Watch the paint dry


No one’s happy when they call for a Friday night meeting.

Friday also happened to be my day off.

But I scrubbed pale yellow paint from my legs and finger nails and drove out anyway, glad at least that it’s a sitting sort of meeting. I’m ready to sit for a while.

And wouldn’t you know, after I got all comfortable in my chair and glance at the one-item agenda and count the number of people in attendance and mentally calculate how long this will take, they made us all stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.

It felt personal, somehow.

It shouldn’t have surprised me. We say the pledge and have our moment of silence at every single one of these meetings. Of course they should do it at the start of a Friday night meeting.

But when he rapped the wooden gavel and called the meeting to order and said ‘please stand,’ I could have sworn he was looking right at me.

And I briefly wondered what would happen if I simply couldn’t get up?

It was a strange mix of a weekend. I had Friday off and so we – a sister and the husband and I – coated the dirty, stained and chipped old walls with a new layer of creamy yellow-y paint while the dehumidifier roared and pumped heat into the room and rain fell in a drizzle that reminded both the sister and me of Central America.

They kept painting after I left that evening, me washing paint from fingers and legs and counting jeans as ‘dressed up.’ I got home in time for ice cream and movie, all of us hiding from paint fumes in the cool air from the bedroom’s open windows, mind still reeling with tax terms that I’d tried to re-write into basic English.

And Saturday we painted again, layering on a second coat. I stepped in the paint spilled on the cardboard where we refilled our yogurt containers from the big bucket, hopped my way to the sink to wash it out from between my toes. The ferrets rattled in their cage but mostly slept, storing up energy for when we finally let them up. We finished, mostly, by mid-afternoon and I slept for nearly 2 hours and drove back to work at 6 p.m., settled in for a late night shift that runs until 2 a.m. but finished early, at 1 a.m.

Today our house still smells like paint. I’m planning on an early bedtime tonight and it’s only 10:15 a.m. But the house looks cleaner, newer and the wood floors and wood cabinets glow warmer and the strip of trim at the top of the wall looks new in its whiteness against the newly-painted walls.

I think, this afternoon, I’ll just sit and look at the walls for the rest of the day.

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