When the foreman called "Unhook!", Wasyl stood up strait. He turned and gazed, past the other workers heading for food, into the wonderfully, beautiful, sunset, over the seemingly endless over the seemingly endless field of golden wheat. Its dance, in the gentle prairie wind, could hold his attention for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the sweet aroma of beef stew and beans lingered in Wasyl's nose, making his stomach growl like an enraged animal. His hunger caused him to turn and head to the bleak boarding car for a hardy meal. All the starved workers would eat beef stew, pork, beans and a warm biscuit covered in thick maple syrup. They all would wash the tasty meal down with bitter black coffee.
Wasyl sat on the dirty leather seat, alone, at his table. He looked around the crowded boarding car at the animated conversations all around him. One table, at the other end of the car, burst into uncontrolled laughter. Wasyl wished he knew the workers that spoke Ukrainian, like him. He was always so lonesome.
Some of the men finished their meals and headed to the second storey of the car to sleep. Wasyl headed up as well. He sat down on the hard bunk and reached under the lumpy pillow. He felt around for a while, finally coming up with his sock filled with money.
Every night, Wasyl had counted his money, every night. As he reached the last dollar, Wasyl knew he had enough money to make a life for him and his family closer to their small shack. There were only two more days until Friday when all the workers would be paid for their labours. When the workers were paid, Wasyl would have $196.50 for all the gruelling, painful work.
Wasyl hid away his money and lay down on the rock like bunk. He thought about his family as he laid his head on the thin lumpy pillow. As Wasyl drifted off the sleep, his head filled with memories both merry and melancholy.
When the work ended Friday, everyone lined up to receive their pay. Wasyl would receive $10.50 for seven days' work. Wasyl wasted no time after getting his pay. He ate, then grabbed all his belongings and headed home.
The railway team had just passed through Regina, so Wasyl headed east, back along the railway. When he reached Regina, Wasyl looked at prices to hire a wagon, but they were much too expensive for the length of his journey. Wasyl decided he could walk the 160km to his home, although it would take much more time.
The extended walk began immediately after Wasyl's decision to walk. Wasyl walked along the newly built railway as his house was just a few kilometres away from where the railway passed their new town. This strong metal ribbon would not get him lost. The walk was long but beautiful and gave Wasyl lots of quiet time for thinking. Most of the route was lined with row after row, field after field, of corn and golden wheat. There were some farms with animals such as cows or chickens but mostly rows after dancing row of shimmering wheat.
Wasyl's wife was always worried. She always thought he would be coming home. Every day she kept the small hut clean, not a speck of dirt or bit of dust in sight. She wanted everything perfect when her husband came back. She would wear her finest clothes, a beige dress with buttons in the front and puffed sleeves with lace at the end, as often as possible.
Wasyl's wife looked at her kids. They were sitting at the window, staring outside. It was raining, hard and the sky was getting dark. She hoped that wherever her husband was, that he was inside, warm and dry. She went back to keeping the little hut clean. Suddenly she saw her kids perk up.
"Batia!" The children yelled, Ukrainian for "daddy", and ran outside into the rain.
She went to go call after them but saw through the window her husband. She saw him drop what he was carrying and hug them tight. She, slowly, went outside. He looked up and saw her and lets the kids go, motioning for them to go inside. He walks over to her and kisses her more passionately then he ever had. She wants it to last forever but he pulls away slowly and says:
"Ya tebe kokhayu.", "I love you."
Tears of joy fall down her face and as he kisses her again.