The phone jangles us awake. Wrenched from the warm crease of sleep, Dreamer and I wedge our feet into shoes. The painters we hired want to pressure-wash both our decks — our charming but overly-furnished decks — this morning. Five days ahead of schedule. And they’re already en route.
We scramble around the smaller deck like Keystone Kops in rumpled pajamas. Rain pelts everything. Lawn chairs, lanterns, bee traps, plants — we jettison décor as fast as we can.
Why would anyone pressure-wash decks in the rain?
The arriving crew frowns over our second deck, half-smothered in vegetation. Like the carnivorous vine in Little Shop of Horrors, my “Feed-me-Seymour” Virginia Creeper must go.
They rev their machine. I rip branches from railings. Dreamer hacks stems thick as thumbs.
Drizzle, of course, morphs to downpour. Did I mention I’m wearing white pajamas?
Here I am days later, winding myself up again trying to get the story down. It’s exhilarating to write, having survived months of illness, brain fog, daily rice, bananas, and gallons of broth. It’s nerve-wracking, too.
What if my writing chops slid down the drain with, ahem, everything else?
Nervous hunger erupts. I pace. Edit. Tear into a bag of chips. Oh, the salty zing of vinegar, the glorious crunch, the greasy addicting coconut oil . . .
I eat all the chips.
What happened to my oh-so-serene resolve to avoid binges fueled by insecurity? I planned to take recovery slowly. Simply. Beatifically.
I stash the empty package beneath discarded carrot peels. So much for my strict recovery diet. Willpower proves flimsy as paper, and I wince at my inward crumple of shame.
Meanwhile, back on the deck: Where’s the machete when you need it? We de-jungle railings, toss the slash to the ground. Our growing heap of greenery feels like an accusation.
I’m entangled in more than deck cleanup.
I want a do-over.
The crew unplugs their equipment. They coil their hoses, then drive away.
We gaze at the decks. Pressure-washing scours away every peeling fold of paint; it also exposes small stubborn islands of rot. Beneath the sheen of rain, the old wood gleams. Patient sunlight presses through layer after layer of parting clouds . . .
What have you crumpled and stashed beneath the carrot peels?
“I want to unfold. I don’t want
to stay folded anywhere, because
where I am folded, there I am a lie.”
Photo by Sandeep Swarnkar on Unsplash
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