28 January 2018

The birth of the asylum

Broken down walls

Last weekend, after I had agreed to pay Wayne the Builder to do the work on our house, the house on Victoria Road that I bought last year, I felt a kind of freedom from choice. Having weighed the options, it made sense that we should go with Wayne. He is older, although Yoko and I, sitting up in bed like an old couple, couldn't agree on what we thought his precise age to be. It's certainly over fifty. I wasn't sure when Wayne would appear, but it was Monday morning, when I received a cheerful e-mail from Yoko that he had arrived and they were already knocking down walls. Well, I thought, that's that.

Wayne works with another man, whose name I asked and then promptly forgot. He gives me a thumbs up in the morning, as I look out the window from my standing desk and watch them. They come in a flat-back truck and a van, both with WAH emblazon on them, and I feel like I should go out and help. We have tea and biscuits for them, which I heard through a colleague is what one should do when one has builders, although I thought hard about the quality of tea and biscuits we were providing, and whether or not this gave the impression that we had more money than we have. They had a skip delivered on Tuesday and filled it quickly with bricks and mud and some other sundries that seemed to be coming from another site. I gathered that they, Wayne and the other man, had negotiated some understanding with a builder working across the road. That builder is younger and his van has nothing written on it — at the end of the day, they all lean against the flat-bed truck and exchange, I assume, information.

Yoko and I went to Ikea on Tuesday and in two hours decided how the kitchen would come together. Over coffee and soup, I talked about my feelings with my wife whom, twelve years ago that day, I had asked to marry me. We made a series of decisions and cheerfully worked through a series of decisions about what we wanted,  Judy the Ikea Planner clicking away and drawing it all together.

I wonder what Wayne thinks about our little family, if he thinks anything at all of us. I thought about this as I stood in the kitchen drying dishes and listened to them working. They weren't talking to each other because there wasn't anything to say. I opened the door to wave goodbye, tell them that I had left tea and biscuits for them and, of course, if they needed anything to let me know. I wanted to tell them something about how I'm feeling, about the miracle this all seems to be, but it didn't seem appropriate. How silly, isn't it, that I feel the way I do, because of course this is a thing that people do.
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