Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interior Design

Entered as part of a writing contest on The Public Query Slushpile

It took four years and a brutal divorce to get to this point. I got sick of blaming her. She is not done blaming me. I need to open the windows and get some air in here before I pass out from the paint fumes. My head throbs.

The phone is ringing. Five will get you twenty that it's the realtor. I keep moving back the sell date. Little fixer projects keep compounding. Cabinets need hung, tile needs grouted, rooms need a fresh coat of paint.

Especially this room.

I've finished everything I could think of, all installations are plumb and ablaze with new paint. The house looks better than when we bought it.

All except this one room.

I remember that day we got the house. Janice was so happy and her head was dizzy with excitement of what it would look like after a few years of hard work. It was OURS. I looked at it more with apprehension, I'm an office drone, hard work is as alien to me as an intake manifold gasket. I smiled and carried our daughter inside. Maybe we would make this work.

Little Izzy picked out her bedroom and said, "I want a princess room!" My little girl got everything she wanted. I spoiled her but she deserved it.

I got every single can of Pink Pastel Princess paint I could get my hands on and covered that upstairs room. Pink ceiling fan, pink trim, pink light switches. Izzy loved it.

And now I sit on an empty industrial size bucket of Alabaster White, alone in an empty room, in an empty house.

I've bought every different shade of white available and sat watching it dry. Eggshell, Off White, Bride White, Cream, and every combination I could gather. The realtor said the only way to sell a house is to paint all the rooms neutral. If the prospective couple had a boy they wouldn't be able to picture him in this pink room.

So I've been trying to cover and erase the memory of my daughter's wishes. But every time that white coat dries, the pink can be seen. It refuses to be let go.

I scraped the walls with sandpaper, and the pink shows.

I laid seven coats, and the pink shows.

I put up white wallpaper, and it fell to the ground.

Four years I've tried to whitewash this room and for four years I've seen that paint dry to a bleeding pink. My wife told me I was abandoning my daughter.

My daughter was the greatest gift I've ever received, and I could never abandon her or let her go.

The phone rings again.

The pink fades in on the wall.

If I can't cover the pink, how am I ever to cover the bloodstain near the floor?

1 comment:

Donna Hole said...

What an awesome character study. I really feel I know these people, and especially their heart ache.

Nice job.