As soon as I walked in after a hellacious day at work last night, I smelled the paint. It hit my nose before I had a chance to look around and see all of the furniture rearranged and some sort of art installation hanging on a primary wall in the living room. Great. I turn my back for a second and he changes everything.
He popped his head out of the bedroom and said, “ Boo! What do you think?” all happy with a stoned smile. Billy’s such an easy bust when he smokes pot. His eyes get watery and his expression dumbs down.
“I think it would have been nice to have some input if you were going to completely re-fucking-do the apartment,” I was exhausted and bitter and in no mood for his silliness, or having our new home re-hauled without some say so. His face fell and I knew it was the wrong response.
“I worked all day on it and I thought you’d like it,” he said sadly, pouting.
“Well, Bill, we worked all last weekend and I thought we did a good job. I guess not. And where did you get this color?” I was looking at the khaki green he painted on one wall. My face was marked with disgust. He also decided to hang that stupid piece of picket fence he insisted on bringing to DC with us and put it right under that old picture of Venice, Italy he had found in some alley in Venice, California. It all just looked wrong, I was hungry, and now I had apparently made him “feel bad” for his hard work. Super. Perfect. Just what I needed tonight, I thought with rancor.
“God, Terry, I was just trying to help,” he started to protest.
“You can help by getting a job!” And that’s the moment I regretted saying too much. It came from the fact I was jealous he sat around all day, getting stoned and playing decorator in our new place while I was taking it on the chin for ten hours but it expelled from my mouth like I resented him being a lazy bum. I knew he wasn’t, of course, but I also knew it was a vulnerable spot for him and I made the direct hit.
“You know. You are so ungrateful sometimes. I have an interview tomorrow. Okay? I’m doing my best. It’s not like we’re hurting for money,” he was getting pissed. Now I had opened the Anger Box, and I knew I would have to suffer its consequences. He would rant the rest of the night about what an asshole I am. It’s not as if I didn’t already feel that from being at work, either. I’d better apologize now before it’s too late.
“I’m sorry, honey bunny, I just had a bad day and I’m hungry. Come here. It looks great,” I placated him or so I thought.
“Well maybe think before you speak sometimes,” he said, not readily accepting the excuse.
“Come here. Really, It looks great. I love it!” I said with a painted happy face, the best one I could muster. He came over and I kissed him.
However, the anger lasted until bedtime. When he crawled into bed, he didn’t take off his cotton and I didn’t insist on it. We slept with our backs facing one another and about two inches apart.
When I woke up this morning, he was still under the comforter, warm and asleep. And as cute as can be, I thought. I got dressed in our big new walk-in closet and when I was ready to leave, I walked around to his side of the bed and looked down at him. His face was scrunched in two pillows and I put my hand on his covered shoulder.
“Come on!” I boomed, “Soft or hard?”
“Soft,” he sleepily said and turned his face up with his lips puckered and his eyes closed. I gently kissed him and said, “Good luck today on your interview, Guyster.”
“Okay,” and with that, he was right back to sleep. Bob didn’t stir an inch through this whole exchange, loudly snoring, almost as loud as his Daddy does.
I had gotten home a little while ago and was in a good mood. Work didn’t suck today and I felt like I did a decent job without pissing anyone off. At this new job, that’s a victory. I climbed into sweats and plopped on the couch, staring at the wall and wondering where Billy was.
“Brrrr. It’s cold out!” he says again when he walks in carrying two bags from Whole Foods. I had been sitting there a good fifteen minutes with the TV on but mostly evaluating the new wall he had created yesterday and I decided I really liked it.
“What’d you get at the store?”
“Dinner,” he says without any elaboration although it was the answer I had expected. I already figured out it was something from the deli counter that we had already decided we liked plus the staples: milk and cookies.
“How’d the interview go today?”
“It was okay. This lady was kind of, I don’t know,” he let his voice trail off being distracted by taking the groceries out of the bags.
“Kind of what?
“She was cold but she said there were a lot of companies that are expanding and she said there should be some steady work so I left happy,” he’s now looking up at me and is watching me watch him across the kitchen counter.
“Well that’s good, honey, you’re gonna be busy soon.”
I knooooow,” he says in our private language, drawing out the “know” into almost a musical note.
“You know I’m sitting here looking at the wall and I really really like it,” I say this because it’s true. It’s a very interesting and innovative design he formed and I like the color.
“Thank you. I worked hard on it, you know.” He says with a little pout, silently reminding me of last night’s rift.
“And what’d you paint it with?” I ask him, already knowing the answer but what good are games without understanding the rules, right?
“With love,” he says simply.