On these walls

She bought the house so the kids would have a central residence, a safe place for them and their friends. Things were harder now but they were hers and hers alone. That both scared and emboldened her because there were days when she wished he was around to do some of the things she didn’t want. Like mowing. She hated yardwork except for tending to her little garden. That, she enjoyed thoroughly, the making things grow tall and strong. Those activities were her forte, keeping the little things around her safe and empowering them to grow.

Right now, the house was a mess, what she called a “holy mess” because of the epic nature of the disarray. But this was to be expected when you are remaking someone else’s home into your own. Right now, the project was what she was going to turn into a library. Her kids were already readers, just as she was and is, and they will remain so if she has anything to do with it. She physically winced when she toured the house with the real estate agent, she just knew that hideous wallpaper was going to be gone.

As she scraped off layer after layer she realized this may be one of those tasks she wished he had been here for. She counted 5 layers of paper so far and finally, she saw paint. She worked her way across the bottom of the wall, pulling paper off in an upward direction. As the paper came off in shreds, she noticed that the wall wasn’t just painted a single color. In fact, it looked almost like a mural was hiding behind all that damned paper.

The scraping became easier in the middle of the wall so she changed tactics and began concentrating there. She pulled the last layer away and underneath was revealed a face painted with long red hair. She pulled away paper from the center and there she saw more of the red-haired woman under the paper. Her arms were outstretched and she appeared to be sitting. The paper resisted but she was able to scrape enough away to see the woman’s arm was around a blonde child, a girl.

She began scraping on the other side of the woman on the wall to reveal a second child, another girl, this one with flame-red hair like the woman. She stepped back from wall and stared at the mural, then turned her head to a picture of she and her two daughters on the wall in the foyer. She had her arm around the shoulders of her blonde daughter and her red-headed younger daughter was sitting in her lap. She looked back at the wall.

She remembered the real estate agent telling her the house was built in 1920. She also remembered the last things the agent told her as they locked the front door after their tour.

“I think you’ll love it here. This house was made for you and your girls.”

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