Rory’s Story Cubes Mini-Story #28

RSC 28

Photo by Jennie Coughlin

Alexei watched the bricklayers work on the exterior of the house. For the first time he realized the number of bricks, which would encase the entire structure, must be uncountable. Oh, he suspected Mai’s business manager would know, stickler for details as the Irishwoman was.

He watched the swift, sure movements of each man: “buttering” the brick, slapping down the mortar, setting the brick level with the ledger line, tapping with the trowel to adjust it, scraping the excess mortar away. There was a symmetry and sameness to it, which he found appealing. After all, he’d designed the deck for the house and intended to dig every hole, set every footer, saw every board, hammer every nail. As much as the house was Mai’s gift to the little family they had become by taking in his granddaughter after the death of her mother, the deck would be his marking of territory.

“You want to give a try, fella?” asked one bricklayer. He was Irish, of course.

Would I, Alexei almost blurted, but he said, “If you don’t mind.”

The man’s brogue deepened as he tutored Alexei, and the time it took Alexei to lay a dozen bricks, each of the other men had laid four times that.

If anyone else had ever noticed that section with the dozen slightly off-kilter bricks, no one said anything, but for Alexei every time he set eyes on that one flaw in the sea of perfectly laid bricks, it said home.

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