Each stone became a part of a butterfly, immortalized in the ground. That is what Amber had been working on creating as the border of her rather decent sized patio. She always wanted something light, airy and peaceful, something that would say come, sit, enjoy your self there are no worries here. She envisioned many outdoor barbeques, evenings of family, friends and even on those rare solitary nights having a drink and a snack in the hugging southern evening air. There were times Amber would just go out in the middle of the night and sit to listen to that low-level humming sound amongst the large billowing trees. These hours when the sky lacked the burning sun, this is when the human world rests, nature breathes and it was here in the south where she was actually able to feel it.
However that would not be today, Amber only had a couple of hours before she had to leave for her sister’s birthday party. She spent last night wrapping the gift. Today she planned on finishing the stone mosaic border. The guy at the store said “That’s a big job for a wee little thing like yourself, are you ser’ ya don’t wanna to hire someone to do it?”
“I’m sure.” almost too confident in her reply.
“Many things can go wrong, ya have to think about levelin’ the ground, mixin’ the sand, and heck, what are ye going to do when ya encounter one of those big roots, they can be real buggers.”
“I think I will be ok, I pretty much have it cleared, leveled and measured the area completely now.” She said as she thought about the two weekends of her time.
“Ah! Ok well ya got any brothers, fathers, husband, boyfriends, they could help ya too?” The beer bellied fine haired man said.
He can’t be hitting on me, she thought, he was a married man. She began replying politely but a little curious as to where he was going with this line of questioning. “They are all too busy, plus like I said, it is almost done, just had to get me some stones.” though another idea came to her as she finished her statement, maybe he didn’t like the idea of a woman doing a man’s work. She was becoming a little annoyed that still in world with smell-i-visions in development why are people so sexist.
“Well ya can come back, any time, we have many people to come over and help, if ya are willing to pay, of course….otherwise we can only answer yer questions for free.”
He wasn’t sexist at all nor hitting on her, he just wanted more money. “Well I might take advantage of the free questions but for now I better get going I want to start before it gets too late.”
“Alrighty then, see ya later, I’m ser.” He said finishing their conversation as she gathers her stuff to leave.
Why didn’t she get to have Vernon as the cashier of this ma and pa hardware store that is passed down to each generation? Vernon was the son of the owners, this guy was like a store babysitter only here when the family had other things they needed to do. Vernon, he always told a joke when she went through the line. It was a usually some lame joke though she still liked them. She still remembered his last one done in his mocking southern accent, “That will be 12 dollars and 11 cements.” Guessing he ran out of his regular one-liners for the day. She still laughed, though he always made her feel welcome.
Remembering all of this she barely knew she was already at her car loading the hand-picked smooth stones all in a variety of shades. She thought about using porcelain instead of stone but didn’t think that would hold up to the weather and general happenings in her backyard. She predicted he first time she slid a lawn mower past that smooth colorful exterior, she knew she would cause major damage. Amber sighed at the thought of having to relay the floor every week to keep up with replacing all the scratches and dings. These stones were the better choice for her vast planned events of this current dirt leveled square attached to the side of her classic Victorian home still needing to be revamped to the turn of the century standards or any livable standards for most people. All she cared about was that it was functional and it didn’t leak. The rest she would work on in her spare time.
Though trying to dry fit the stones in that butterfly pattern she obtained from one of the many redecorating magazines and books she perused regularly became a hair-pulling chore for with each arrangement of stones she tried, fit less than a square peg in a round hole. She looked with sadness at every attempt, for the butterfly always ended up with clipped wings. Picking up some smaller stones, placing them in areas to enliven the butterflies flight, didn’t work either, turned out just to be a blurry, distorted circle rather than a butterfly. Yet again she realized that she had not found a pattern since she began this tremendous restoration project that she hadn’t had to modify within her current paradise of weeds and overgrown shrubs. She had to let the surrounding garden go while she was working on the patio. There was only so much time in between her job and fixing up the house and her numerous family responsibilities. Which reminded her she better check her phone someone might be calling about the party tonight.
Standing up looking at the pile of unorganized stone, globby mortar, and muddy tools she felt completely unaccomplished for several hours of work. Putting away what she could, cleaning the remnants of wasted effort off her tools she entered the house to find her phone set on perpetual vibrate. Often she was in meetings or had her hands covered in goop that she could never answer her phone right away, so it was best not to bother people with an annoying ringtone. Walking into the dining room wearing her frosted overalls after leaving her clay caked shoes outside. Then passing through the kitchen scrubbing her hands clean she was able to pick up her charging cell phone, looked and saw no messages. Continuing on to the laundry room putting all her work clothes directly into the washing machine. Finally as she finished her tour of the house by walking into the bedroom in her bra and undies, she was ready for a long hot shower ahead. Her arms ached from lifting all those bags of stones. Though before she went in she took one glance at the clock to see how much time she had before she needed to leave. These parties go only one of two ways very bad or very good.