by Dan Sanders
The plastic got beat up in the storm and now it breathes in and out of empty window frames. Flaps until its full, then fat for a moment before letting out in a heave, the bottom goes over the sill and swings out over three stories tall and then pulls back in, slaps against the block wall and pulls back into the building. In and out, over and over, persistent and alive.
The mornings are nice. Calm. There’s time to wipe the fog from the windshield before the electricians show up, flip all the switches and turn everything on, before the machines get moving, and the place gets busy.
Once the windows go in I’ll have to try to sleep in there. The car is colder than I figured it would be. I think we install the windows on Thursday and it’s supposed to snow this weekend. I thought it would be warmer. Great commute but I thought it would be warmer. First one here, last one to leave. The boss loves me but I thought it would be warmer. It’s hard to get moving in the morning and this is how it goes for the first half hour or so, breathing into my hands, shivering, and thinking about how wrong I am about obvious things.
Windows are more dense and heavy than I thought. I never knew that. Never knew the windows in a building were so solid, almost structural. They’re made to move and open, you know, doesn’t seem like it should make sense. I dropped one two weeks ago, while we were unloading and my foot is mostly back together. The window and building were fine. They lay in stacks now, waiting. Warmer to the touch, just laying there, even. They call it glazing, though, not windows. Glazing. Sounds nice, light. I drive and live in a Mercury. I got it for free years ago and it’s probably never going to move again from where it’s parked.
Guy told me it’s the casing. Glazing casing. “It’s all metal.” And hit his head with his fist like he said mental, or that his head was metal, or that I was dumb for not knowing and had no brains. I don’t know which. I think he meant to make it like a joke, but I couldn’t piece it together. I don’t know if he knew what he was saying either, it’s not a subtle place here, everyone is shouting and trying to talk quickly to get the job done so they can go get warm and everyone has hearing damage. It’s a mess. It’s almost finished now but it’s a mess. Anyway, I think he’s wrong, either way.
Before everyone, though, its nice; sunrise, there’s frost on what’s left of the grass we haven’t run over. That plastic sheeting flaps and marks time. Even the garbage, chip bags and drink bottles from lunch, rolls around the frozen dirt and it’s soothing somehow that it’ll just get buried there and paved over, part of the building. Not trash anymore, but structural.
Probably half the guys know I’m here, know that I’m not leaving. They let me alone with it, figure it’s temporary and something my wife did rather than the reverse. Doesn’t matter at this point, praying to upgrade my life to an unfinished building and it’s a mess but it’s almost finished and that’s fine.
The hardest part is waiting for the coffee truck. Last week he was late, a few days after the weather started getting more serious and my situation more permanent and I almost got in a fistfight with the coffee guy. If you wonder how life works, go to a construction site and watch a half-dead guy yell about the coffee truck for being late or early or whatever else. I felt bad though, most guys don’t feel bad.
I gave the guy a five dollar tip the next day. It could have been more. If the windows don’t go in this week maybe I’ll leave him whatever is left over, leave another envelope the glove box and make it even. Let it all blow off behind me into the frost and make it level.