The sun would come up to shine down again onto the dusty job site, illuminating the unfinished parking lot and gym structure. As the morning light finally made its way through the unpatched drywall and door frame, Frankie stopped sweeping a moment to clear the dust from his eyes. Leaning on his broom he spoke to me about God, about his family he hadn’t seen since he was 16, and about the opportunities he missed while he was still doing drugs. Finally ending the short narrative of his life for the fifth time that month he looked me in the eye and told me, “You have it made Mike, you didn’t screw up so don’t screw up now… You’ll have success bud, I know you will.” I always use to ask Frankie what he wanted to be one day when he didn’t have to work construction, answering to the whims of foreman and bearded contractors, but the truth was that Frankie was already 45. The knowledge of his age always startled me, and Frankie had always addressed me, until this moment, as if I was the older man. Frankie’s typical reply to my question was always the same, “I can’t afford dreams like that anymore Mike, Maybe I can hope for a 30,000 dollar a year job with health benefits, but I can never afford dreams like yours.” Frankie would never visit Paris or see the Louvre, never tour the Met, never walk in Saint Steven’s green or stare into the Elgin marbles. The Colosseum, Egypt, and the mysteries of far off places would always be just that… Far, and across the Ocean. He would never have a house to call his own. No fireplace, or hardwood furniture. Never coach his sons little league team or retire in the mountains. He would only work, from 5 am to 3. He would never dream, for dreams were to expensive. And in the depression of it all Frankie would never say a word towards his misery. No, to Frankie he was quiet happy, and what he did not know did not hurt him, so he would continue on. Taking the bus to work, and folding his money under his un-box-springed mattress against the wall every night. I admired Frankie, in some small way I felt ashamed around Frankie. I worked construction in the mornings before my college classes would start. To me it was an after thought, a thing I did to make cash in-between classes, coffee, books, and studying. For Frankie it was life, it was struggle, it was survival, and as literally as I can put it, and in the least cliche way possible, no work meant no food, and so Frankie would work. Sundays, overtime, anytime he could, and the most admirable part of it all was that he never complained, he was never bitter, and never without a kind word. There’s this movie I love that says something like “He was the kind of man that said good morning and meant it.” and Frankie meant it… The sun would continue to rise above the door frame, shrouding the room once again in pale fading light, the buses engines would squeak in disapproval, and the dark smell of asphalt and dirt reigned as always.