Day 9 – The Contractor

The house was finally perfect. It had taken weeks of painstakingly doing and re-doing, but Jonah breathed a sigh of relief. It was finally done.

            He’d taken the remodeling contract with the knowledge that it wasn’t going to be his easiest job. From the first moment of walking into Ms. Naylor’s house, he could tell, just looking. And listening to her. She wanted her bathroom redone – “In the style of a sunken, Atlantean ruin, covered with rustic treasure.” But she wasn’t sure of what that might entail, design-wise – “That’s your job, isn’t it?” His best guess was… greens? “No, no, that isn’t it at all. You’re not listening to me.”

            She said that a lot. No matter what he said or asked, she would just scowl – “No, just listen. Listen to me for once. It should be like this…” It got to the point where he wondered if maybe he actually wasn’t listening. Maybe she wasn’t just repeating contradictory nonsense.

            Once he actually started the work, it only got worse. Jonah would spend all day tearing out the fixtures, and she’d complain when she got off work – “My house is a wreck!” Then she started coming home at lunches – “Why’s there plastic sheeting all the way from my door to my bathroom?” And after she was sure the project should have been done already, she started staying home all day – “I know you made that estimate longer than it needed to be. That’s how you people do it.”

            She’d insisted that, without her nagging, the project would never have gotten done at all, let alone the right way. In the end, she had become an integral part of the finished product, her self poured into every small space. You could see her presence inside the walls as he was putting on the last touches. Jonah took a moment before fixing the final tile in place to appreciate the look on her face. The same look she’d had as he drove the trowel into her forehead. And it wasn’t a disapproving look. Jonah knew it was one of shock that he’d finally been able to do it – “I can’t believe it. The room is perfect.”

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