Almost done now. Only a few more strips and it'll all be done. I'm laying back in the dirt, resting among the filth after a moment of wrestling myself out from under the tub drain.
"Are you dead?"
I squint through the dust dancing around the work light and can make out his silhouette - there at the bottom of the warped stairs.
"Maybe," I tell him, lifting up the glasses so I can see him better. They're covered with insulation dust and condensation. I wipe them with a dirty glove, smearing the mess against the frames and putting them back on.
"You're so sexy right now," he says and I just lay there until he goes away.
Of course I am. What's sexier than a wife who handles the crap jobs like a man? What's sexier than a fourth time in the earth because he still won't grow a pair? This is the longest, stupidest job in the whole world!
I refill the staple gun twice. Then it jams. I switch to the other one. The older one. The one without the friendly ergonomic handle. Are you kidding me? I'm already exhausted and this one requires me to use two hands in order to sink each staple into the stud. I am grunting. I am sweating. Tears are leaking out the side of my eyes because the glasses slipped and my eyeballs are being assaulted by tiny shards of glass. I am puffing out annoyed boils of air and finally I'm bracing my feet against a stud to put enough force behind my two-handed stapling. ENOUGH!
I am birthed from the earth, a heaving zombie wishing I knew how to hate him. When I blow my nose, all that comes out is dirt. I stand in the shower, back aching, steam rising, coils of dirt swirling around the drain...
And it's not even done yet - that stupid, impossible gun jammed too and I just threw in the the dirt and gave up because I was pretty sure I was becoming asthmatic there in the pit and it was already past five o'clock and nobody else makes dinner around here...
Maybe it was guilt. Maybe it was the image of me lying in that grave. Maybe it had nothing to do with it. But I come home from work the next day and he's IN THE KITCHEN DOING THE DISHES. WASHING AND DRYING AND PUTTING AWAY! Be still my beating heart.
The camera flashes and he glances up..."Hon!"
"What?" I say, "It's for your own good."
"Why? Proof that I'm not a horrible husband?"
"Something like that..." Because the truth is, no one would ever believe me - Scott Rusnak washing the dishes? Not likely.
He could have brought me chocolates but that would just make me fat. Truth is, the only thing I wanted to do at that moment was hire a babysitter...