It is not until we are standing at the counter of Mitre Ten that the conversation we had in the car makes sense to me.
As we reversed out of the driveway the mister said, ‘Shall we go to IKEA afterwards?’
He wants to go to IKEA because the household has still not bedded itself down so to speak after our return from Abu Dhabi, and what should be our bedroom remains a cold, damp space that no one wants to sleep in which leaves the mister, more often than not, on a mattress behind the lounge. Having moved home over a month ago, he’s keen to find a more permanent solution beginning with a frame to dignify the mattress.
I said: ‘There won’t be time, it closes at five on Saturdays.’
He said: ‘It’s only four o’clock. We’ll be five minutes at Mitre 10 and it’s only ten minutes from there to IKEA.’
I said, ‘Well, even if that’s true—five minutes at Mitre Ten—we can’t get to IKEA, find a park, wind our way through lounges, couches, kitchens, to the beds. Choose the bed, decide if we need more tea light candles and which colours, find the right aisle then the right box in the warehouse, stock up on pickled fish and get it into the car all in forty five minutes.’
In the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘Five minutes. Twenty-five years I’ve been listening to him say, “It’ll only take five minutes”.’
At the counter of Mitre Ten, it becomes clear that if we had come to do what he thought we were doing it would only have been five minutes. Maybe even four.
He has come, I now discover, simply to buy four litres of the colour we already have.
I have come, he now discovers, to choose a different colour.
When the woman behind the counter hears the mister say, ‘But you said you liked this colour and I’ve already cut it in,’ she says, ‘Excuse me for a moment, I need to help someone over in BBQs.’
The mister says, ‘This is the third colour we’ve tried.’ And then he repeats: ‘You said you liked this colour and I’ve already cut it in.’
I am looking at the colours on the wall. It gets confusing, doesn’t it because it isn’t just blue or green, yellow or white it’s all the shades and tones between.
We have narrowed it down. We are looking for blue.
‘Oh,’ I say. ‘I wonder why I didn’t see this last time. This could be it.’ I pull the card from the pocket. I see its name and I know it’s perfect.
It’s called: Hindsight.
The mister, known for his calm and gentle nature says (and I think I quote him accurately here): ‘Fuck that. As If I Need to Sleep in a Room Painted with your Hindsight.’
What about I say, pointing to the lighter shade, ‘Hindsight Half.’
Sometimes, the mister laughs at my jokes. But not always.
Hindsight is clearly out, so I go back to the wall of colours and I am looking. It’s so confusing. And then I see it. It’s exactly what I want. I take it out of the pocket and I show it to him.
‘That’s not blue. It’s purple.’
I say, ‘I know, but look at its name. It’s called Vision. Blue is our past. Purple is our future.’
When we get back in the car we have a test pot of something called Indigo Blush and I say, ‘We could go to IKEA. There’s no time to buy a bed, but I could buy you a soft serve ice cream.’