Ruby Sue began her wild beagle baying just as soon as ShaSha slammed the trunk of her Jetta. She had to slam it hard because someone had broken into the trunk last year and the lock didn’t grip right unless she closed it like she meant business.
Struggling up the walkway under the weight of the frames she carried on her arm, ShaSha yelled towards her front door. “Calm down, you wild beast, it’s just me!”
After several re-sandings and re-stainings she’d given up on ever having a front door that was not gouged and grooved by Ruby Sue’s anxious claws. Sometimes being driven to reclaim was had been abandoned meant you lived in less than perfect conditions.
She balanced the frames against the porch wall as she turned her key in the lock. The door opened with a whoosh as fifteen pounds of wiggling mass launched at ShaSha’s feet. Ruby Sue’s tail whipped against her calves as her wet nose sniffed madly around ShaSha’s knees.
“I haven’t been with another dog, silly girl.”
The wagging and circling slowed down enough for ShaSha to pick up the frames and move them into the house. Ruby Sue stood in the doorway, expectantly looking back and forth from the pink leash hung on a peg inside the door and then to ShaSha’s face. With an indulgent smile, ShaSha bent over to remove her shoes. She’d happily gone trash diving wearing a pair of three inch patent leather pumps, but walking a fast moving beagle on a garbage-scented mission required more utilitarian foot gear.
She slipped her feet into the beat up Mary Jane’s, her arch adjusting with some protest to the thick vegetarian sole. She grabbed the leash off the hook and quickly wrangled it onto Ruby Sue’s collar. With a quick twist she moved the elastic from around her wrist to the back of her head, catching up the bright blue strands of her hair into a low ponytail in one smooth motion.
“Just a short one, girl, to get your wiggles out. I’ve got decorating to do!”
She glanced at her watch. Mac was coming for an early dinner before they headed out to a Dirt Bombs concert at The Duke. Not that he really noticed or cared about the décor of her humble bungalow, not with the designer-done penthouse he owned. For some odd reason he seemed to prefer coming over to her house and eating at the tiny bistro table. The blank wall that made up one end of her kitchen had been bothering her. She’d painted it a really lovely shade of lavender, which complemented the black and white tile floor and the painstakingly painted old cabinets. But nothing had ever seemed quite right to hang on the wall. And if it wasn’t next to free and exactly perfect, ShaSha didn’t want it.
She looked longingly at the frames leaned up against the couch as Ruby Sue practically sprinted out the front door. Later, she promised herself.
Ruby Sue plopped down on her dog bed, her tongue lolling out of her mouth and her breath coming in short heaves.
“Well, that was quite the death march!” ShaSha put the leash back on the peg and closed the front door. With a flick she turned the deadbolt and locked the door. The gentrification of the East Atlanta Village was well underway, but some shady characters looking for an easy score still roamed the streets sometimes. May Avenue had been pretty quiet for the past year, but living in the city she’d learned to never let her guard down completely.
She filled up Ruby Sue’s water dish and put it within easy distance of the still panting dog. With the beagle worn down to obedience she could go outside and get her tools without being nipped and cajoled into a game of fetch.
The shed had seen better days, but the periwinkle and peach paint job at least made the leaning structure cheerful. She’d re-shingled the roof last summer so even if the thing looked like it would blow down in a strong wind at least it was water-tight. She grabbed her four foot ladder, a hammer, the small torpedo level, a measuring tape and the glass jar of brackets and cleats.
Her progress through the backyard was awkward at best. The ladder swung against her legs and the hammer bounced in the back pocket of her jeans. She made it into the back door and carefully plopped her tools down on the bistro table. The hammer rung against the metal table top, but she was careful not to chip the paint. The sunny yellow hue had taken two tries to get right and she didn’t want to have to repaint it.
She lined the frames up against the wall and stood back to look at them. With a critical eye she imagined them lined up in a grouping on the wall. None of the frames held pictures, which was probably why they’d been heaped up on the curb outside a rather ramshackle old house in Grant Park. ShaSha was always on the lookout on trash day and for some reason today she’d gotten up early and decided to just drive around a little. These serendipitous findings often happened to her – almost like objects in need of a home called to her in her dreams.
The largest frame was long and skinny, almost as though it had once held a mirror or a landscape. The old veneer was worn away in a few places and the gold was dull, but the intricate pattern presented a nice counterpoint to the lavender walls and the geometric floor. She carefully removed the old wire and used the level to nail in a new bracket. Since the frames were going up empty and would likely stay that way she didn’t want visible wires. She eyed the wall for placement and then confirmed her placement by measuring. She drove the cleat in quickly and efficiently with two taps. The frame hung straight and true.
She repeated her careful steps with each of the remaining four frames until the grouping hung in a pleasing array on the formerly blank wall. ShaSha stepped back, pleased with her work. Maybe Mac would notice the change, maybe he wouldn’t. You just never knew with men. But she loved how everything hung together.
Thank You, Burpees
4 years ago