Corn Field By D.I. Jolly

From the day he was born, Benedict was going to be a farmer. His father had been a farmer, and his father’s father had been a farmer, and so on for as far back as anyone cared to remember. And while he’d love the idea as a child, and tolerated it as a teenager, as he became an adult the prospect of taking over as head of the family became more oppression than opportunity. It wasn’t that he had a song in his heart or wanted to be an actor, he didn’t dream of joining the rat race in the big city. In truth, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, but he knew he didn’t want to be a farmer. But he took his responsibility seriously and the day his father fell ill, he stepped up and took over anyway. And for the next 1287 days, he ran the family farm with drive and dedication, just like his father and his father’s father. Then on the 1288th day, something changed. A small shift within himself that he noticed from the moment he opened his eyes. A small voice that had been there his whole life which he’d managed to ignore now refused to go unheard.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

He slipped out of bed and fell into his morning routine of water, then coffee, then checking on the staff and walking the cornfields. All the while the voice in his head screamed and cried until he turned around and headed back into the house, where his family found him sitting with his head on the kitchen table. He looked older than he had the day before, the lines of his face seemed deeper, his eyes darker and when he spoke his voice had lost its tone.

“I would rather burn the farm down, then spend another moment working it.”

Though flat, his words were absolute and no one even dared speak let along argue. He then rose and began packing what things he had. He didn’t know where he was going, what he was going to do, or how he was going to do it. But he knew he had to do something, anything, else.

When he reached the boundary of the farm, he looked back one last time, one last chance to change his mind but as he stared, he knew that the only thing he’d regret would be staying, or possibly not setting it on fire on his way out. As he turned back toward the road to continue on his way, he could feel life slip back into him. As if every step lifted another weight off of his shoulders and by the time, he reached the nearby town he felt like a new man, different to one he’d ever been before. A man who was excited to be alive, and for the first time looked forward to his life, rather than dreading it.

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