The Cycle of Loneliness

Pen-and-notebook-png-clip-artby Itai Liberman16 May 2020

4:50 AM, The sun was hiding behind the bright blue sky of late twilight. At the same time, Cobb Stone was carrying boxes of fruit and vegetables from his Toyota to his shop, "Cobb's Fresh," in a small street in Los Angeles. He had been carrying around boxes for the past 40 years, and a closer look on his broad shoulders and masculine body could easily expose that fact. He had a strong and serious face with hints of old-age wrinkles. Today is no special, Cobb taught and started organizing pears and oranges in place, whistling an ancient melody. At the same time, a young man was sitting on an old couch inside the shop. Though "sitting" might not be very accurate. With his legs on top and a pillow beneath his head, he enjoyed an early morning nap. If someone were to walk into the store, he'd be surprised to see a tall young man sleeping on the couch upside-down. But the street was silent sleep, and the front door was close shut. Then, a loud voice pierced the silence: "Lehm, get your lazy arse over here!" Cobb yelled at him, waking up the young man. "That poor boy, after the death of his mother, nothing was the same for him anymore," Cobb thought.

With Lehm's help, they opened the shop at 6:00 AM as they usually do. The first customer of the day was miss Pitch, who bought five kilos of tomatoes and seven kilos of pistachio nuts. "pack 'em all in one bag, would you, and how much is this?" Miss Pitch asked with a sharp, high tone. "Ten US dollars, but for you, I'll make it nine," Lehm said with a playful smile and accepted the payment. Lehm was a tall and handsome man with strong face lines, blue eyes, and a wooden brown hair in a military haircut. The day went by without any significant events. When evening arrived, Cobb closed the shop, and Lehm cleaned up and counted the cash. The days went by, and the two merged themselves in work, completely ignoring any other aspects of life. The next day, one of the clients showed Cobb a newspaper article about a plague in China that was spreading too fast, but he didn't care much. "This plague sounds like some government experience that went wrong," Cobb said, "I don't think it'll become anything major."

At the same time, someone from china took off to the United States, carrying another passenger so small that the naked eye cannot see. The day after, a reporter in Washington covered a story about people dying and getting hospitalized from what seems like a simple flue. Then a reporter in Canada reported the same. Soon enough, the situation exploded, and the plague expanded to all of the United States of America. Cobb and Lehm noticed that people were not living their homes anymore, and sales were decreasing. Out of worry, Cobb bought a newspaper. The world's biggest modern plague is out, STAY at home, and be safe! The title screamed at Cobb.

A month has passed, and Cobb's Fresh was utterly empty of costumers. Things were starting to get worse; Lehm suggested to start doing deliveries, but soon the idea fails. Alone, deep in thought, the two men were forced to think about their life. The work was no longer able to take the burden off of them anymore. That night, Lehm had a dream about his father, lost in the sea on some boat trying to forget about his dead wife and son. Lehm's mother's death caused his father to merge in his fishing work and ignored him completely. If it wasn't for Cobb, Lehm would've been dead or locked up. Luckily for him, Cobb saw the sharp, hard-working man Lehm was and took him under his wings.

A month has passed, and with a mountain of bills that have gathered at Cobb's Fresh – something must change. A newspaper message about food trucks caught Cobb's eyes. "This might be our solution for the situation," Cobb thought and ordered a medium-size truck. Slowly but safely, Cobb and Lehm transformed the truck into a fully functional shop on wheels. Their journey has officially started. First, they went to gather supplies: Tomatoes, peaches, dried fish, paprika, salt and paper, garlic and more. The list was long. When they got to the fish market, a ship docked with fresh fish. There was a man on the ship.

The man had a strong face, and a muscular body. The man was Lehm's father. Nervously the large man tried to hide behind Cobb's figure, without much success. The two met after more than two years of being apart, lonely than ever. 20 kilos of fish and a cup of coffee were no near enough to saw their relationship, but something spiked in their heart. Cobb noticed the spike, and decided to start a fire, "Why don't you join us to our food truck journey? A fisherman like you is likely to know the prices of things, and seeing your marketing abilities, you'd be a great seller," Cobb asked, breaking the silence.

With a heavy load of fish and a new crew member, the three entered the truck. The journey was long and full. Cobb and Lehm had gotten to know themselves better. Lehm's father finally accepted his wife's death and became the father Lehm so miserably missed, and things have changed. Work became a small part of their everyday routine, and now most of their time was spent socializing, meditating, deep in thoughts, and alive.

The end.