The realtor said the terra cotta floors once gleamed like wet pinto beans. They moved in and mopped vinegar and soap into the oversize tiles then wrapped his old t-shirts around their fingers and dug into the grout until their hands went numb. They exposed creamy frames around oily red squares. They watched television and ate dinner and commented on the floors without fatigue. They promised to clean them each spring. The first spring they were busy with the garden fence but the second came and they moved the furniture and mopped the floors with vinegar and soap. As for the grout, they agreed its yellowing stripes were close enough before moving the furniture back and going to bed. A baby came and soon he had a brother and when the second boy moved out and they put the house up for sale the squares were the color of mud, the grout a wan grey. When she showed the house, the realtor said the terra cotta floors once gleamed like wet pinto beans.
Jacob Frommer is a current MFA student at the University of New Hampshire. His work has been published in The Forward and on Jewishfiction.net.
I’ve never liked pinto beans all that much, and might rather hope for the patina of a well lived life!