In the shadow of the factory

The bus slowed, a large yellow fish in a sea of concrete. Shadows dappled the cracked asphalt, lengthening as the sun stretched lazily.

“Driver…. Er…. Mr. Ben, have you had chapati?” The little girl’s wide eyes gleamed with anticipation. “My mom makes the best chapati, just like when we were in Congo.”

“Yes, that is one of my favorite breads. I have had it before too, even when I was your age.”

“How old are you?”

“24.”

“Wow…” The girl trailed off, looking to her right as the darkness passed over her face, plunging the school bus into a dim world under the shadow of the factory.

“We’re here.”

“Thank you, Mr. Ben!”

The girl jumped to the front of the bus and hopped down the steps as the hiss of the doors sounded the freedom of home. Ben smiled nervously and looked at his watch. 20 minutes late. This stop was not on his schedule. He sighed and glanced back out the window. She would most likely be opening her front door and slinging off her backpack, ducking under the TV screen as her parents scolded her for being late. His gaze met something very different.

The girl was running down the street, jumping over the gaps in the asphalt with her eyes fixed straight ahead. She jumped, but did not come down. The giant arms of her father lifted her into space. A pillar. A Rock.

As he rose he looked through the bus window and met Ben’s eyes. He smiled gently. Waved. Satisfaction. His daughter was home.

Ben broke his gaze and put his foot on the gas. These tiny homes could barely be called apartments. How many people lived there? Did the noise keep them up at night? Did the natural darkness of evening never fully exist underneath the glare of the factory? A tear surfaced and he wiped it away. The man and his daughter seemed so happy. Genuinely joyful, with what seemed like so little.

Wealth means many different things. Invest in what matters.

Photo by Alexander Tsang on Unsplash

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