He’s building a deck, decking the whole yard, the whole f- yard, he would say, but I’m not talking to him, at least not now, not at this very moment, just watching him prance about, digging holes for the posts, laying the planks out.
“Why don’t we just have a patio?” I said. I don't say it now. I’m quiet now. I said it two weeks ago, before the truck arrived with a million dollars worth of lumber, nails, stuff.
“You exaggerate everything,” he said.
“Somebody has to,” I said. It wasn’t a million dollars. Who has a million dollars, but it was thousands, took two guys an hour—an hour!—to unload it—and who has thousands of dollars?
No answer. He was already digging holes.
So I’m watching from the house as my yard disappears. Will the tulips come up under the deck, thinking there will be light until it’s too late?
And why the whole yard?
“The whole f--- yard,” he says.
The lawn mower is on the front curb. Big sign. FREE.
I pull the shade, can’t watch. There’s a saw going now, wonder what he’s cutting—the lumber or his hand off; the sound is the same.
In case it’s not clear, I don’t want a f--- deck. A little patio, with a table, four chairs, a place for flowers, tulips in spring, marigolds all summer—like we had, except it was grass and no table, no chairs.
We can walk right out the door onto the deck. Our feet will never touch the ground. Nothing to mow. No weeds. Two weeks ago, him smiling as he said it, me pouring the first cup of coffee, no idea what he’s talking about. First I’d heard that he hated grass.
So. We saw a yard once that had been paved. Front and back concrete.
“Now there’s an idea,” he had said and laughed. “Low maintenance.”
“But it’s so ugly,” I said. We both laughed, and held hands. We were young.
I remember that awful yard, those two people—us—walking by, the feel of his soft hand, the one raised eyebrow when he saw that weed-free yard of cement. I remember how cute he was and raise the shade to see him now, an old man, hands gone to calluses, measuring the lumber, cutting the boards, making a beautiful deck, happy to be making a f--- beautiful deck.
I can learn to sit on a deck.
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran