Almost done with the deck now. The worst of the cracked and rotted boards have been replaced. They sit on the temporarily relocated deck table in the northeast corner of the yard casting long shadows in the late afternoon sun. Some of boards’ ends arch up at the sky like old fashioned cartoon skis.
Got all the rails and the posts under them done yesterday. That took up a gallon; so many damn skinny posts. I went for another gallon today, but we ran through that, too. Going to need another one to finish feeding this monster.
I have learned that this is the thing with wood: it swallows paint. Like it knows we’re trying to change it. Maybe this is where the ghosts of the previous owners make their last stand.
I admire these stubborn boards. I don’t like being prettied up either. I grumble at change. I creak. So maybe it’s just having a drink before the pretty party. Taking the edge off. It’s an alcoholic going on a final drinking binge. A painted oblivion. Lying out here behind the house, drying, creaking, cragging its edges up. Cutting and splintering. Taking a nice chunk of my right pointer finger. I’m letting it scar. It’s best to respect the deck. It took its flesh fair and square. A lil thin string of Cuban for about 130 feet of wood.
I remember the first time we saw this house and the realtor gave us a tour. I remember a child’s things in the back yard. A plastic Playskool playhouse and assorted dolls and a toy shopping cart. That playhouse was still there when we skulked through the alley in Elaine’s car later on, peeking at life in a home we thought we’d never live in. I was a little surprised the playhouse was there. I was sure the realtor put it there to sucker in anyone with kids. But I never thought about the darkness of the deck. That faded blue jean deck that seemed like a cowboy’s best friend.
Wasps underneath. Tripping me in the dark while I carry a bag with a dirty diaper in it. Splinters. This one board that rotted through so bad, a leg from the barbecue went in and the whole thing tipped over, spilling ash. The side steps that don’t really seem attached to anything. They clunk down when you walk on them. Like a lil wooden gotcha.
The toys in the yard made me ponder a family life. The grass made me consider responsibility and the upkeep of a full on home. The deck lured me in with promises of barbecues, card games, shade under the umbrella, and whiskey sours.
This week, it left me with a sore back, sunburns, and the smell of treated wood in my nose. Even in the light of the computer screen, my flesh is emergency sign red.
Jack slept for most of the time we were out there painting. Momma brought him out when we heard him on the baby monitor smacking around the toys in his crib. We’d run out of paint by then and had been chilling under the fox palms. I had my head in her lap and Jack was standing on my face. It’s what he does. He climbs people.
The deck squatted before us, with just that tiny section of blue left. Defeated, really, like this was the last tooth left in its mouth.
Millions of wooden slivers of blue made up what was left: about 12 square feet.
Christina mentioned how beautiful Jack’s eyes were. So blue. Though sometimes crossed.
She comes from Vikings, you know? And his blue eyes are her baby blues which turned green eventually. Green by way of the blue sea that Vikings sailed while pillaging.
I wonder if they burned any decks.