Wednesday, August 12, 2009
BUG LIFE: AN ENDING
oil on linen
Been thinking a lot about endings. Surprise! Still, not all endings are bad are they? I'm always happy when the dentist is finished. All change doesn't have to be negative, although it might seem like anything but in the beginning. One can employ bumper sticker wisdom to any seeming changes...this too shall pass...when one door closes, another opens...the light at the end of the tunnel is really another train...it gets darkest just before it turns completely black and so forth.
Why? Why do things have to change? If reality is different for everyone, how can it be reality? What if we're making all this up? What if this is the most intense practical joke ever and we're playing it on ourselves?
When my trial marriage ended, I was devastated. It wasn't a good marriage. I'll be forever grateful trial husband had the courage to leave. It was exactly the hatchet to the forehead the universe knew I needed. I saw, in time, that it was a good ending after all. He was too young, I was too crazy. He was a good guy except he thought he could do anything without benefit of instruction or knowledge, which presented, as you may imagine, quite a unique set of challenges. What follows is one of my favorites.
We had an above ground pool installed our first year in the house. I didn't care if it was a kiddy pool, as long as it was a body of water I could spend time in. (Jaws had all but ruined paddling about in the ocean without a care.) My trial husband decided to build a deck for the pool. I busied myself in the house. He was very fixed to traditional roles. Me housewife, you cut the lawn type of thing. Each time I'd stop to check on his progress I'd notice our neighbor was watching him as he worked. He looked amused. I wasn't surprised. Fred was one of those extreme handy guys. The wife would go on a weekend business trip and come home to a fully completed, furnished loft in the top floor of her home. Sick little carpenter he was. Anyway, as the deck reached completion, I decided to go out to see if I could help in any way. As I slid the door shut, I noticed Fred was beckoning us over to the fence with his finger crooked, much like a knowing parent calling a naughty child.
"Good job! Real good job." He paused and savored the moment. "Any thoughts on how you might move that thing over there, next to the pool?"
My heart sank. We all turned our heads—my bro and his wife were over for the weekend— and sized up the deck. It was nice. It was finished. It was also sitting in the middle of our rather large backyard, more than 45 feet from the pool! No one said a word. We all wanted to blame Trial Husband, but not one of us noticed the problem, huge though it was!
We all got together and eventually moved the thing. It was like moving a rickety, unmanageable, lop-sided mountain. It was dark before we finished. When we were done, we all fell into the couches in the den, exhausted. After a few minutes of complete silence, my brother stood up and asked where the flashlight was. Why we wondered, did he need one? "Because," he said, "I think I lost something out there. It's round, and it's small and I used to have two!"
We dissolved into laughter. And the next day, our struggle and pain was forgotten as we sat on the rickety, lopsided mountain and enjoyed the pool.