I knew I was going to buy my house after walking into it just ten feet. And I knew I would redo the upstairs into a master suite with an art gallery wall the first time I went to the second floor of the bungalow. It took awhile to save the money, but about thirteen years ago, I hired a guy who redid the whole place starting from scratch.
On various days, he would tell me what I had to get done because he had subcontracted out a job that was going to happen soon. One night I had to paint the new bathroom. (Holding my breath on an eight foot ladder, yikes). Another night, I had to lay down two coats of creamy yellow in the 700 square feet main area.
The night before the carpet came, I decided to do something to the subfloor. Just at the top of the steps I painted the words: New Space. Then, where the couch and the desk and TV were to go: Live Here. And in the north wing, where the bed was going to be placed: Fall in Love. Smack in the middle: Be Free. I used the raspberry paint from the bathroom. A wide four inch brush.
At that time, I was far from realizing any of those encouragements -- I was not particularly free nor engaged in living. I certainly had been too afraid to love. But the words did their magic work, and soon after completing that new space, new things emerged. I met a girl. I fell in love. I loosened the knots of fear, at least a little.
Since then, lots of things have happened, most of them good. Don't know that girl anymore. Am not in love, except with my next door neighbor's baby. (Who, yowzaaa, reached out for my hug today for the first time).
I am, though, happier than I was thirteen years ago, or ten, or eight, or six -- for sure six -- because I am not afraid anymore.
It would be pretty expensive to rip up the carpet and pepper the subfloor with some more subconscious influences. What would I write now? Live, love, be free -- those still apply. But I would add: Be the bravest. Talk here, in the dark. Go one step farther. Think bigger. Turn the TV off. Be faithful. Trust yourself. Love bigger. Make beautiful things. Don't waste time. Yes, those would good words to be under my feet, under my space.
Instead, I have done something else intentional. I bought this quilt. This pink and flowery and striped quilt. And the pink-salmon colored sheets to go with it. Soft sheets, the expensive Target brand. :) And, I know that the next person to lay down with me will be the first person to share that quilt. It might not happen this summer. Maybe not even next. That's okay. Time does what time wants to do. But someday, I will lay down, rest and snuggle again. We will talk in the dark. We may even fall in love and love big.
And, someday, after we have talked about the things that create the plush firm comfort of a new "us" -- after we talk about scars and houses, station wagons and trips to Maine, college pranks and age spots, losses and losing, the moments of fear and embarrassment, the times we finally discovered ourselves -- when she asks me about the quilt and the perfectly worn sheets, I will tell her, "When I bought them, I got them for you." And these words, here tonight, will be the ones I painted prove it.