Negotiable Gravity


Everyday, on my way to work, I stop by to imagine progress on the house. I stay out of the way. I park at the curb and stand barely at the edge of the reseeded grass. Above me, thirty or forty feet, workmen might be framing a closet. Sheetrock mechanics might be filling in the living room, trim carpenters might be running chair molding along a fresh wall. General laborers gather waste, sweep up abandoned nails or screws or stripped wire, dropping out of an open door or space where a door will be eventually hung, or a window cut or an actually open window. Aerodynamically challenged items plummet immediately the dozens of feet to the ground; more air embracing trash flutters and slides along atmospheric mock highways, landing all about the yard and occasionally the street or in a soon-to-be-neighbor’s flowerbed.


I come every workday morning, watch, if I am lucky to catch it, windows and appliances and pre-hung doors materialize above the house and be drawn professionally into place. Workmen of all skills flitter about getting everything into place. I hold back my curiousity to walk under the house, inspect the understructure, move to the back and mutter how intricate the rear of the house is.


I never overstay. I have to get to work on time, cheerily go about my assignments. No time to lose this job now. It is going to cost me a fortune to direct enough gravity be pumped in to get the house close enough to ground that a good ladder will allow access. And then, installment after installment until at last the house settles squat on the glorious ground, the ladder discarded sideways in the yard, rusting or rotting, whichever.


I would not want anyone else to use that second-hand ladder, even though its well-worn rungs might still, with care, remain serviceable. I have gravity now, and bad memories of climbing hand over hand just to be home. Bad ladder.


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