#Bonus 3: The Color of Love
Even though sleep was a luxury neither Enzo nor I could afford these days, I found myself energized by the whirlwind of wedding preparations and home renovations.
Thanks to the help of Enzo, all of our amazing friends, and a fantastic group of contractors, we were making huge strides with the renovations on our new home.
Now, all that was left was picking out paint colors for the various rooms in the house; something, anything, to cover that ghastly gray color that made the whole house feel like a depressing little box.
However, exhaustion was slowly creeping in-and with it came snappiness, moments of impatience, and a few disagreements we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
One such argument unfolded during yet another trip to the hardware store.
We were standing in the paint aisle, as we had been doing almost every day for the past week, surrounded by countless paint swatches that neither of us could seem to agree on.
“I still say we should go with yellow,” I insisted as I tapped my finger against a bright buttercup-yellow color on the paint swatch. “That kitchen really needs some color.”
Enzo grimaced, shaking his head. ” Nina, I can’t stand yellow. Besides, it’s too… bright, too flashy for a kitchen. It reminds me of the color of melted butter, or… or jaundice. What about this color?”
I watched as Enzo pulled out a millionth swatch, one which contained the color of slate blue. It wasn’t far off from the color that the kitchen was painted already. It was pretty on its own, but a whole room like that? It would only blend into the gray and blue landscape of the ocean.
I pursed my lips, crossing my arms right after I rubbed my exhausted eyes with my fists. “Blue is too gloomy, Enzo. A kitchen is supposed to be cheerful!”
Enzo let out a low, annoyed growl. He
had dark circles under his eyes, probably even worse than mine. But I wasn’t backing down, and neither was he.
“Blue is better than yellow, at least,” he hissed.
I frowned deeply. “If you’re gonna insist on painting the kitchen blue, then what is even the point of painting it at all?” I asked, throwing up my hands in exasperation. “That color you picked out is hardly any different from that awful gray color that’s already in there. Maybe you’re more like-”
I stopped myself. I knew what I was going to say, and so did Enzo; that he wasn’t all that different from his father after all. But I stopped myself.
Even in my exhaustion, I knew that that wasn’t the right thing to say, and I didn’t really mean it. Richard’s death was still too fresh, too raw to be making comparisons like that. And besides, despite Richard’s short-lived redemption at the end, it still wasn’t fair to compare them.
Enzo said nothing about my almost- comment about his father. Instead, he pulled out another swatch, one which contained an even more sickly blue hue that could be likened to the deathly pallor of a fresh corpse.
“Here!” he said, shoving the little paper swatch in my face. “This is better isn’t it? Can we just pick a color so we can go home? I’m starving.”
I grimaced, snatching the swatch out of his hands, my frown deepening as I studied the color.
“No way, Enzo. This is awful! What about…”
The argument escalated, and soon our voices echoed off the store’s high ceilings.
Bystanders began glancing our way, a couple of them offering amused or sympathetic smiles, others giving us sidelong looks of disapproval. Neither Enzo nor I paid them any mind, too caught up in our silly paint color dispute.
Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a croaky voice intervened.
“Why not paint it green?” Both Enzo and I turned to find a small, elderly lady smiling at us, her eyes twinkling with a mix of mischief and wisdom.
“Green?” Enzo asked, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise.
“Green,” the woman confirmed with a nod. “It’s the perfect compromise, a mix of yellow and blue. And a lovely color for a kitchen, if I may say so myself.”
She shuffled towards a display, her frail hand pointing at a particular shade of sage green. It was a color we had overlooked in our heated exchange.
We both stared at the suggested color, exchanging tentative looks. I couldn’t deny it; the green was indeed soft, warm, and welcoming-a gentle embrace of our two opposing preferences.
Tentatively, I reached out and grabbed the swatch down off of the shelf to look at it more closely. It really was a pretty color; it reminded me of the color of the sea foam during sunrise. I liked it- a lot.
“You know,” I started, a slow smile spreading on my face, “I actually really like this.”
I held the swatch out to Enzo, who snatched it out of my hand with a somewhat-annoyed huff. But as he studied it, his face turned from an expression of annoyance into one of peaceful acceptance.
“Well?” the old lady asked, chortling a bit as she leaned on her cane.”
Enzo stared at the color a moment longer, then broke into a grin. “You know what, Nina?” he murmured, tapping the card on his palm. “I really like this one, too.”
I couldn’t help but laugh; and neither could Enzo.
Our laughter rang out in the store, a shared acknowledgement of the silliness of our argument. It was a moment of lightness in the middle of our hectic schedules and sleep- deprived irritability.
With a grin, Enzo took the swatch over to the counter for the attendant to mix, leaving me alone with the old woman.
“Thank you,” I said to the old woman, holding the can of sage green paint. We really needed that.”
Her eyes crinkled as she smiled. “I
could tell,” she murmured, patting me on the shoulder. “Young love… Compromise is a skill that you’ll pick up over the years, and I can tell that the two of you will have many of those.”
I couldn’t help but blush at the old woman’s words. My eyes wandered over to Enzo, who was leaning on the counter and watching intently while the attendant mixed the color for our kitchen
Sage green Like sea foam at sunrise.
But right now, I wasn’t looking at the color, I was looking at Enzo, at my future with him. I couldn’t tear my eyes. away from him, from his handsome form as he leaned on the counter, the way that his curly hair fell into his sleep -deprived face.
I pictured him like that for years to come, standing in our sage green kitchen. I pictured the two of us cooking countless meals there, laughing and getting flour on our faces as we baked birthday cakes for our children.
When I finally opened my mouth to say something to the old lady, she was gone.
We paid for our can of paint, and as we left the store hand-in-hand, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of fondness for the afternoon. Despite the exhaustion, the stress, and the occasional argument, these were moments I would cherish.
The old lady’s intervention, the shared laughter, and Enzo’s hand securely holding mine brought a sense of balance in our chaotic lives.
It wasn’t just about painting the kitchen anymore; it was about creating a home-our home-where every shade of our lives, blue, yellow, or green, had its place.