Part 38 Cracks and Gashes
What’s going on with Drew? They couldn’t wait for him to come home after four weeks of absence. At first it was a bliss. Talking, tenderness, smiles….One afternoon when the girls were napping, he pulled her into his arms as she was passing by, they tumbled on the sofa full of laughter and hunger for each other. It ended in a sweet release. It had been a while since the last time that happened! With two children under three and a house to keep, it was the last thing on Gia’s mind. The sheer exhaustion and post pregnancy body didn’t allow any sexy thoughts through. Soon though, soon it will get better…
A week passed, and the mood shifted. Drew was there, but he was not present. A giant fog cloud was blocking his hears. Half the time he couldn’t hear what Gia was telling him. He still didn’t get why Mimi needed a nap in the afternoons. They couldn’t go anywhere together, and it made him mad.
Staying home was safe, limited, but safe and the least stressful solution. The only place Gia would still go to was a family fitness center. There was a creche, a good motivator to endure the stressful travel there. She was grateful when Leah, the creche carer, came to the parking lot to help bring the often struggling Aria in. Then she had a blissful hour or two to exercise or swim, her only pleasure in life that was keeping her sane.
Things would get easier with time, Gia knew that. They just had to endure, keep going and everything would get better. Just keep it together Gia! Just keep making your home nice and tidy and the children happy, and it will get better! One day….
Gia often looked at the old drafty windows and doors; the pale yellow paint was peeling, revealing all the colors it was painted before. Blue, red, white… Every time Adeline bought a new car, she painted the doors and windows the same color to match it. Gia chuckled, how impractical it would for them!
Perhaps they could paint it red, or blue, a happy color for a happy home. She smiled to herself, as she pictured Drew, Gia and the girls coming home from a day out, all happy and tired. Walking up to the beautiful red door, or blue. Yeah, one day… For now she just stuck a blu-tack in a massive key hole to stop the wind blowing into the hall.
Yeah, it didn’t matter that there were big cracks and gashes in the walls, one day it would be repaired and it would look beautiful. Gia saw it clearly. They might even get some accessories, like colorful cushions and lamps, a massive kitchen table with mismatched chairs…
She showed a picture to Drew.
“What? It’s all a mess, it’s not matching.”
“Yeah, that’s the point, that’s what I like! Matching is boring, mismatched is stylish and artistic.”
He looked her like she was crazy.
“Gia, we have to be careful with money for a while, so don’t make any big plans, okay?”
“Yeah, I know that…I am not saying we should buy it right now! These are just ideas for the future, you know, when the economy gets better, and people start buying art again.”
“That might be a while, you know I expected the paintings from my last series to be all sold by now, and it doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon.” Drew handed her the picture back.
“I know, I know….I am just playing with ideas, since we can’t go anywhere or buy anything, or have any friends, since you don’t want to see anybody when you get home. All I got are my dreams and imagination, so please do not take those away as well! It’s the only thing that keeps me going, the idea that it is hard now, but one day everything will get better!”
“All right then, as long as they are just dreams, I am okay with that.” said visibly relieved Drew.
Gia smiled but the moment was spoiled, she would have loved for them to share the dreams and plans together. She looked out of the window in a quiet contemplation. The north facing mature garden evoked an enchanted woodland. Years of neglect saw giant conifer trees, bushes, grass and weeds grow out of control. It just needed a big tidy up, a few big colored pots to add splashes of color to brighten it up and perhaps a path for the kids to ride their bikes. In her mind she saw it all beautiful and done up, like Adeline and her father did it. For now it would be nice, if Drew helped her.
“I don’t have time for that Gia, I have a million things to do before going away again. And forget the nicknacks, we don’t have any money for that.”
“What is your problem? I am trying to save us money here, I am not saying get it landscaped for thousands of pounds! And you could make time, if you wanted, besides it would be nice to do something together, since we don’t have money to go anywhere!”
“Well, if you put it like that, maybe…”
But they never got around to do it. Gia did what she could by herself to make it safe for the kids. She was a little spooked when she discovered an existing path already there, under the grass and layers of dirt. Most of the stones were damaged however and missing in places, and some were lifted and distorted by the tree roots. Fixing that would cost money, so the restoration would have to wait, for now…
Gia jotted down ideas for the kids bedrooms. The rooms were huge with high ceilings. There could be a raised bed with a den underneath for the children to play. There would be a changing station in the corner with lots of dressing up costumes to encourage imaginative play. She could paint the walls in large murals, perhaps a forest scene or animals. How wonderful! She couldn’t wait to show Drew, they might fine tune the details together.
“Are you insane? Do you know how much it would cost?”
“Oh, I was not thinking about that yet, I was just brainstorming-.”
“Yeah, you never think about that! Maybe you have too much time on your hands to think about unimportant stuff.”
“But Drew, I am not saying we have to do this right now, or even exactly like that, these are just ideas, and it could be done cheaply.”
“Nothing is cheap.”
“Whatever, just forget it.”
One day Gia got a “light bulb” idea, she would finally sort out the living room that was mainly used as a storage room come guest room since they moved in. Yes, she could just move their existing furniture around, and they would have a living room to chill with Drew after the girls go to bed! She would move one of the sofas from the open plan kitchen-sitting room in there and perhaps use one of the beds from upstairs as a second sofa. She would move the TV from the kitchen in there, that would make the kitchen-sitting room a family room, where they would spend time talking and playing games with the kids.
They would light the old fireplace in the evenings. Gia pictured a cosy atmosphere, laying there with Drew, fire cracking, they would talk or watch TV. I bet he would be happy with the heat, since they keep arguing about the temperature in the house! Finally there was something Gia could do in the house without spending any money at all! A genius! Drew just left for a week, and as soon the girls went down for their afternoon nap, Gia got to work. She had to move all the clutter out, and the double bed up to the second floor. When she was half way up the stairs on the landing stuck with the big mattress, Drew called.
“Hey, guess what I am doing!” Gia couldn’t keep the excitement out of her voice.
“What are you doing?” Drew sounded alarmed.
“I am making us a living room! Suddenly the solution came to me!”
“You are doing what?!”
“The living room, I just told you, it will be great you’ll see!”
“What do you mean? Just stop, don’t do anything!”
“Why? I am already doing it! Relax, it won’t cost anything! Anyway I’ve got a go, I am pinned down by a mattress on the stairs!” laughed Gia.
It was well past the midnight by the time Gia finally sat down on the sofa in the new living room, her body aching from the heavy lifting, she put the fire on and looked around feeling absolutely exhilarated. The kids were good all day thank God, otherwise she would have never finished. She just couldn’t wait for Drew to see it!
The following week Gia came down the stairs in the morning and saw Drew’s travel bags by the front door. In the kitchen one of her paintings, Drew’s favorite, was turned facing the wall. How odd...
She was just having breakfast with the girls when Drew came down.
“Daddy!” Aria run into his arms.
“Hey, there you are!”
“Hey.” He barely looked at her. He kissed the girls and proceeded to put the kettle on.
“Hey, did you see the living room yet?” Gia couldn’t contain her excitement.
“Yeah, I can’t even look at you right now! How dare you?! I told you not to do anything, and you just went ahead anyway!”
“But Drew, I told you, I was already doing it-”
“You don’t care what I say, you just do what you want, don’t you!”
“What’s got into you? Don’t you like it?”
“You did it without me, when I told you not to-” he was raising his voice.
Gia was flabbergasted, she didn’t understand. Something wasn’t right. She took the girls upstairs to prevent the argument escalating. What’s his deal? Is he loosing his mind? Why isn’t he happy that Gia did this for them without spending a single penny? She tried so hard to make everything work, to keep everything together, to make the house nice, so they could be happy.
They avoided each other the whole day, and for the first time since they were together they went to bed without making up.
Gia laid in their bed alone staring into the darkness. She just couldn’t understand why he was so mad. Perhaps they would never make up, they might even end up getting a divorce! Gia had never seen him so angry with her, ever. She didn’t recognize his eyes filled with hatred. Drew, the same Drew that would do anything for her. That Drew was gone. Who the f**k was this?
She struggled to recognize him, or their life together. It was all like a bad dream. What kind of life was this anyway? They hadn’t been out together for years, didn’t spend any time together, ate different things at different times, slept at different times and in different rooms. Apart from the kids they had nothing in common any more. Gia got no help from him in the house, he didn’t understand or support her. He kept trampling and stomping her ideas deep into the floors of the old house, and now he finally killed her dreams all together. Where was their love? How come Gia didn’t notice it slipping away? Maybe he never loved her. Maybe it was all a fantasy, their love was one big lie.
How dare he? How dare he treat her like this, when she tried so hard to make their house nice, to make them happy? Okay then, she was done. Done playing the housewife.
I am sick of being stuck in the house on my own all the time. I am not living, I am just surviving, struggling, and it’s f*****g hard! I am gonna get a job! Gia’s mind ready to explode a minute ago calmed down as if by magic. She had a plan and finally drifted off to sleep.