The sun was struggling to maintain its position on the horizon as Charles finished pounding the last nail. There aren’t enough slabs of tar-backed slabs to properly cover their roof. The roof that will shelter a house of five. Winter is marching this way, and his new network of asphalt shingles may be the only defense his family has against the gods. Life can be strange that way. Then again, we are all strangers in life. That is why we need protection from it. That is why we need shingles. We always need more shingles.
Little Laura, the light of Charles’s life, died when she was two. It was not a surprise to anyone involved, as she was prone to destructive behavior. He cried for three years straight. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. He wanted to build a wall all around her, to protect her from the world. To protect the world from her. To protect her from herself. But it was not meant to be.
Not enough shingles. There never seem to be enough shingles.
The rains will have to be gentle this February. Three patches sit bare. But he figures he can chance it. There is no time to work the required hours to make the required purchase of required shingles to cover the remaining holes above their heads. They will have to huddle, and they will have to work together. Anyone passing beyond that will be cut loose.
He pauses the packing of his meager toolset and remembers Laura. Her brightness. Her ability to see beyond herself. Her ability to see deep beauty in all things she came across. And that brought him to consider her complete inability to judge immediate danger. Her complete lack of street-smarts. The fact that she was devoid of healthy paranoia and the need to watch out for her own protection. The insanity of a two year-old. A two year-old without the benefit of protection. A house without the benefit of shingle protection. A family without the benefit of a protection provider.