Darkness falls on four workers, unearthing dirt metronomically while shivering and sweating, only twenty-five years between them.
The rhythm breaks.
“I’m tired,” the youngest says.
“This is boring,” the blond one says.
“It’ll pay off,” says the tallest.
The other continues to dig, ignoring the numbness taking over her fingers and the screaming of her muscles as they push the shovel into the ground, lift, dump, and repeat.
The rhythm returns, and the cicadas improvise a melody.
“Time to come in,” a voice calls from across the grass.
The workers drop their shovels, smiling and huffing warm breath into their icy hands. They run, despite their weariness, in anticipation of the heat creeping out the open door, ready to embrace their goosebumpy skin.
Before stepping inside, the tallest looks back out to where their shovels glint under the stars and thinks, What a mess we made of Mom’s garden.