His ancient eyes carefully surveyed the freshly painted thick white line as it shone brightly in the earliest morning hours. He sat on a large machine that made wide turns in a spectacular fashion and purred like a kitten, a quite incongruous sensation when seen and heard at the same time. But he had a job to do, one that he had done more times than even he could remember, which was also part of the reason why he studied that white line for so long. Reputation was a very important thing in his business, in any business really, but painting those lines, it was all he had ever known.
He remembered going out with his father on weekday mornings before tea time, when only the crows would be out, dancing on telephone wires and watching them with those spectacle eyes. His dad would open the large shed, that reminded him of a barn with its massive size, and back out the industrial-sized lawn mower. Ironically, what he recalled most about that behemoth was the name on its side, KAT. He wondered why they would have misspelled the word “cat” but he kept it to himself. The older man would sit him up on the top of the mower with his colossal hands until he could feel its vibrations. They made him have to pee, but he kept that to himself as well.
Every day was the same routine, too, for the man who could rival Paul Bunyan and his young son who had no one else, so he would cling to those moments for the rest of his life. When his father became too old to mow the grass as close as it needed to be anymore, he passed the job along to the wide-eyed boy who was no longer a mere boy by then. He had grown into a young man with the hint of stubble on his jaw and an interrupted university education in his back pocket. There was so much that young man could have done with his life, but he knew nothing else.
And it became the perfect homage to the man who used to break the rules to bring him to work, a way to say thank you for everything he had taught and passed on through the years. Then, when his father inevitably passed away quietly in his sleep on his ninetieth birthday, the boy who had become a man recognized him one last time by mowing in the twilight hour, shaving the grass as close as a razor blade without even adjusting it. Some lessons are taught in school by professors, but others are learned in the shadows of real life. The man cried tears of nostalgia and understanding on that bright green lawn in the pouring rain, and his tears seeped into the earth.
Then through the course of years, that man grew old himself, and he continued to take pride in his occupation, mowing that grass oh so close, and painting those stark white contrasting lines. But time waits for no one, and it took away a lot of the precision he used to have. Most of his time was spent checking and re-checking what he had taken for granted before, and he knew the endless days were coming to an end. He only hoped someone would be there, when his time came, to mow that grass for him, and to paint those perfect lines, as he had done for his father before. Then he could close his eyes, content at last.