Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Afterglow of a Patio

(Hardly hopscotch, more like a game of chess.)

It's funny to think about, but I lived in a space the size of this 500 sf patio in London. I was 23 and things like lumpy beds, shared kitchens, and cubbyhole-sized bathrooms did not phase me. I was too busy reading Oscar Wilde, feeling so glamorous in his words that I never noticed the shabbiness around me.

Five hundred square feet is a lot of space to fill with stone though. In this case, we hauled stone, shoveled dirt, and set stones with the help of three friends over the course of a weekend. Then on Sunday, when our shaky arms and legs could take no more, we declared the patio part of the project complete. It happened fast.

As I hunched over the earth collecting small stones to fill the gaps between larger ones, a rush of warmth, the kind I'd feel when my sister would brush my hair, came over me. On this very ground, all our closest friends and family would be gathering to celebrate our partnership.

I also thought, too, of the patio that inspired the patio I was standing on. The other I never had the opportunity to experience completed. When I left, it was only partially finished, surrounded with summer blooms and long grasses. It became a quiet metaphor for unrequited love and left a heavy mark on my heart and aspirations. I moved on, but still I dreamed of that patio.

Whether it is a job in a museum (got it) or bookstore (got it) or a piece of chocolate (got it many times over), my heart gets what it wants. I've always believed this and I believe it now even more than ever. It's the same with the patio, and although it took a little inspiration and cajoling on my part, Chris and I can stand on it at the end of the day and commend our work together.

Oddly, I have never addressed the patio space in the course of BPFASH, and I believe some background information on their history would be helpful. However, for now, I'm still soaking in the aftermath of completing something we set out to do, and recovering -- I'll admit -- from it.

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