She is confident. “Peacock Blue.”
I cannot argue, no matter how surprising her choice; this must work.
“Great idea!” I say and drive off to the store for a gallon. Together we paint the nursery.
But a Peacock Blue world is eye-shattering, like being submerged within a turquoise lake. No baby could ever sleep here. We re-think.
Her Plan B sounds altogether more suitable: calm and spring-like. I jump back in the car and nip out for a couple of cans.
As we prise off the lids my doubts begin to surface. I was useless at art, but memories of my primary school art classes come bubbling up. “Doesn’t yellow plus blue equal green?” I murmur. She shakes her head, determined that Primrose will be perfect. Green was just old school. Bound to be wrong.
It isn’t. By tea time, the room is Lime Green.
We wait a day for the paint to dry, then flood the walls with more Primrose. The room resembles vomit.
My anxiety is rising, but her enthusiasm is undimmed. “Got it. Damask Rose.”
On first-name terms with the staff at the store now, I am greeted like an old friend; they offer me a 15% loyalty discount.
We spray on Damask Rose. The nursery morphs to the greeny-brown of a Scottish bog.
Our plans are in tatters. Slumped in the middle of the room, we sit quietly for minutes without speaking. Then – timidly – she suggests “White Sand?”. I sigh with relief and head back to the store where the discount has reached 25%.
We hurry to finish. Three coats of White Sand will do the job.
As we work, the baby kicks and our exhilaration grows. We are sure she will love her new nursery. The room looks just like it did three weeks ago. Same colour, but smarter, cleaner, and just that little bit smaller.
Formerly a University scientist, Hugh is now retired and living in the Pacific Northwest, where writing provides a diversion from his doomed attempts to grow Canadian oranges. His stories have appeared in Nature Futures, Foxglove Journal, Meniscus, The Drabble, and elsewhere.
How to straighten a zebra – Cracking the code by Hugh Cartwright – published by Nature journal – read it here…
Photo by Hugh Cartwright
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