Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In the Rough

Whatever had possessed her?

She pushed aside the plaid cotton curtain that concealed the empty space underneath her kitchen sink.  The light was dim, and the space offered little more than elbow room in which to work. She’d expected that.  But it was filthy too. Since moving in, she had yet to sweep here. Still, judging from the thick layer of powdery dirt, years, possibly decades had passed since the old linoleum had felt the touch of a broom.

She took a careful breath, sized up her task, and picked up her new pipe wrench.  It felt heavy and awkward in her hand.  Balancing a small black flashlight atop a box of saltine crackers, she hunched over to make her five foot nine inch frame as compact as possible, and guided by the narrow beam of light, leaned forward to fit the loosened  jaw of the wrench around the pipe, and gave a tug.

Crumbling, more than yielding, the pipe fell to pieces, disgorging  a  mix of water and sludge down her arm.  And once again, second thoughts made her second guess the wisdom of her decision-taking on this fixer upper of an ancient, ungracefully aging house.

Yes, whatever had possessed her?

She straightened her back, smoothed a stray wisp of hair with her clean hand, and  looked again at the wreckage of pipe and water, dust and sludge.

And then she saw the diamond ring.


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