As sad as I feel about the "great pool debacle," I know that Mr. Bill feels worse. I can best describe him as somber and remorseful since the collapse. Every time I see him, he apologizes and promises that he will fix the deck strong enough to support a pool full of elephants. My reassurance that it's really okay and that I appreciate all of the time and effort that he invested in our project seems to be falling on deaf ears.
I wish that Mr. Bill would not personalize the mistake, but I
know that feeling responsible is normal when a friend is impacted. A few
years ago I was in Mr. Bill's situation. I tried to do something nice
to help a friend and it ended in catastrophe.
Right after Robby was born, I was asked to make a wedding cake for my
friend Jen. I was delighted and honored that she would entrust me with
her cake because her wedding reception was quite lavish, requiring the
expertise of two wedding planners to execute. I spent hours handcrafting
each rosette and carefully baking and decorating each tier.
The cake was gorgeous. It was four tiers and featured miniature
icing roses and lace cascading down the sides. As we packed it into the
back of our SUV, I was convinced that my creation was going to take her
breath away. Scott and I changed into our wedding clothes and headed off
on the three hour drive with the cake safely stowed in the back of the
car. At least, I thought it was safe. We arrived at the reception and my
heart stopped when I opened the back of the car.
Jen's beautiful cake was strewn throughout the back of the car.
The layers were split, the roses were crushed and the handcrafted icing
lace was unrecognizable. After a brief moment of panic and a lot of tears,
I realized that I was not going to be able to undo the damage.
We drove to a grocery store where I bought cans of white
icing. I spent the next hour working furiously to try to make something
presentable out of the mush that used to be a cake. When my friend was
kissing her new husband, Scott and I were scouring the reception hall
and swiping large hydrangeas to fill in the holes and cracks on the
cake. By the time the guests arrived, Jen had a cake and, although I
received compliments from her, I knew it was not what she expected.
I had the best intentions and put in the effort, I had failed
miserably. I did everything I could to fix the situation, but there was
nothing that I could do in that moment to undo the damage that was done.
It was a horrible feeling that haunted me for weeks after the wedding. I
know that Mr. Bill is in that same place.
Unlike my relationship with Mr. Bill which will survive the pool
collapse unscathed, my friendship with Jen did not survive my mistake.
Despite my apologies and attempts to reach out to her, she refused all
contact with me. I finally accepted that there was nothing that I could
do to fix the situation. It saddened me when I realized that my
friendship was not stronger than a pastry.
Mr. Bill is insistent that he fix the deck. I understand his need
to make this okay and to try to fix it even though I harbor no ill
will, so I have stopped protesting. Fixing the deck is
more for him than for me. I'm hoping that by making the repairs, he will
obtain a sense of satisfaction and that he feels he has made amends. It doesn't
matter how many times I tell him that it's okay and that we appreciate
and need him; he needs to make the repairs so that he feels peace. We all really love that man.
Over the weekend Robby and Mr. Bill will resume working on the
deck. Instead of creating a space for a pool, they are now crafting what
has been dubbed, "Momom's Hideaway." They are turning the deck into a
space where I can sit in a swing and look out over the woods and stream.
They are even making a "No Boys Allowed" plaque for me to hang when I
want to be alone. It's not my pool, but it might just be the next best