painted fence.

At the summer house, we had that common fence with the place to our left. I saw the neighbor only once and it was while you were at work. It was when I thought it was you pulling into the driveway as I stepped outside and met his eyes without exchanging words. He seemed well-off and not likely to come by too often, and I thought the two of us fortunate for that.

We spent a day driving up along the lake to find a hardware store with as perfunctory an effort, like we were intent on wasting time. When we eventually got to one, we voted against blue or green for the specious reason that there was already too much of it around the house. I picked red because I liked the specific shade that reminded me of a barn. You either picked white over some ironic joke where I forget the punchline or because you wanted to fix whatever blemishes I made in applying the red by blending it into the wood. We also got some paint rollers.

In fact, I'm only now realizing that it really was like we were just looking to pass the time more than anything else. We drove back and watered down the fence. On the next day I woke up earlier than you and poured the red paint into a five-gallon bucket and got to work on the fence, starting from left to right so that less people would see me on the road by the time I was close to finishing. It was at least an hour and a half where I was by myself and you were still sleeping.

I remember I got to a point where I was doing it so methodically that when you eventually joined me, it made me realize in an instant that I hadn't needed any other distractions as I worked, no music or radio. For some reason I thought then that I was taking the whole thing too seriously and I became a little embarrassed.

Closer to the left where you couldn't see the road, you painted over what I did in white, and we drew ourselves, the cat, some miscellaneous shapes. I only wish I had taken a picture before I left to remember what went where.