He was the lone human figure on a long stretch of broken up, pot-holed county road that lay flat across farmland whose rows ran to the horizon in every direction.

A hot waft of air lifted a tousle of his wheat-blond hair like a flag and let it float back down as the breeze passed through. The flag  then blended with the rest of the soft, finger-combed, sweat-moistened hair on his head, bouncing as he walked.

A tall man, he strode leaning forward, lifting his knees high and firmly scraping his dusty, edge-worn leather shoes into the gravel of the road’s shoulder, step after step. The soft wrinkles at his brow and corners of his eyes told of an intensity but one that had mellowed some. His gait alone showed he had not given up, but a vacancy in his eyes belied conflict between elements of doubt and blind, dogged faith.

The high sun from the cloudless blue sky burnt the man’s neck and turned his dark blue suit coat into a furnace. He wiped sweat from his face with the back of his right hand as he marched on. Both shoulders and arms were sore, but the left ached more. It held a brown leather suitcase, the weight of which bent the man’s frame as he fought gravity to keep the bag off the road.

He muttered to himself most of the time, not insanely, but as if discussing  solutions to a problem. And for long stretches, he would be silent. But he was most at ease when he sang in a soft baritone.

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5 Responses to Hank

  1. Jerry says:

    Timely. Love the description. Ben…are your writing a novel? I hope so.

  2. benedictj says:

    Thanks, Jerry. Nope, just blogging. Gave up on the novel challenge. In a blogging challenge instead.

  3. Great depiction of southern farmland. Your insight brought me there. Don’t give up on the novel, shoot for a short story if it feels to overwhelming you should share your gift!

  4. Mel says:

    I feel like a spy. Hiding in a nearby tree. Watching this curious stranger passing through. Or is he a common face round these parts? What’s in the bag? The last of his possessions? The bare necessities? Where’s he headed? War? Home? Work? Hank has a story…I’d like to hear it sometime.

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