Is it possible to fall asleep while you’re digging a hole? I guess it is. I heard the sharp click of a Zippo lighter and I came back to the now.
Kincaid was leaning against a pine tree, firing up a smoke. The glow of the flame shone on his face and it was a wet mess. His hair was matted to his head like he’d just been caught in a heavy rain. I was about to call him out for being lazy, until I saw his eyes. They looked like melting wax.
He dug about a third of what I’d finished, and I noticed a lot of the dirt he pulled out had sifted back into the hole. Before he snapped the lighter shut, I saw his throat was caked with mud.
I don’t know if I can finish this, Henry, he said. Lord, the amount of dirt it takes to bury a man.
I leaned on my shovel. I didn’t know what to say. You never think a thing is going to be so hard until you start doing it. Then, it just gets harder. I looked at my watch and saw it was twenty to four. It felt like time was sliding by like grease down a drain. We couldn’t afford to take too many breaks, but of course we had to. We were men, not machines, though I wondered about Kincaid. I couldn’t read anything on his face other than exhaustion.
I’ve been in a quiet, contemplative mood all day… not much zip. I’m going on a training course in Georgia for a couple of days next week and I’m apprehensive about it. I don’t like spending that much time away from home (yes, I’ve become quite the homebody these past few years), and leaving my wife by herself… with the chickens, the horse, the cat and the dog. She’s more than capable, of course, but it brings back memories of when we were separated for five weeks… she setting up house here and me still in Canada waiting for all the immigration paperwork to come through.