(Last week: Chartan rescues a woman from an apartment fire triggered by an earthquake.)
In the three months following the earthquake, Chartan made a series of decisions that thrilled his wife. The foundation to his actions was a contract he signed with Sloan that increased his pay by 100 percent. He was now the lead driver, commanding the highest rates from the wealthiest clients who chose Sloan for their transport needs. He’d committed to two years of driving five days per week with Mondays and Tuesdays off.
The added income was spent on a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a four-unit complex by a river with an unobstructed view of the Sierra Mountains in the distance. Jake had his own room. Gina had space to lay out her quilting equipment that had been stored in a closet at their prior apartment. Chartan could now sit at a small desk facing the majestic mountain range.
One evening about a half-hour before sunset, Chartan left the apartment to explore the grassy area that led to the river. He strained to hear the sound of slow moving water passing over rocks. He turned around and looked at their kitchen window where he could see Gina’s profile by the stove. There was one more day of limo work before taking precious two days off–time in which to think.. He sat down facing the mountains.
I’ve never been this unfree in my life. All the material beauty we have is dependent on me working now that Gina stays home full time with Jake. I have no choice but to work. I should be happy that I can provide for my family. I should be pleased that Sloan believes I am some special limo god. The three dead passengers have been forgotten. But I am not free. Those mountain tops are taunting me.
Chartan heard his name. Gina was calling him. Dinner. He shot up and walked back with tears in his eyes.
To be continued next Sunday…