As the day wears on, Terrance is working steadily when Eli interrupts, “How do you breathe here without scuba gear?”
Eli wipes the sweat from his face for the hundredth time in the last hour. Terrance carefully lifts the tarp, looks around the cooler and slowly pulls it out. He opens the lid and reveals it’s full of partially melted ice, bottled water and Gatorade.
“I guess they make them fragile up there in the Northwest. Help yourself, if you need more, we can go get some later on.” Eli grabs one of each, opens both, then alternates between the water and Gatorade taking deep gulps of both trying to quench his thirst and replace all the fluids he has lost.
“Talk about making them fragile. You look like a kid scared of a monster under their bed moving that tarp.” Eli looked pretty pleased with himself holding his own with the big man’s ribbing.
“That’s because you reach under things without looking and you’re liable to get bit by a rattlesnake. I should’ve warned you of that from the start. We’ve got a couple different types but the one you especially do not want to cuddle with is the Eastern Diamondback. They’re much less common than they used to be but they do enjoy a nice place to catch some shade, and since humanity hit pause for a while, they’ve been around more in areas that they normally wouldn’t.”
“I’d think a guy your size could just say boo and the snake would slither off crying.” Terrance smiles at him.
“I thought you said there were great schools out there in the Northwest.” His smile turns into a Cheshire grin.
“There are, I never said I went to one.” Eli parlays back, “Can I ask you something?”
“We’ve been through this.”
“Fine, fine, what did you mean when you said you think life is challenge by choice? It’s been challenging for me lately and I sure didn’t feel like it was a choice.”
“There are always going to be challenges. A lot of times you can choose your challenge.”
“How so?” Eli interjects.
Terrance slowly ambles back over towards the work area bringing a Gatorade that he sets by his feet. “Look at how most people eat these days; they eat a bunch of stuff that’s easy. Fast food, processed food, a quick fix. Then they don’t feel good or their kids get sick all the time. Or another example school; that’s not easy paying for college and doing all the work to graduate but it’s not easy to work low-paying jobs and struggle your whole life. It seems to me like a lot of folks would be better off choosing a little more challenge up front for a lot more easy down the road.”
Eli sets an empty water bottle next to the cooler and reaches inside for another water and takes that and his half-full Gatorade back to the work area. Deep in thought, he almost trips on his hammer he had left on the ground.