Fresh Paint: An Allegory

Last weekend, I opted out of a previous commitment to go out of town with friends. It was all very suspicious: Why didn’t I want to come along?  What was I planning to do instead?

The simple fact was that I wanted to sponge-paint a wall in the living room.  Since I moved in (and before), the wall was a deep, dark red. It was dramatic and classy.  But, in a room the size of a shoebox, it was also overpowering and made the space feel even smaller.  I’d been meaning to do something with it for a long time and didn’t because I was always engaged in something more fun (or I was just lazy).  But last weekend, the time seemed right and my sister was available to help me (we have a history of painting together).

Saturday morning I had breakfast alone in my favorite diner.  I explained my solitary status to the familiar waitress as I opened my copy of Ask Me About My Divorce and then dove in to savor a few stories and strips of bacon.  On the way home, I stopped to purchase supplies:  paper to cover the floor, tape to protect the molding, sponges, trays and color samples.

At the house, my sister and I prepped the area and analyzed the color samples.  When we found one we thought would work, we went back to the store and ordered a gallon of it.  The Project was underway.  (And I was hella nervous that this venture would be a colossal mistake and I’d end up having to paint the whole room white because I have zero sense of interior-decorative-know-how.)

Sponging was easier than I thought it would be.  It didn’t take long for us to fall into a rhythm.  It didn’t take long to finish the wall.  And, because we had so much paint left over, we decided to paint the dining room with it.  By that time, I was so inspired that I also polished the floor and rearranged the furniture.

I am terribly proud of myself!  I haven’t done anything this domestic in years. Half of my house looks completely different and it all cost less than $100. I can’t stop admiring it.

Between my ears, the sponged wall is evolving into a metaphor for living (and of course, divorce):

  • I waited too long to make a change that turned out to be easier than I’d anticipated.
  • The old wall didn’t completely disappear under the sponged-on paint.
  • The new wall is full of globs and smudges, but these imperfections work together for a cohesive expression of style.
  • The new wall prompted further change: to cover some things, to clarify others.
  • It was worth the risk.

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