“Missus, can you come down, please?” Abram called from the basement, where he was tiling what would be my new walk-in shower. I walked slowly down the stairs, still partially hobbled by a freak painful injury to my sacroiliac. 

The shower was magnificent: a white marble-looking tile with a pretty strip of blue glass. The floor, made of a mottled rich blue ceramic tile, was partially finished. A strip about 21 inches wide by 56 inches long remained empty, right at the doorway into the bathroom.

“Perfect!” I exclaimed, delighted with his progress and the effect. “So what’s the problem? I love it.”

Abram’s normally cheerful face was drawn and sad, his voice almost a whisper. “The rest of the tile is broken. Two and a half boxes, all broken.”

I stomped out to the area where the boxes of my special order Angela Harris Dunmore Blu 8×8 Ceramic Floor Tile were sitting open. Cracked, jagged pieces of tile were everywhere. Frig! It would take weeks to get the 21 replacement tiles needed to complete the floor. We didn’t have 21 days.

I took Abram’s hand and led him back to the bathroom. “No problem,” I said in my most cheerful voice. “We will buy some local tile that matches the shower tile and pretend that we designed it this way. It is a bathroom. It will work.”

“Oh missus, it is up to you. I do what you want.”

I assured him, “This is what I want.”

Abram left for the day, taking with him a large, handsome recliner I had brought from West Virginia but no longer wanted for the new apartment. He was thrilled. He sent a photo of it to his wife. She was thrilled, and I was delighted to get it out of the way.

My son-in-law came downstairs. “That will look dumb,” he proclaimed upon hearing my solution.  

“It’s only a bathroom. It’s okay.”

“But you’ve put so much effort into choosing everything to be just as you imagined it . . . now that’s ruined.”

At this point in the story, I must interject some context. I was barely up from a week spent flat on my back, unable to drive, and hardly coping with the pain. Whether there was enough tile was completely insignificant. I simply could not worry about the horror of Trump being re-elected, much less tile.

The next morning, I arrived early, before Abram, from my niece’s home, where I’m staying during the renovation. I went down to the boxes of broken tile, hoping to find enough pieces to finish the floor with half tiles. Instead, I found in the rubble the exact number—21—of full tiles needed to complete the job!

When Abram arrived, he was astounded and relieved. He is an artisan, after all, and was heartbroken that the job would be compromised. Before he returned to the bathroom and his tiling, he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a photo of my former recliner. Two small children sat cuddled together in the big chair, large smiles across their faces. That’s when I knew what had transpired between the previous night and the following morning: Karma.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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