Wrap Me in Disbelief

I pull the bubble wrap off. My hands shake as I heave a stack of plates onto the middle shelf closest to the dishwasher. Next are the bowls neatly wrapped in tissue paper. With the sound of porcelain clinking and coffee mugs rattling, I don’t hear my husband come in. I turn away from the counter and Greg is standing there with his hands in his pockets.

“You here to help” I say grinning. “How about you pull them out of the boxes and I’ll figure out where they all go?”

He stares at me blankly for a moment fishing for something in his pockets.

“Are you going to help or just stand there watching me?” I laugh and shrug my shoulders.

He looks down at the floor, tracing the outline of the stone inlay with his foot. His sock glides over the tile, arranged to mimic the look of herringbone.

“I can’t…” he starts and trails off. “I can’t do this anymore.”

I try to say something but nothing comes out. Our realtor, Jamie, walks in, knocking on the door as she enters.

“Sorry folks, don’t want to interrupt. Here’s the second pair of keys I promised,” she says as Greg walks past her and out the door. She rests them on the counter, a puzzled look on her face. The distinctive jingle of keys rings throughout the kitchen.

“Thanks Jamie,” I say, choking out a pained smile.

“Glad to see you and Greg settling in. Love that sweater,” Jamie exclaims. “What’s that color?”


“Ch—chartreuse. It was a big color last spring. Remember, all the fashion bloggers were talking about it.” Jamie continues without stopping to take a breath. “Me, I can’t pull off a color like that but it looks great on you. I see you’re already painting in here,” she says, looking down at the drop cloth by the window.

A whisper of red paint appears like blood spatter under green crescent moons, left behind when I spilled the paint and stepped in it.

“A bright color like chartreuse would be nice. Oh, maybe that’s too much. What do you think?” I shake my head.

“Oh no wonder—well, there you go,” Jamie says, pulling open the curtains. “That’s better.”

I watch as the daylight streams in, its blinding rays hitting the wall. The chandelier above the counter glistens brightly. The glass bulbs, covered in dust, reveal scratches and scuff marks on the base of the fixture. Shadows dance around the bulbs reflecting the light and creating a patchwork of rainbows on the ceiling. I feel the tile under my feet, cold and unforgiving. I look around as dust fills the air and clings to the glass bulbs.

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