An hour really isn't long enough to do something productive like exercise or write and I have already taken the opportunity to go for a run on the beach, while Paul cleaned the gas grill. It is a found hour, sort of like a crumpled twenty dollar bill you might pull out of your pocket. Not enough to buy something you really want, like say, a life sized golden piggy bank, but enough to make you a little giddy with the possibilities.
I decide to take a selfie and try photo-shopping different eye colors, which is not as easy as it sounds. First, if your eyes are as beady as mine, you need to take a picture where they appear open, but not like they are in a state of shock; as if someone has told you that golden piggy bank costs more than $100, for example. Then, you need to get the right size software tool to color the iris and erase the spot over the pupil. If you go too blue, then it just looks fake.
When Paul opens the front door and enters the kitchen, I am surprised that an hour has passed. He glances over my shoulder at the laptop screen and asks “Did you spend an hour on that?”
“I know,” I exclaim and then add “It’s really tricky, getting this to look real.”
He wipes the sweat from his forehead and stares at me without blinking, which is when I realize that his eyes are a mixture of brown and hazel and that this subtlety is exactly what I am missing. As I adjust the tool and zoom in on the picture of my eyes, Paul grabs a rag and the spray bottle of vinegar and plods to the bathroom, where I assume he is going to clean the glass shower doors. I’m proud that I suggested a dual headed shower, though it requires more cleaning. I have learned not to complain about the vinegar smell.
It is precisely this moment when I realize his suggestion of finding something to do for an hour might have meant anything other than performing virtual cosmetic surgery, which is why I think our relationship works. I bring a sense of whimsy to his otherwise strictly ordered life.
The next morning, Paul is driving me to work while The Captain and Tennille are singing on the radio about how love will always keep them together. Unfortunately, it did not. Toni was always the bubbly outgoing one and The Captain was content hiding behind the piano. Something must have changed, a power struggle perhaps. Maybe The Captain said “You know Ton, I’d really like to get up and dance the fandango when we sing Muskrat Love,” to which Toni replied “It’s the Tango you buffoon! And that spotlight is mine, bitch!”
I offer to drive us in to work.
Paul rolls his eyes and says “Honey, I’d really like an enjoyable ride in today.”
Maybe our roles are as immutable as our eye color, but I know our emotional piggy bank will always remain full, because unlike Toni, I’m not a diva and I’m willing to bend. Good thing we met later in life when our interests were equally shared, but if we ever need to change, I know we will, because we both have the right set of tools and more importantly?
We know how to use them.