An excerpt from Eighty Days of Sunlight, by Robert Yune | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

An excerpt from Eighty Days of Sunlight, by Robert Yune

Narrator Jason Han describes his last day at the paperback-book factory

The shift I worked after that long walk was one of the worst. It's amazing what people can get used to. I could suddenly feel my cells and organs dying as the seconds ticked away. It wasn't really a decision for this to be my final shift down at Tower — I absolutely couldn't stay any longer. But I would finish out the goddamned shift. I thought about my father, working beside me like a ghost. I wondered when he realized that this is all there was for him. I wondered when he'd given it up. It struck me that I hadn't thought about him for so long. Force of habit, I guess. But I would feel it like an ache in my forearms and spine: the exhaustion that comes with factory work, the eternal insomnia that accompanies the midnight shift. I wouldn't want the last thing I breathed to be oil-soaked paper dust, industrial glue, potato chips, and farts. In the end, it must have seemed to my father that the only control he had was to choose his method and time of death. At 7:30 AM, I swept the area clean. I had to leave, but I forced myself to stay for one last ritual.