It’s a perfect sunny fall day, the last vestiges of October hang in the air ready to be snapped away by the goblins and ghosts that will stroll the streets in search of tricks or treats tomorrow. We New Englanders love to be fooled into believing that this weather will last, if not forever, at least until it’s supposed to snow on the night before Christmas and then never again, unless it’s on the mountain you plan to ski down.
I watch envious of the walkers by that have embraced the day daring to live in the moment. I supposed I am living in mine, but fully embracing it I am not. My head turns again to watch the diners in the street, sipping wine and savoring grilled octopus and fried zucchini discs. My stomach grumbles and my taste buds tingle at the suggestion of the tangy tzatziki mingling with those crispy zucchini chips.
I turn my head away from the diners and back to my space. The pale cream walls resemble a baby’s cheek after a mid-day nap. The slightest flush of heat becomes evident to the eye that gazes at them long enough. It’s been months. Shouldn’t I have resolved this by now? Shouldn’t I know the answer as to the color palette, the furniture layout, what’s going to stay and what’s going to go? Shouldn’t I?
I don’t. For all you readers that believe it just comes naturally, that the ideas pop into my head like the rising bubbles in a glass of champagne, let me disavow you of this notion. It takes practice. A lot of practice. It takes an obsessive dedication to observation. It takes a willingness to perservere when you want to give up and turn it over to someone that you think might know better.
I practice this a lot, but my natural state of practice is eradication of past wrongdoing. What’s right or wrong can’t be relegated to referencing the ten commandments or the even state or federal laws. My righting of what I consider to be wrong might include surgically slicing that gas fireplace from the wall that it was lobbed onto. You might consider this anathema. Yes, you. You’re always going on about how lovely it is to have a fire in the fireplace. To snuggle up next to it with a warm mug of steaming cider and a good book on a cold day, or to trim the tree and admire your handy work by the dim glow of light that it emits accented as it is by the twinkling lights that drape the fragrant branches.
I know it all sounds very romantic, and it is. I love a fireplace with real wood and a man that lugs the logs in from the snowy porch knowing that he halved and quartered them using his muscle and brawn to render them useful when the occasion called, but I need my space. That honking fireplace, slapped on the wall in the very spot that the existing fireplace once stood, stands out in a most oppressive way. 29.5” it announces itself in the room like a mount Vesuvius sized pimple on the otherwise fresh face of your prom date. You can’t do anything but look at it and wonder at the unfortunate timing or choice. It just feels wrong to me, and it takes up physical space in a room that I can hardly afford to have it stolen from, nor the mental space in my mind which on a good day is overcrowded and on a bad day in danger of being condemned.
The big question today is should I consult a psychologist and make peace with what I was given to work with, OR should I consult a surgeon and get cutting. I’d have them carve that malignancy right out, and lob off the overhang of my kitchen island while they were at it. It would gain me three feet in all. That’s not nothing, but would it leave me bereft on those cold winter nights? What would you do?