When the waters first began to rise, there was certainly panic—people hurriedly packed up their baby photos and wedding albums and left town, school after school cancelled classes for the day, then for the entire week, a heavyset woman stood alone outside Wal-Mart in jeans and a yellow tank top and told us all about the coming apocalypse—but after a few weeks of frantic phone calls and soaking men stapling tarps onto slippery rooftops, a sluggish monotony settled over the town, worry slowly having become habit, then eventually disappearing altogether. Children ceased their vigils at living room windows. People returned home, unloading their cars, bent over their boxes to protect them from getting wet. Schools reopened. The heavyset woman never returned. It was the middle of July. We walked around in rubber boots carrying cheap umbrellas. In the evenings, we stayed indoors. The mosquitoes had come out in record numbers. The water, people said, let the bugs reproduce at terrifying speeds. Candles and spray were not enough, so even in the summer heat we covered ourselves in clothing—pullovers, jeans, and some even wearing gloves. To its credit, the rain washed away many distinctions among us. Neighbors got to know neighbors, borrowing tools or helping one another bail water. Strangers stood next to strangers pushing cars across flooded roads and parking lots. The first weeks of the flood, Sally and I followed each other everywhere—to the store, the garage, the bathroom. We would lie in bed together listening to the rush of water against the roof. “It sounds like it’s stopping,” one of us would say. By the end, I worked longer hours than usual and was gone sometimes days at a time, immersing myself in the job. Sally stayed home eating microwave dinners, the water-logged bird feeders swaying in the trees outside the window like miniature corpses.