In the morning, before the sun reached the roof of the trees, the men came for the kitchen floor.
The floor was tiled in white and blue flourishes. Pretty. But it squeaked when a chair was dragged over it and its shiny gloss smudged under the oils of bare feet. The men were here for the floor and they did not care that many years ago, two giddy children picked out the tile because it was pretty.
Even before noon, it was hot. Muggy. Windows were pushed open, but it wasn’t roiling breezes that came into the house. Only stilted air. The air stuck to the skin, even when the skin was drenched with cold water and vigorously toweled dry. Moist, sticky. Everything felt like chewed bubble gum underneath a shoe.
The men worked shirtless, gleaming. Their drills and saws roared over the dog next door who barked wildly at these strange men. They even roared over Mahler’s paunchy symphonies which exploded with sopranos and tenors, the clicking keyboard, and even the large fans attempting to shove the stagnant air into action.
Then the men were gone, leaving only a dusty wood smell promising that they would be back the next day to finish the job. Half of the white kitchen floor was torn away leaving bits of wooden plank and a hole that had the exact width of a dishwasher. Down the hole was concrete and a trickling of light. The basement.