GENRE: Adult - Fiction
Marcus Abernathy has gone to visit Jessup McTiernan, a farmer who will lose his land within a week under an eminent domain claim. Abernathy was supposed to arrange a settlement between McTiernan and the state, but McTiernan and his wife refused to sell.
No greeting seemed appropriate so he finally settled for “Hey.”
McTiernan grunted and offered the whiskey bottle. Abernathy accepted, settling down on edge of the porch and taking a deep pull. “Look,” he said finally, handing the bottle back. “I am truly sorry for how this all turned out. It’s not what I wanted.”
“I know,” McTiernan said. “Thank you for trying.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, staring off across the gently swaying corn. Cicadas whirred, filling the evening with their hum.
“I wouldn’t want to leave here either,” Abernathy said after a bit, feeling utterly wretched.
“I’m not leaving.”
“Jessup, you don’t have a choice. Think of Amelia and the baby if you won’t think of yourself.”
“You don’t understand,” McTiernan said. “The land is our blood. Without it, we don’t have anything. No family, no home.” He took a long drink from the bottle. “I was born here, did you know that?”
Abernathy shook his head, miserable.
“It’s true. I was born right up there, in the front bedroom. And I buried my dad here after he died. I’m supposed to die here and be buried here and hand this all down to my son. I’m not supposed to end up raising my boy in a rental house in the middle of town and working under a roof all day.”
“I know. It’s horrible.”
“I don’t think you know. I think you want to understand, but I don’t think you do.”