They say that a calling is a job you'd do even if you didn't need to work.
I guess we all work for different reasons.
Money, of course. Recognition. Satisfaction? The feeling of helping someone? Raw enjoyment?
Does anyone really enjoy a job so much they'd do it just for that, alone?
I feel like wouldn't call that a job any more.
But what do you call this, then?
It's been three years, you reckon.
You were worried about food, at first, but it turns out the ash is good for growing things. You'll run out of cans eventually, but you think you'll be okay.
It's not that no one notices you, of course. There's not so much to talk about as I'd have expected. The weather's more of a constant drain. But you attempt it, now and again. Sometimes there's a basket of zucchini. Sometimes, you offer water or tea.
You don't try to talk about your work.
It's not that it's private, really.
It's more a habit, a compulsive tick you haven't confronted.
It's not like any of them would try to steal it, or have anything to do with it if they did.
But old burns linger.
Most of the daylight, you're quiet and alone. You tend your plantings, listen to the raw breeze. You take short trips, these days more to know the land than to scavenge. You pump water. You hum half-remembered songs.
And then you go back, to your basement beneath a ruined office building surrounded by gourds and apple trees.
Sit in the dark, there, with your guttering lamplight.
Your dusty, heavy, slightly moldy books.
Your binders and binders of notes.
And write briefs for a shattered court that's been empty and ash for three years.