“Who the hell would do this?” She barks at Sam.
They are up to their dusty eyebrows in broken tile, rotting fiberglass and pieces of popcorn ceiling.
He turns and sees that the old towel bar she’s holding sports a large chunk of what used to be their bathroom wall. The massive, chalky piece is clinging to the bar for dear life, no intention of letting go.
“Good Lord, Jill, how about a little less demo? We’re not going for open concept here. Try leaving the wall where it is.”
He’s tired. They both are. She gets it. This reno has been a whole lot more work than they’d bargained for.
“I know, sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose though. The bar was like, Crazy Glued to the wall. There aren’t even any screws here or anything.”
“Idiots,” he says with a sigh. “Why would they do that?”
She finishes her work in silence. They have enough on their plates.
Joe and Barbara turn the key together. They are so excited to own their first home they don’t even notice that the lock is rusty or that the key barely makes it out upon their firm yank.
With the door open, Nathan lets go of Barbara’s other hand and teeters his way down the hall. Barbara, nine months pregnant, waddles after him. Baby number two due any day, her back is sore and she’s more tired than she’s ever been in her life. The move has taken its toll.
Joe wanders from room to room, seemingly over moon, and honestly, he is, but deep down, he’s smothering fear. How is he going to pay for this? He can’t bear to tell Barb there’s been talk of lay-offs at work. This came, of course, after they decided to make baby number two and after they signed the papers for the house.
A year in, they’re barely making ends meet. Joe is laid off. Baby number two is sick. Medical insurance disappears along with Joe’s job. Things in their new old house are falling apart. The roof needs repairing, the electrical has to be rewired, their hot water tank blows.
Fear has triumphed in the struggle and is now smothering them both, so when Nathan accidentally pulls the towel bar off the wall, Barbara quietly glues it back on.
“It’s okay, sweetheart,” she whispers, stroking his soft, pale hair. It’s all better now, don’t worry.”
She doesn’t tell Joe. They have enough on their plates.