The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (22)

No longer feeling trapped here makes me want to stay. I think of the Christmas tree brought by the Grindermen, decorated with industrial lightbulbs and pieces of dried pulp, the newsprint draped from grinder to grinder, the times of whooping and hollering and singing in the grinderroom. I think of Tiny Beacon and his ex-army hockey-ref gung-ho marching spirit, of the old timers and their bitter sense of the company’s change from a local enterprise to a multinational giant, of the discipline I’ve developed to manage shiftwork, of the intimations I’ve felt on graveyard. But then I remember what the job is doing to our marriage: how it forces me to make demands on Janet that crowd and threaten her, how it takes our space and time, how it’s cut me off from Jonah…and I feel undecided and in need of outside counsel.

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