Perched at the top of his ladder, Bill whistled contentedly as he dipped his brush into the paint pot. After years of indecisive promises to paint their bungalow, he had finally decided to do it.
Delores had chosen a buttermilk yellow for the flaking clapboards, laughing at Bill when he teasingly told her he wanted to paint it a deep purple. “Over my dead body!” she had winked, patting Bill on his aging rump.
Bill settled into the rhythm of the brush strokes; long, slow and even. He had been smitten the first time he had spotted Delores at a local dance forty five years ago. She had made the first move. He couldn’t believe that she’d chosen him out of all the others. But she had. In fact, he mused, she had also chosen the wedding date, the honeymoon destination, this house and all the furnishings. All these years later, she still lay out his clothes for him every morning.
Bill stepped down a couple of rungs, blushing as he remembered their first night here. Delores had found a big bramble bush at the bottom of their garden and had baked a juicy berry pie for dessert that night.
After dinner, sticky and with purple stained lips, they had devoured each other on the kitchen floor amongst the packing cases. For hours they had lain there, covered by the checkered tablecloth, as Delores, in her own inimitable way, mapped out their future for them. They never had got the berry stains out of that tablecloth.
Stepping off the bottom rung of the ladder, head full of memories, Bill looked up at his finished handiwork.
“Nice colour Bill! Did the missus choose it?”
Bill smiled and waved back at his neighbour as he walked back into the house. Watching the vivid bramble berry coloured paint stream from his brush under the running tap, Bill pondered his next decision – where to bury Delores.
© Jeannette Sheehy 2009