. There was constant shoplifting, and the water damage from the storm was wretched time. He also had to ask his dad for money. Twice. But Jane gave him a release. Her laughs were like sun-kissed breezes that breathed relief into his soul. For all the worrying and doubting he did — two skills he was well trained in — that first coffee with Jane, as bitter and burnt as it had been, was only the beginning.
Life became a whirlwind, a blur of memories that Clark couldn’t be sure weren’t part of an elaborate dream. It was all too good. The bad parts — of which there were many — simply fell away to be forgotten like dropped ice under the fridge. Then it all happened again. Clark met a new girl, and his soul took its second breath of fresh air. From the day his daughter was born, work evolved into something he thought it could never be. It wasn’t that he got to lock up and go home to her precious smile. It wasn’t even those weekends where he helped her find her wings at the tip of a swing set. No. Clark knew from that day, he was working for her. Even now, as the aging man — balding in a spot he cannot see and worrying about next weeks doctor’s appointment — counted his days earnings, his daughter was always with him. And Clark couldn’t wait for her 13th birthday. A few more memories later she would join him in the painstaking burden of shelf-stacking and fake smiles. What a life he lived.