Jim Poket

Charlie felt good. It is his first day of work after eighteen months of hospitals, surgeries and rehabilitation. He reports to the foreman for his assignment. He is to separate the pile of buttons on the bench according to color and place them in the corresponding  colored bins. He maneuvers his joystick wheelchair to his station at  a long bench. There are other stations and other men who have also had their entire lives exploded by IED's.

The fingers of his one remaining hand contort to grasp the buttons as his brain battles to select the correct colored bins to release them into. It takes force times ten of his before bomb effort to complete this task yet the effort is worth it as this gives meaning to his life - to once again be productive. 

The exertion required to accomplish his job keeps the muddled thoughts of the past from entering the minefield of his mind. The fragmented memories of holding his daughter or the sun on the face of the woman who meant the world to him; a woman whose name he can no longer remember, much less say.

As his shift ends he rolls to the van, physically and mentally exhausted yet fulfilled. As the door silently  closes behind his joystick wheelchair the foreman dumps all the buttons out of the bins and back onto the bench so Charlie and his coworkers can be productive again tomorrow.

First published: May, 2010
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