We moved into our house in August of 2005. The landscaping went in that fall, so it wasn't until the spring of 2006 that we made good on our plans to buy some sort of gazebo thingie to protect us, when we were doing the lazy, crazy things Americans do in their back yards, from the hot hot hot Sacramento sun. We found a tiki gazebo at Target. It was cute, without being twee, and if we avoided hanging fishnets and coconuts, it afforded our back yard a measure of sophistication. At least we thought so.
The gazebo came totally disassembled in a long, narrow carton. We assembled it. It took us all of a Sunday to figure out which pipe A went to which bamboo strut B, and so on and so on and so on. We raised the roof on the gazebo just before dinner, and I remember feeling tired and sore from humping pipe A, etc., but also so very very good. I was proud of the way we had worked together, D and I, to create this thing which would be a token of our finally having achieved something resembling The Good Life. This was the first time we had a GrownUps backyard, where everything fit and was finished and spoke to our taste and good fortune. I anticipated many, many evenings outside in the bamboo gazebo, with family who lived nearby and friends, who we would surely soon meet. I wish I had taken a picture of it that day, but this is the nearest I could find: a photo taken to put the redwood furniture on Craigslist. Imagine, if you will, a khaki pagoda style awning for a roof; add some bamboo shades on one side--there you have it.
I think we had company over once. Family didn't make it over as often as we'd hoped; friends, well, let's just say they were very hard to come by. This next photo is the gazebo in January after a hellish storm which uprooted trees all over the area.
Obviously, it had to go, and today D. came over and took it apart. By himself. He didn't want or need my help.
I don't usually write about the breakup of my marriage, and I'm not going to say much more than this: I cannot help but see that gazebo as a symbol or metaphor. It's raising and it's falling. The hopes and plans and dreams with which we moved to this house--and what remains today.