Angie closed the door behind her and leaned her forehead against the cool wood. Today had been a day seemingly without end. She hadn't thought the people would ever all go home. Sinking on the stairs, she let her fingers run over the paint on its underside.
On the next, "I'll like you for always."
One more down, "As long as I'm living"
And finally, "My baby you'll be."
It was a refrain from a book she had read with her son Luke, over and over. A bedtime story he always wanted, but one Angie hated reading because she could never quite get through it without crying.
She remembered the day the stairs were painted. She'd been chatting at a neighbor's house over coffee, and had left him happily playing Legos. "I'll be at Rachel's," she told him. "Come get me if you need anything."
He hadn't. But, when she got home, oh the sight! In Luke's defense, he'd thought to put a sheet down.
How he had gotten the paint down out of the garage, she'd never been able to figure out... but he had. He was covered in white paint from head to toe. Had he done that on purpose? The book laid open to one page on the steps, and the words had been carefully painted in his child's script on the front sides of each step. How mad she had been! Her beautiful cherished stairs! She had loved the rich red tint to the varnish on the top, and now this garishly painted on the front sides!
She'd tried valiantly to wash it off, but it was paint! Her friends chuckled and cooed over it, saying it was "just so cute." But, she always felt a little embarrassed to have friends over. They all had such nice homes with nicely behaved children in nice clean clothes. And she had... Luke and peanut buttered fingers and white paint splattered all over her prized stairs.
She set the urn beside her on the steps.
Peanut buttered fingers and even her Luke were gone.
But she still had paint-splattered stairs.