waiting somewhere for him to get off work. Mostly she’d
pace up and down on the other side of the street from the
building site. Or even along the perimeter, right outside the
chain-link fence. Though there was no path, just mounds of
earth dumped there for the purposes of the site. She just
walked back and forth on those mounds, sometimes
holding on to the fence. When she saw him coming she’d
run so fast her braid would bounce up and down.
Sometimes she’d take off her shoes and run barefoot so she
wouldn’t miss him. If it was too far to go around by the
gate, she’d squeeze through the nearest hole in the fence.
There were all kinds of holes, people used them to thieve
things from the site.
However long it took him to get off work, she’d wait.
Everyone knows you can’t always clock off at the time
you’re supposed to. All the more so on a building site like
that, especially when you’re behind schedule. Plus, they
were on a foreign contract. We weren’t, but even in our
case you rarely got off when you were meant to. When
things really fell behind, no one counted the hours.
She waited even when it was raining. She got herself a little
umbrella, or perhaps he bought it for her. And even when it
was pouring she’d wait under her umbrella. Or by a wall
under the eaves, or in the watchman’s hut by the gate when
the rain was really heavy. You’d sometimes see her in the
library too. I’d go there to get something to read, and here
I’d see her at a table by the window with a book, and the