The notice on the musty yellow parchment tacked high on a tree at the end of Isaac’s street was substantially more endearing than the factory it was so graciously advertising. The portrayal on the parchment showed gay factory workers, all smiling, with a light and airy facility.
The mundane and toxic mill he stood in now was unequivocally unrecognizable. Walking through the half ajar door, defeated and petrified faces followed him. Excessively, they examined each part of his arduous body amidst the subtleties of inexplicable and predominant pain. An eye from each direction, warning signs no less, but Isaac was naive and young, his juvenile demeanor appreciated their faces for something intangible and facetious, that no ordinary adult could begin to comprehend.
Once standing inside the warehouse Isaac began to realize his intentions of stepping through that half ajar door were blurry with the hopes of barbaric prosperity. The sight of the machines were infamously gossiped about and were now in his view, not quite an incentive to get excited about, but inarguably intriguing as Isaac’s immediate instinct to an enormous blade was to run up and touch it. The grease and grime coated on the exterior was almost immediately connected in Isaac’s head with a memory of his grandfather when he was just a boy.
He felt irrevocably comfortable having known his grandfather had utilized these tools before, or at least the residue that was emitted from them. The smell engulfed Isaac now, embracing him as their own, already licking his school clothes with grease and entrusting their stains on him. The stares of workers faded as they continued on with their machines. One pair of eyes stayed confidently on Isaac from a hidden room in the back. The strange man had a dim light illuminating his aged face, and he nodded, and Isaac knew to approach him.
Being the courageous boy Isaac was, he was not so much scared as he was thoroughly delighted and fully prepared for his new found love in factory working, or which was realistically, pungent labor. Somehow the grime had traveled it’s way into this man’s office and there it had resided. Nothing about this boxed room was clean. Cobwebs draped similar to curtains from the ceiling. Bottles of beer were strewn about. Pictures, placed so delicately on this man’s three-legged desk, were cracked and broken.
Drops of dried blood speckled the frames onto the desk and sprinkled down to the scratched floor boards. Nevertheless, Isaac was intently waiting for the man to speak, as he had just ushered him in moments ago.
Similar to what Isaac had predicted, the voice was deep and rich, and scratchier in some parts. Anomalously, Isaac often imagined himself with a voice such as this one day. A powerful voice that could easily intimidate anyone who the voice wanted to.
Unfortunately, due to Isaac’s exponential imagination about his own silky pipes, the man had become somewhat unintelligible, and his infuriated temper rose with the negligent boy not listening in front of him. Isaac was asked in a raising tone if he had heard the man, and Isaac immediately responded with a simple yes, and the man said he was to begin tomorrow at dawn. That is odd, Isaac thought.
As Isaac was in the sixth grade and tomorrow was a Thursday, and Thursdays are a day Isaac attends the sixth grade. “That cannot be,” Isaac told the man. And the man told Isaac he was simply done with school, that it was not necessary anymore because Isaac was a man who worked in a factory now. So, jubilantly, Isaac accepted this answer and shook the man’s hand. The gray hairs peeking up through the blonde-do atop the balding man’s head was an indicator to Isaac he was trustworthy and full of wisdom through maturity. This man’s temper was not scarce. Isaac was just a boy anyhow.
Isaac anticipated a thorough demonstration about what he was supposed to execute. Instead, he was escorted to a machine and promised two dollars and fifty cents by the end of the day. During the biased interview, as Isaac had barely spoken, Isaac had only scrutinized the husky voice coming from the tall man in the office. The theory of money was something foreign to Isaac, given that money had not even crossed his mind, incredulously he might add, as he considered it quite the wholesome addition. Isaac did not recognize the task that he was required to perform.
Eventually, after Isaac endured infinite attempts of positioning the rubber sheets through the two metal bars, and praying they turn, he realized what the levers on the opposite surface of the mechanism connects to, and from there, he began shaping rubber. This rendering did not play out without the brutal glances and scowls from other men around the factory. In utter oblivion, Isaac couldn’t care less of their judgmental glares given that they did not once offer to help, therefore, giving them no place in his worries.
Over time, helping the rubber sheets through the bars became considerably boring. Isaac frequently stood at the edge of his machine and gloomily stared out through the door that was almost never shut. Seeing the leaves fall in October was not only the mark of Isaac’s job at one year but also the mark of when Isaac would have started the seventh grade. Isaac greatly missed his classmates, and his sometimes heinous teachers, and, surprisingly, what they taught. Isaac materialized his classroom in his head which was always clean and colorful, this image played regularly in his mind. His classrooms were always vibrant.
The reds and blues of his school started blending in with the charcoal walls of the wooden structure, and he grabbed the machine and grasped where he was standing. He shook his head fast to rid himself of unwanted nostalgia. The faces of his neighboring workers were traced with disgust. He turned away from the heavy man that often snorted in his direction and kept feeding the machine the rubber. The rubber smelled of toxicity. His classroom smelled of english breakfast tea always.
A tall lady walked through the falling leaves and smiled at Isaac as she entered through the ajar door. She was the most beautiful woman Isaac had ever seen. Her blue eyes were magnificent when contrasted with the dull colors of the diluted workers surrounding her. The way the fabric draped her body was something he had never seen before; which was, more simply, the curves of a female body.
He was breath taken by her presence, her standing right there. In reality, she was an average dame. A simple, demure brunette with a somewhat average physique. Isaac was unmistaken about her eyes, however. Her topaz eyes were scarring, searing through anyone who she wanted them to, or easing anyone’s melancholy with a leisurely glance. Making her simplistic figure, unnoticeable. Nothing about her eyes were unavoidable.
All along her arms and on the sides of her face were neat little bruises about the size of a nickel. Isaac had never seen anyone who had been so hurt before, as living in a small town much of nothing happened to anyone. Isaac was determined to investigate and find out what they were from, but distinctly decided to not inquire at first, as it might come off as remarkably rude.
She had a positively vivacious personality, however, and maybe she would be willing to confess about it. As Isaac learned more and more about the Woman With The Bruises he became increasingly more comfortable talking about it. She never revealed much, as Isaac had come fairly close to ripping the bandaid off. However, Isaac picked up on her constant praise of respect.
She never once babbled about anything until she stumbled across the topic of “fine ladies like herself.” She would blab on for hours and hours on end, and they did mind-numbing work with the rubber, and she would blab some more. Isaac would refill the turning metal rod as she would stare at the ceiling and talk some more. Her dainty fingers would fly through the air and spoke often with her hands. Her eyes would light up from stumbling on to a more important topic. Isaac often questioned her sanity.
As the rain cascades, the snow falls, the sun beats down, Isaac never stopped listening to the importance of respecting women. Isaac, being now thirteen was indifferent to this. But a seed was planted, the first seed planted in Isaac’s neutral lifestyle. After that, Isaac always said his pleases and thank yous. And Isaac never touched a girl unless she told him to.
A short walk from his house, and Isaac playfully hopped through the front door of the factory. The outside was just as detrimental as the inside, but, by now, the severity of pity and monotony was his home. Less and less looks of nausea and loathing had been inflicted on him when he entered the factory in the mornings. Isaac began receiving greetings of the hopeful mornings instead.
He sits on his usual wobbly stool and begins arranging the machine to start and listens for the Woman With The Bruises’ new story. Something is off, however, as Isaac springs up instantaneously. A metal chair, where she sits in a white flowy dress is empty, which only the presence in which she left yesterday remains. Impetuously, he runs to the man’s office and alerts him. He is fully aware he says, and encourages Isaac to go back to his station, but Isaac stands at the doorway of the office in disbelief of the downright negligence.
Isaac was frantic. Blood was rushing through his veins, and for the first time he could feel it surging at rapid paces. He could feel the blood move from his toes to his thighs to his arms and the pumping and pumping was pounding in his head. Running so fast at the machine of rubber, he nearly knocked it right on it’s side. An elderly lady Isaac had never regarded before was motioning for him to come towards her. Hesitant, but desperate to understand why the Woman With The Bruises had missed work for the first time in 456 days, he approached her hazel eyes and stepped in the direction of her stringed loom. The woman was almost four times Isaac’s age and plopped him right on her lap as if he was just three. The elderly lady pushed Isaac’s hair back on his head and shut her eyes.
“She just got one too many bruises,” she croaked. She was beginning to cry. But what does that mean? Isaac just did not know. “One too many,” she croaked again and pushed him right off her lap and started with the loom again. He walked back toward his machine, through the empty boxes and broken parts scattered across the floor. Now she was gone and the task of feeding rubber into two bars hours on end only started feeling tedious now. In went the rubber through the bars and out it came. In went the rubber through the bars and out it came. In went the rubber through the bars and out it came. In went the rubber through the bars and out it came.
Days dragged on where Isaac stopped remembering what she looked like. Were her eyes blue or green? He just could not remember, tapping his knee with desperation. And the way her dainty fingers made shapes in the air when she talked stop playing on endless loops in his head. Eventually, a little boy, just a year or two younger than Isaac took her seat. He was not nearly as tall or dainty, but he laughed once or a while with Isaac when the rubber got caught and eventually the other children around the warehouse gathered and talked about their machines or what their school was like or their older sisters and brothers or the new comic.
“Automobile!” Someone was crying and pointing outside. A boy just about Isaac’s age who worked a similar machine was outside, gleefully jumping up and down. “Automobile! Automobile! Automobile!” Everyone quickly rushed from their stations to outside to see the automobile rushing past. The tires were effortless as it rolled by splashing rain water in all directions. Smiles were prominent on each and every face, even the grouchiest. No one had seen the end result before. A rubber sheet that skimmed past Isaac’s fragile hands had been produced into a fully functioning tire attached that automobile just twenty feet from them.
Back inside, yelled at by the man in the office who had taken a nice peek himself, was dubious and feathery. It was drier inside as Isaac and his new friends fed the machine more rubber. The warehouse was elated and thriving. Voices talking all around about the usage of rubber and the way the tires revolved. Everyone awarded themselves with a pat on the back for the tires being just so adept, and maybe they would be fortunate enough one day to purchase their own automobile. A fortunate twinkle in everyone’s eyes. The same twinkle that was in the woman’s. The Woman With The Bruises.