Throughout the years, my oldest and dearest friend has recommended various fix-it men. Between plumbers, painters, electricians, and masons, she has helped me avoid many a crisis. There was one painter who has stood out in both of our minds, and it all began in the spring of 2007.
The painter showed up at my door three hours late, and began splashing paint samples on my kitchen wall, as my mom looked on in disbelief. She suggested that he bring out the teal color of my countertops, while he was adamant about earth tones. I originally envisioned a black accent wall, surrounded by white walls, and black trim along the vaulted ceiling. After they both calmed down, we compromised by substituting teal for the black accents. Though my mom was right, they became arch enemies, but for some strange reason he liked me.
Meanwhile, my friend was working closely with her upholstery man. She needed to have her couch recovered. There was no bickering, or meddling mother interruptus. Everything was running smoothly on her side of town.
The painter continued to come over every day for about a week. He always saw me at my best with no make-up, shrunken sweatpants, and a well-worn oversized T-shirt. He got to see me the way my husband saw me first thing in the morning, only my husband was lucky enough to have left town. He took our younger son to visit my mother-in-law over spring break, while our older son was away at college. I thought that this would be an ideal time to redecorate the kitchen, and family room.
The painter was as creative, as he was temperamental. He had a wonderful eye for color, and enjoyed being praised for his work. One night when he was working later than usual, I asked my neighbor to come over. He got the hint, and quickly left, so we could go out for dinner.
My friend had also recommended the upholstery man to fix some of my dining room chairs. He made them look brand new, and conducted himself in a very professional manner.
The night before the painter's job was complete, he invited himself over at 11pm. I thought it was a rather strange request, and jokingly told him that someone else was coming over during that time slot, but I'd be willing to squeeze him in at 2am. He laughed, and said that he loved my wonderful sense of humor. Later that night, I checked all of the locks on the doors three times more than I usually did.
When the upholsterer dropped off my friend's couch, he caught her unaware. He asked her for permission to kiss her. She politely told him that it wouldn't be appropriate, and sent him on his way.
As the painter was packing up his brushes, he presented me with a special gift. He created a beautiful design on our rattan chest to blend in with the freshly painted family room. Then he took my hand in his, and just held it with thoughts of what could have been. At the time, I was trying to remember if I had even bothered to brush my teeth that morning. We vowed to stay in touch, but I never saw him again.
That was also the last time my dear friend saw the mysterious upholstery man. I often think about what our lives would've been like if we ran off with those hopeless romantics. While my friend would've been draped in velvet, surely, I would've been shipped back in a fifty five gallon drum.