10-18-12 The prompt: Go to a unique place, spend time there, and describe it.
I love my clients. Some of them have said the same about me after the work was finished, but I really love my clients. My latest is a divorced woman who has moved from Amherst to Belchertown, from a five bedroom big standy-uppy house in a development to a little cottage on a lake. She called to ask if I could look at her new house to see about a bathroom remodel and possibly, if there was time, a kitchen also. I didn’t have anything pressing, so I agreed to meet her there the following weekend.
The walkthrough almost didn’t take place. When I arrived at the new house, it turned out to be a little three-season cottage twenty feet from the most beautiful lake I had ever seen. I was agog. Struck dumb. Walking across the lawn, I had the strongest sense that all would be well in the world if I could only sit down and take in the view for the next twenty years. My feet slowed, I remembered to close my mouth, and I think I may have moaned quietly, but perhaps it was part of the dream.
The water was clear, and deep. Ripples from the breeze moved across the surface, and water lilies bobbed in the water just away from the shore. A small frog saw me and leapt into the lake, pumping its legs to escape the intruder. It was late summer, and the breeze was warm on my face. I just wanted to stay there forever.
Trees hung over the water, and a memory of a rope swing and laughing children came to mind. Watermelon and sandwiches, cousins and grownups. I could feel the water over my head, and the sandy rocky bottom of the lake, the slime of algae and floating green plants.
“Hi! I see you found the place!” Cynthia walked across the lawn with her hand held out. I took it, gave a slight squeeze, and wondered if it would be appropriate to propose right there, before I even started work, before we had a contract. I just wanted a way to stay.
“I love it,” I said. My throat felt like cotton. “The location is beautiful.”
The walkthrough began, and I could see the immediate possibility of rescuing a sad neglected bathroom and making it wonderful for Cynthia. It would give me at least five weeks in heaven. I told her I would draw up a plan and pricing for her approval, and a tentative contract.
Three weeks later, and I’m finished with the bathroom and standing in the kitchen. I’ve finished the floor replacement and electrical work. I just installed the window that will be over the sink and looking out over the lawn to the lake. The old kitchen window was a piece of crap with two panes of glass separated by a vertical muntin that divided the view. The new window was a single huge casement, which, when the protective film was removed from the glass, looked just like a framed photograph of the lake. I stood there for fifteen minutes, silent and staring.
I shook myself back to reality, and moved away from the view to begin the drywall. Two sheets later, I found myself back in front of the window. The smell of wood smoke threatened to take me away again to some past life full of memories. The view of the lake was still there.
I figured two more weeks, and I’d have to decide. No one ever looks in the septic tank when someone goes missing. Who would know that I had moved in? Perhaps some weights and a short boat trip to the center of the lake. The building inspector had told me recently that it’s actually eighty five feet deep.
I just stood before the window and smiled.