Gregor McGillicutty was at a loss. He just didn’t know what to do with himself. The weather was horrible and he wasn’t able to proceed with his usual routine. Usually there was nothing that could hold him back from his daily activities, but today there was. This upset Gregor deeply. In trying to make the best out of a dreary situation Gregor sat in his favorite chair with a book and a freshly brewed cuppa. He read a few pages, and finally decided to put the book away when he realized he had read and reread the same paragraph several times.
Without his daily list of activities – long since completed this morning – he now found himself distracted. Instead of thinking about Margie he began thinking of how drab his home had become. Margie had always been the light in their house, and now that she was gone, Gregor began to realize how washed out everything seemed. He thought about going to the local hardware store when the weather cleared up for some paint, maybe something blue, but every time he visualized himself going to the store, let alone making changes, his thoughts drifted to somewhere he couldn’t quite locate.
It wasn’t that he was happy, in fact Gregor hated being stuck inside. He mostly just hated being stuck. It was one thing to stick to his routine, to go to work, to eat his dinfast, and to keep to himself. Being left with no say in the matter was an entirely different beast. The last time he had no say in the matter was the death of his Margie. Gregor took a sip of his tea, which had gone cold. Gregor swallowed the cold tasteless tea and smiled to himself. Oh how Margie would have carried on with him home. Even when she was alive, Gregor hadn’t liked to waste a day not doing something practical. Gregor glanced around the walls again. Margie had wanted to paper them – he had wanted to keep them plain. Their compromise was a bold shade of cream. Not too white, but still absent of enough color to not drive him crazy.
Gregor again smiled, this time with a slight chuckle. If Margie found out he was even thinking of changing the walls to something brighter she would be rolling over in her grave. Gregor took a relaxing breath. His thoughts had drifted again, but this time he realized not where they had gone, but where they hadn’t. It seemed to Gregor that instead of the pit that had run rampant throughout him for a while now had subsided. It had made room for something a little brighter. It had made room for Margie as she had always been, and not gone as she was now. Maybe, Gregor thought, she never really left.
Obviously she was not physically here with Gregor – he had been there to say a final goodbye as she was buried – but maybe her spirit, her joy, her light had never left. Instantly Gregor felt like doing something. Not one of his daily activities, but something else. Something new. Still being Gregor, he returned his book to the proper shelf, noticing at once a bright blue book. In front of him the woman from several weeks ago – the mysterious woman who silently helped him bury a goose. His eyes moved down her dishwater blonde hair and to her plain gray, somewhat lilac dress peeking out from her peacock blue coat. Gregor reached out as if to touch the cloth of the imaginary woman’s dress as she disappeared. Just as quickly as she had come and gone, an idea formulated in Gregor’s mind.
It must be here somewhere, Gregor thought as he reached under the bed. Feeling around with his arms, his only means of sight under the bed, Gregor found what he was looking for – a small wrapped box. Not small enough to be fancy jewelry, but not big enough to be something outlandish. Instead, it was the perfect gift for his wife – one he had never gotten to give to her. Months before Margie’s passing she had mentioned that it was about that time where the walls needed to be painted once more. Time, along with life, had added character and memories to the paint, but by no means did it make it look bright or neat as they both enjoyed it in their own way. They had had left over paint from the first time they did the walls and in the interest of saving money, they had planned on using it instead of buying new paint in a new color. In an effort to brighten up Maggie’s life, Gregor had gone out to buy her new bed linens. To make up for his love of neutral colors and simplicity Gregor had purchased decorative sheets. They were still subtle, despite their soft lilac color and embossed flowers. They so reminded him of Margie that they brought him a sense of peace to his own disbelief. They would have made a lovely gift. Gregor returned to the living room with a new hot cuppa, and sat down in his favorite chair. With a smile on his face, and a slight tear in his eye, Gregor slowly unwrapped the parcel he had so long ago wrapped.
Gregor removed the sheets from their package and ran the material through his fingers. He wasn’t sure if his plan would work, but he felt for the first time in a long time that he was capable of returning some of the light Margie once brought to this house, their home, back. He stood, gently placing the sheets on his chair and went to the closet where he kept his small collection of tools. He stood, drinking his tea, looking at the wall across from his chair. The wall itself was plain, there were no windows or decorations other than a painting Margie had picked out. The painting depicted a town scene. Something akin to what they would have looked out to should they have had a window. While Gregor was ready to make some changes, he wasn’t quite ready to move that painting. Instead, he turned to the wall behind him. A smaller wall that opened up to the kitchen. Nothing had hung their either, but with each other and their own fake window to look out upon, why should they have decorated the wall behind the chairs? Gregor knew the past was behind him. While Margie would always be a part of him, he had the power to change how he looked at the past. He could still look to a bright future, because his path had been lit by Margie. After he was done, the wall that framed their sitting chairs could be as bright as they once had been. This is where I’ll start, Gregor thought.