Break In – Roady Series Episode 34

I hate arriving late on the job. I stand in the doorway of a half finished entrance hall. Before me the orchestrated synchrony of men hanging dry wall, taping, plastering, sanding all going on at once. Conversations fly across the room. Jack focused on applying mud as though he were painting the Mona Lisa. Luke and Ethan are madmen with the screw gun throwing up sheets like they were made of poster board. I’m there a full minute trying to figure out where I fit in the picture when Eugene notices me.
“Nice of you to show up TyRo.”
Don’t know why they all like to call me by that nickname, my first and last name cut short. They say it like it’s a joke. No one knows what’s so funny about it but they all laugh. It’s a ‘you’re one of us’ tease though, so I go with the flow.
“Got here as soon as I could.”
Jerry comes into the room and tells me I’m on helper duty which means I’m everyone’s lackey. Same pay so really I can’t complain and by the end of the day, I’ve earned the gratitude of every man, keeping them supplied and stuff out of their way.
Jerry takes me aside. “If you can stay a couple more hours and get the place tidied up, I’ll pay you for a full day. Some clients are coming by tomorrow morning and I need the place to look organized, like a homeowner’s idea of organized.”
“Sure,” I say. I can’t believe my luck. I was already missing every dollar I lost by starting late.
Jerry tells me to lock up before I go. I don’t even put my ear buds in. The house is quiet save the occasional creak of the new structure. The sound of the broom on the floor, my dusty dry footsteps on the paper mats, the slosh of a bucket of water. These are the comfortable sounds of solitude.
I need this time to think, to consider what Anne told me, what I’m admitting to myself. How could I keep these feelings dormant for so long? Why couldn’t I face that I didn’t want to be with Linda those high school years, that it was Anne who stirred something in me that felt like a secret language, a connection that made me feel like I existed instead of how it was with Linda, swallowed up by her drive to make me be what she wanted.
The sound of tires stopping short in the dirt yard breaks my train of thought. Three doors slam. I go to the window just as Brent and Linda’s two other brothers burst through the door.
Mama was right, I should have watched my step.

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