The Writing On The Wall
“Ow, god, that’s ugly” he said after he dragged the big pouf inside.
I looked around and nodded. Chocolate brown and mustard yellow had never been my favorite combination. Not even when it was done well. This was not done well. This looked like someone attacked the walls with a sponge while under the influence of something very heavy.
“Yeah,” I replied while sitting down on the pouf, “it will definitely need to be changed. I’m getting paint tomorrow.” I stroked the fuzzy fabric. This pouf was the only new piece of furniture we had. Everything else was donated by friends and family. “This color right here.” I traced my finger over one of the big stripes on the fabric.
“Lime?” he asked.
I smiled. “That’s not lime. This green is much softer. I already checked, the store sells the exact shade. It’s called Pear.” I could already see it on the walls in my mind. “It reminds me of spring. A fresh color for a fresh start.”
He sat down beside me and squeezed my thigh. “Alright. It’s a lot better than this mess.”
The guy at the hardware store lifted the gallon buckets of paint in the cart for me. I thanked him and was about to make my way to the cash register when he asked: “Don’t you need something to paint with?” He gestured to the rack with rollers and brushes.
“Oh, right, thanks,” I replied feeling a little stupid. I grabbed one of those prepackaged sets of a roller, a brush, and a tray. The guy grinned at me.
“Just one?” my boyfriend asked, “were you planning on doing it by yourself?”
I looked at him, surprised. Boyfriend was grinning back at the paint guy. I had actually assumed I would be painting by myself. I didn’t mind and the room was not that big. He had never helped in the apartments we lived in before, I had no reason to think he would be helping in our new place. His offer to paint with me was unexpected but very welcome. I quickly grabbed a second set.
“I’m going to start painting!” I called up the stairs.
“Okay!” he called back. He was doing something on the computer as usual. It was a hobby for both of us, but he had always been more in to it than I was. I figured he would join me in a while.
I cracked open the first can of paint, poured some in the tray. Rolling the wet paint over the horrendous walls felt good. Bye bye chocolate and mustard sponge disaster. As parts of the wall started drying, I was pleased to see the green paint really did cover as advertised. One coat would be enough. Perfect.
I had well over half the room done when I noticed he still hadn’t come down to help. Engaged in a task, he tended to lose track of time. It was a trait we shared. I walked up to the stairs. “Shall I put on some coffee?”
“That would be nice,” he called back.
I filled our old battered coffee maker with water, measured off the coffee grounds, turned it on and went back to work.
By the time the coffee aroma mixed with the paint fumes to announce the coffee was done brewing, I had just finished up the last bit of the wall.
“Coffee is done,” I called up. I heard him come down the stairs. I was curious to see what his response would be to the fresh painted room.
“You did a neat job,” he said, looking around. That was it. No oh, you finished already? No I’m sorry, I lost track of time. No explanation for why he didn’t help like he said he would. It slowly dawned on me he had never really intended to help me paint. His comments in the hardware store were only so paint guy didn’t think he was the sort of man who’d let his girl paint by herself.
I wasn’t all that bothered he didn’t keep his word. It didn’t even bother me that it was more important to him what a complete stranger thought of him than what I thought of him. What really bothered me was that he made me waste money from my already tight decorating budget on a paint set, just to make some sort of impression on someone completely irrelevant.
It was the last set of walls I painted to house a ‘we’.