Finish Coat

When I was 14 or 15 a young boy at school declared his love for me.  We were skirting around the edges of officially going out together, there was obviously an attraction, yet my interest in him was more a curiosity than any kind of deep seated desire. One day he took me to his house to meet his parents, show me his room.  We spent many hours together but I don’t recall what we did much else than chat and smoke some weed.  Surely we did a lot of tongue kissing since that was de rigueur at our age, but I don’t remember it.  He was gallant enough to bring me home the few miles from his house and as we sat waiting for the bus at the top of my road to take him back I had a feeling that the relationship wasn’t going to work.  Those days the buses were the old style double decker where the back corner was open and you could stand hanging onto the pole and be exposed to the street.  As he took off, he grinned back at me, hanging on with one arm, threw the other wide open in the air and shouted, “I love you Johanna Lowe”.  He seemed genuinely thrilled with his feelings and his declaration.   I knew right then it was never going to work.

Gut feeling and experience typically add up to good decision making. But, as life would have it, one doesn’t always go with that. For instance, I recall a couple of really bad relationships where I knew I was mad as a hatter to go forth with this person but yet still chose to exercise masochism over a loving commitment to myself.   Also, having met some really wonderful men over the years and rejected a couple of them who were probably outstandingly good choices, it’s plain my gut and my head have made some rather poor decisions.

hoosing paint color has lately been similarly telling of my character.  Most recently, having chosen the interior color for the window frames and watching as the guys started painting, I thought to myself, it’s too blue, but I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t want to look indecisive and I didn’t want to be wrong with my first choice.  Yet everyday I went back to the house, as they were moving along from one window to the next, I kept telling myself it wasn’t right and I would wring my hands and sleep badly.  Finally ( it took a whole morning to get the courage up and to formulate the words just right) I texted the painter and sheepishly told him it had to change.  “It’s fine, he said,  we’re not too late because I haven’t done the finish coat yet”.  My elation and relief was palpable.  I was right not to commit to my first color choice and better yet I was right to admit to being wrong and work through the change.  

I am tenacious at least, if sometimes lacking in better judgement or too stubborn to pay attention to what my sense tells me right off the bat. Perhaps I shall look at my love life as layers of paint, up to now just lacking the finish coat.

Johanna Lowe