Deep Roots

‘You two are an insistent pair aren’t ya? I don’t need no darn help. This is where I am. Made camp here over seventy years ago and I aint moved since. Built my house here and it stood for just as long. Met my wife, rest her soul, down that there road before it was hard and grey. I seen as many sun rises as y’all probably had breaths. I was here in the beginning and I’ll stay till the end.’ He watched them. ‘Go on, sit. A fire is to be shared.’

The two of them sat and offered some hot soup to the old man. ‘Mighty kind of you.’ He held it close to his chest before lifting it to his bristled lips. Above them, the monolithic bridge held strong as a freight train trampled across endlessly. Down the road from where they huddled around the fire, large industrial warehouses stood against satellite stars half hidden by man-made cloud. The old man placed a cigarette in his mouth. ‘Aint leavin. Cant leave everything just like that. She wou – Mary, she -’ He looked at the two across the fire and spat. ‘Aint leavin.’

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