At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and that we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money. Our first choice was buying a 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom home on some land. I could smell the luscious trees in the wooded part in the back. The creek would run through and we would relax in the gazebo listening as the water flowed. I could feel the autumn air tickle my toes as I relaxed basking in the sun.
I had tears streaming down my cheeks, I was so elated. Finally, after all these years something amazing would happen to us. It seemed that fortune always hit people on either side of us, but we would somehow miss out on the luck. Finally, it was our turn. He looked at me, smiling, the tiny wrinkle above his eyebrows had smoothed over to the point it was almost gone. In all of the years that I’ve known him, his brows appeared to be furrowed. This is the first time I’ve seen him look genuinely content.
We sat, cuddled up together on the couch as the environmental team was digging in our backyard. We could barely be still, we had so much anticipation for our future. Our bills would be caught up, our parents’ homes would be paid for, everything would be just the way anyone could dream it to be, when the boot stomping on the floor took me out of my trance.
“Mrs. Cooper, we had a look at your discovery out there and unfortunately what you found was not oil.
“It wasn’t?” I asked confused and crushed simultaneously. I was holding my breath trying to catch my bearings.
“No, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It looks as if a sewer line broke and your backyard tends to filling up with raw sewage.” The man clapped his hands together as if he were going to need to brace himself for what was to come. “Unfortunately, because this is hazardous waste, you will need to leave your home. It’s considered unsafe to live in.”
I started to laugh. Of course it was considered unsafe. I glanced at my husband and he looked at me and said, “Go figure, something right seems to finally happen and instead we end up knee deep in piles of @#%!” He shook his head and wrinkled his brow as he added, “I should have been named, Job!”