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Construction

A new bridge, deep in the county, would complete the beltway. The crew arrived a few hours after sunset to remove the forms from the second pair of columns on the bank. The river had burst its banks that day, and though the columns themselves were dry and the crane was safe, a finisher was sent out to check their materials. He followed the edge of the river, from the sand grooved with caterpillar tracks to the grass beyond the floodlights. His footsteps there disturbed a heron, wading between the loblolly pines. It flew out towards a small boat anchored near the opposite bank. A lantern hung from its bow. The finisher walked on. Shouts and cries reached him from the site, but he did not look back; he could guess what they were. For the past few months his wife had been arriving unannounced to his jobs and just generally being a nuisance. Luckily everyone on the crew had some sympathy for her. They found her this night standing atop one of the columns they had already put in. She was fourteen feet up, and she wore a wedding dress. Its muddied skirt belled out around the column, and huge puffs of pearl white fabric ballooned from her shoulders. Her veil was up, but her face was dark, reaching just past the halo of the floodlights. The men below pleaded with her to come down, but she spoke over them, intoning a long stream of babble towards the river. One of the crew shouted, Stop! Stop!” as he saw her wind her bouquet back in one hand. He ran for a tarp, and others lifted a ladder to her feet. But she kicked it away. Her husband meanwhile focused on the water. He had come to the cages of rebar lying on their sides and saw indeed that one of them just touched the river. The pallet too on which they stacked their bags of cement had partially disappeared. It would all have to move. He turned to tell his foreman, and as he did, he saw the small boat from the opposite bank now anchored at his side. The trees obscured whoever was there, but he could see the lantern switch off and two arms draping themselves in a long material. A swift toss, and a net unfurled in the air, flying towards the new shallows lit up by the site.

Jonathan Tuttle

IG: @jontuttle

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