My father flies up a few days ahead of the arbitration, and take a few days off work. He wants to do things around the house for me, to help out.
What room should we paint first? he asks.
I’m afraid to paint anything. It feels like counting unhatched chickens, and I don’t want to jinx myself – lose my house or maybe just feel the loss more acutely because I have just allowed myself to become too attached.
My father says, plan to win. Don’t plan for all the contingencies. You can’t live your life that way.
Sure I can, I think. That’s all I’ve done for eight years. Planned for contingencies. Taken no action.
Stared at blank walls.
This is a lot of thought about paint. I’m overthinking paint now.
I have an idea, though: The Child’s room needs to be painted anyway. If the house must be sold, it has to be painted anyway.
We buy paint in toasted pecan and vibrant cajun red; we pry the moldings off the walls and break a couple in the process; we remove the tacky aluminum blind and break it, too. We give The Child a paintbrush and protect the carpet with brown paper. Mostly.
Don’t get attached, Child, I pray to no one in particular.
I’ve done all I can do, and in just a couple of days I will know if it was enough.