Last night Scott and I dug our $1.00/can garage sale paint out of the closet and painted the laundry room /tv room/bedroom (Yes, it is only one room - we're packed in here like sardines).
As I stirred up the now three-years-stagnant paint, my eyes recognized the canvas tarp beneath it. "Oh look, " I thought, "There's the color of our kitchen on Botanical - that was a great color". Creamy Cocoa, I think they called it. I bought yellow first. Stephanie and Aiden came over to put it on the walls. "That's a bit of the yellow right there," I thought, "Way too bright." Flourescent, really. Yellow paints are risky... I re-did it in Creamy Cocoa.
I scanned the drop cloth for other colors and didn't stop until I'd identified every one; the gold (which I will never do again) from our bedroom, the moss green we used to cover the (very amateur, if creative) mural on the bathroom walls, blue and grey from the Milligan House basement and a black, spray-painted, rectagular outline, laid down in the making of the "Fallout Shelter" coffee house sign.
Moments, words, faces, laughter, music, conversation, brewing coffee, smiles, tensions, late nights, stale coffee, cigarettes... all these things rushed at me and I wasn't quick enough to chase them away.
Physicality is curious. Existence in space and time is curiouser. Every day I see my bookshelves and tables and photographs, and I can remember them in past settings. But they stand alone here, now, and I never think of them as connected somehow to a place or a time. This canvas drop-cloth is different. Each colored stain adhered to it's surface at a moment in time, during a period of time, in a particular house and a particular room. Particular people stood on it and painted. I stood on it and painted. I and this tarp were there, together; somewhere we can't get to now.
The tarp carries it's marks of the past. I carry marks, too; intangible ones. I don't like intangibility. I want to wear my stains, as the canvas does. Like Doubting Thomas, I'll put my finger in the scars so I can know that I am real and not a ghost.
I finished mixing the paint, stood up, wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and set about laying new stains on the drop cloth.