The second he walks through the doors of the Home Depot, the smell of it alone is enough to send him reeling. Something about that fertilizer-lumber-dirt scent takes him right back to his childhood, and he catches himself walking a little more strait--less easy. His feet automatically start walking left toward the chains and the shovels, but Jess gives him a funny look and says, “Hey, Sam--where are you going? The paint is this way.”
She takes his arm and leads him to the brightest part of the store. He'd always known this was here--he’d just never, not once, stopped and looked. He didn’t know this many colors even existed; there are so many--maybe too many because why would anyone want to paint anything in that shade of pink? He’s picking up little rectangular cards with squares of color on them, and they feel so flimsy between his fingers.
“What do you think?” Jess asks, face serious, holding up two cards with almost identical shades of blue on them. “Rainy Meadow or Morning Dew?”
“Uh,” he stammers, and his feet are shuffling under him. He has no idea. “I don’t know. Which one do you like?”
She looks at them again, bringing them closer to the bright light near the display. Her face is lined in concentration--like this is the biggest decision a person could ever make. She’s talking mostly to herself, muttering “but the kitchen doesn’t have any windows” and “is it too gray?” and “don’t want the place to look like a crypt.”
“It won’t look like a crypt,” he says, and this is the one thing he knows as absolute.
She turns to him and holds both cards in front of her. “You don’t think?” He doesn’t really say anything else, so she keeps on. “What if it sucks, and we’ve spent this money and we’ve ruined our shirts, and in the end it just is... gross?”
“No place with you in it could ever look gross,” he says, using that half-quirk of a smile that he knows will make her cave.
“Shut up,” she says, but she’s laughing, pushing lightly at his chest.
He can feel the warmth of her hands seep through the fabric of his shirt, and so he grabs them and wraps them around his waist so he can lean in close, talk to the top of her hair, still sweet with the fruity smell of her shampoo.
“No. You will make it beautiful. It’s what you do,” he says.
She sighs long and deep, and he can feel the breath that she took move through his own body. He loves her so much.
“Rainy Meadow,” he says, pulling back.
She nods once and puts the other card back in its place. “Rainy Meadow,” she repeats, and she grabs his hand and leads him to the line at the mixing counter.