Lela lay in her bed with her left leg crossed over the right, staring at the wall to her left. A portrait of her high school graduating class hung in the center of the wall. Next, she looked to the front of her where her dresser stood. On top of it rested a glass case containing a porcelain doll of Mrs. Jackie Kennedy dressed in her white wedding gown. Glancing to the upper left corner of her front wall, a baby photo of herself caught her attention. “I had to be at least a year old at the time the photo was taken.”
Her brother Mac walked into her bedroom with his friend Fenton.
Lela startled, because she was lost in her thoughts. “I didn’t know you guys were there. What’s up?”
“Where here to finish painting the rest of this room.” Mac set the can of paint next to the door, flipped off the lid, and began painting the edge of the door.
“No. Don’t paint anything. I like the natural look of the wood. Look what you’ve done. This is valuable wood. You’re in the construction field and you don’t know valuable wood when you see it?” Lela shrieked as she swung her legs over her bed and jumped to the floor.
Mac glared at her with the paintbrush in his hand. “What are you getting so upset about. I can always take it off with paint thinner.”
“No. You’ll make it worse, because the wood will be damaged more.” Lela walked up to her bedroom door where she examined the spot he painted. “I’m furious with you right now. Please take your can of paint and start doing some work in the hall. Whatever you do, do not paint anymore of the woodwork.” She glared at Mac, “I mean it,” and smacked her hand against the door.
Fenton took some deep breaths before intervening. “Calm down, Lela. There’s no need to get upset. It was a simple mistake your brother did. Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. We are all children of the Lord. Don’t judge him for his mistake. It’s something which could happen to anyone.”
Looking at Fenton, Lela vented, “Such a mistake can only happen to people who are ignorant about such things, because they never took the initiative to educate themselves about woodwork and the value of it. This is valuable wood here. You both should know that.”
“Let’s see. You went to college for four years. Got not only an Associates in liberal arts, but a BA in creative writing. Our field is in construction. Yet, you’re educating us about woodwork and the value of wood?” Fenton put his hand in the pocket of his denim jacket and pulled out a packet of cigarettes.
“There’s no smoking in this house. Put those away now. And yes. I went to college for four years. However, creative writing isn’t the only thing I studied in college. I also had several courses in architecture. In particular, I studied historical architecture, if you must know. I’ve very knowledge about architecture. Also, throughout my four years of college, I learned the value of wood, especially woodwork. Therefore, I do know what I’m talking about. So the next time you want to be sarcastic, Fenton, think before you speak.” Lela grabbed the packet of cigarettes from his hand and stuffed it back into the pocket of his denim jacket. “I told you to put those away. I meant it.”
“Okay, Lela, chill. Fenton didn’t mean anything by what he said. He didn’t know what you’re knowledgeable of and what you aren’t. How was he supposed to know what courses you studied in college? It’s not like you’ve ever had a conversation with him about it.” Mac picked up the can of paint and headed into the hallway, followed by Fenton who picked up the paint brushes which rested in their container.
“One thing straight, Mac. Neither one of you should never assume you know everything there is to know about me. I guarantee you don’t even know half of what you think you know about me nor about anything else.” Lela’s clenched her teeth as she held up her trembling hands. “Do you think you’re smart. Do you? Do either one of you think your so smart. Because if you were, you’d know not only how to do your job, but you’d know how to do it right. Before you do any painting for a client, be sure you have background knowledge about wood and woodwork. No some historical background about the kinds of architecture for the homes or buildings you work on.”
“Okay. Can we do our job now? Fenton, help me put tape along the edges of the woodwork so we don’t get any paint on it while we are painting the walls. We’ll also need to cover up the light fixture.” Mac grabbed some tape from the tool box, and started applying the tape.
Fenton took the tape from him and did the same.
Lela pressed her hand against her throbbing forehead to ease the pain. Her breaths were heavy, and her heartbeat quickened.
Mac glanced in her direction, furling his eyes. “Lela, is everything okay? You don’t look so good.” He walked up to her, put his hand against her back, and pulled up the stool where he helped her sit down.
“I’ll be alright in a minute. You guys made me so mad. Nothing more. I always get upset whenever I’m passionate about something. I’m passionate about anything to do with history. I believe in preserving historical dwellings and artifacts instead of destroying them. If only you guys had a sense of appreciation for them as I do.” Lela smacked her hands down on her thighs when she caught herself losing her temper again. “I know. I know. I have to calm down. Just give me a minute.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know anything about the significance of the woodwork. To me, if something is old, it needs fixing in some way. But, I guess I was wrong. No, I was definitely wrong.” Mac smacked his forehead. He walked back to the corner he was working on, and continued applying the tape along the edges of the woodwork.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016