“By being related to you, dick-muncher, I am involved. Mum is going to be so pissed, knowing you’re treating your wife like this!” I screamed back through the wall.
Kent was wide eyed and pale.
Alice responded. “Lori, I love you and appreciate your concern. But butt out.”
What? I gasped.
“Andrew,” Alice directed her attention back to him. “Can we talk? Privately this time.”
“Yeah,” he gruffly responded. “Let’s go for a drive.”
Neither said goodbye or mentioned when they would be back. There was the crunch of gravel under foot, doors slamming and a car driving off.
Kent shook his head. “Totally didn’t expect that.”
“Alice. She got rid of a baby? Why?”
I was revived from my shock by the stupidity of his questioning. “What the fuck do you mean, why?”
“But they’re married.”
“So, she should be forced to have another baby just because they’re married? Abortions are only for unmarried women who end up in a situation? Don’t be a fuckwit.”
“Lori,” Kent’s jaw clenched. “There isn’t a need for you to swear like that at all. Calm down and talk like an adult.”
“Excuse me, I can speak however the fuck I like. I don’t need your permission.” My muscles tightened and I wanted to swing my fist into his glaring and judging face. What right did he have to tell me to stop swearing or to question Alice’s decision to abort something that wasn’t a baby yet, just cells?
“This isn’t about permission,” he spat out. “This is about growing up and controlling the impulse to be rude every five seconds.”
“Take your own advice!”
We stood there for a moment, glaring. Then he turned away and walked. The backdoor to the house slammed. As he walked up the side of the house, I could hear him muttering.
“Fuck you,” I whispered.
My eyes stung and the studs of the walls blurred. Tears spilled over my cheeks, cooling the burning heat there.
Why did he get me so angry?
I gasped for air, a strangled cry coming out at the same time and I dropped to a squat to cry like a kid.
This was so stupid. Everything I tried to do on my own was hijacked by other people with their great ideas and it’s either go with them or forfeit any and all offers of help. If Kent hadn’t come back, then I would’ve had the house to myself to work on. If Andrew hadn’t been a pussy and accepted that his wife controlled her choices for her body, then I wouldn’t have an extension I couldn’t afford.
I would be plodding along doing what I wanted to the house.
And then I would owe Kent and Andrew a fortune in wages… not that we ever agreed to that. And everything would be sweet, no fighting, no more making huge sacrifices.
Oh stop it.
This wallowing is pointless.
I have no right to butt into my brother’s life, I know that.
And they have no right to butt into mine.
Lifting my face, a breeze crossed over me, drying the tears. No, this was my fucking circus to run and fuck it, my monkeys were going to fly. I stood up and started to calculate.
Two more boards and the outside would be cladded.
Electrics first fix-out were finished, same with the plumbing.
That meant we… I could start putting insulation and hanging gyprock. Easier said than done for one person. But, I would manage.
Fixating on a list, I went off to do it. First, finishing the boards outside. It was easier when there were two people holding and one person could zoom up and down nailing it in place.
I extended the ladder and rested the end of the board on it, while I put a temporary nail in place at the other end. Moving to the propping ladder, I adjusted the board and nailed it into place, moving along the length to finish it off.
The last board followed suit.
“Right, I can do this.” And the scary thing was, I felt very settled when I decided to crack on and get it done.
By the end of the day, I was itchy from the insulation I had shoved into the wall cavities. Even through the white sperm suit, gloves, and mask the tiny yellow fibres reached my skin and rubbed. It was worse because I was sweating and the tight gloves and the elastic around the sleeves was pushing the fibres against my skin and possibly even driving them into the pores.
“Fuck.” I ripped everything off and stripped right down to my underwear in the back garden. Snatching up the hose, I drenched my entire body.
“Ahh,” I moaned as the cool water eased the pain. “That’s better.”
The sun was going down and my stomach was growling. “Quitting time,” things had been achieved. The bedrooms were stuffed with insulation, careful to keep clear of the electrical wiring so as not to cause a house fire later on. Four sheets of gyprock were attached to the studs, though they had been the bottom row. I would need extra help for the row on top and for the ceiling.
My arms ached from hauling the sheets and screwing them in place.
Green gloop, the glue that held the sheet to the studs, splattered my boots. I grimaced. Hadn’t I been careful with that shit?
I slipped on another sperm suit and gathered my dirty clothes up. If only I still lived in this house, then I wouldn’t have to go to my mothers, probably have to deal with whatever fall out was coming from Andrew and Kent, and I could have a shower right away.
But I had moved out.
That’s the way it was. “Time to go.” I checked the door was locked and headed to my car. A neighbour across the road tilted her head to the side and considered me for a moment.
I smiled and gave her a nod.