As we pulled up outside the house everything looked the same. The first indication I had that anything had changed was the tower of boxed games which greeted me as I stepped into the hall, surprising me, like meeting a friend unexpectedly at the party of a mutual acquaintance.
The lounge felt cosier than I remembered. The toolbox, in pride of place in front of the fireplace, made me chuckle - why did we leave that there??? However, when I entered the study I was struck by the relative emptiness - the familiar bookcases were missing and the fish tank, complete with its steady hum, was gone. The walls, devoid of pictures and ornaments, allowed my voice to echo unnervingly around the walls, reinforcing the unfamiliarity.
The room had not changed in my absence - apart from the bedding, which had been added to the strange tower of curtains, piled on top of the pouffe, which was resting on my husbands chair…
The room was exactly as I left it, but not as I remembered it. Yet until I saw it, I had no recollection that this is how it is This image is not implanted on my brain, because it is a transitory stage. It is not how the room did look, or how the room should look, it is just how it is, at this stage in the decorating process. The room is 90% decorated, but the corner where the fish tank stood is still resolutely Lime Green and Water Melon. The rest of the room is the new much paler Daffodil White, which has lightened and brightened the room, especially when the morning sun comes flooding through.
As we sit here eating breakfast, we pick up the threads of conversations from last month, and into that we add the perspective of two weeks absence:-
- Is my husband still comfortable with the idea that he has lost his desk?
- Can he embrace life NOT sitting at a desk and take advantage of the mobility his ipad and laptop offer?
- Is the upright unit which has replaced his desk sufficient or would he prefer a proper bureau - we look at some on the Ikea website, but they are not available in birch, and they have sharp corners, which challenge my perspective of what a bureau should be...
- Does he want to keep his old comfy chair?
- Is the table staying where it is, or will it go down the other end of the room?
- Is my desk too big?
The questions that were unresolved when we left, remain and now we must define the answers. As I sit here I ponder on the irony that the space that we lived in as a family for over two weeks, is the roughly the same size as this room. However, the caravan had been planned to make the best use of the space, and now we must achieve the same. Now where could I put the kettle…