Another Stories of Stuff post. This one is inspired by a water stain.
The stain appeared on the ceiling in the kitchen. At first it was speckles of darkness against a canvas of pure white. Not enough to attract attention, but just a hint of a shadow of a promise of a coming stain.
Time passed. Lives passed. Moments and moving and hustle and bustle. Arguments and resolution. Hate and love. Anger and forgiveness. The stain gained colour and strength, until the pigment gained depth and the shape of the stain began to form.
Frustration over mislaid tiles on a roof. Damp issues? Rot? Something is amiss on the covering of the bricks and mortar that makes a house. As distinct from a home.
The greater issue: absent members of a family. The missing strings, the broken ties, the ellipsis of a life snuffed out. Because there are no words. Just… three dots.
The stain took on a final shape, and has rested on the ceiling for several months.
Heart shaped stain on the ceiling.
Imperfection where before was white.
But what if. What if this was the person behind the ellipsis, reaching down from heaven and sending a sign of love?
The thought alone was enough to rebuild. To swap feud for time. To exchange debt for freedom. To offer words instead of silence. Peace filled the house, and it became a home.
There was still much puzzling over the stain. Is there a leak in the roof? Is the entire thing going to come crashing down?
Each time the puzzling happened, the father would tell his adult daughter that he would deal with it. The adult daughter accepted that perhaps the stain could indeed be a reminder from a missing mother to simply love. Roofing companies were called, but they never turned up.
The heart shaped stain stayed.
As a reminder.
Mum is with us.
And yet at night, while the home sleeps, he is there on a chair with a paintbrush. He daubs the slurry mix of grey and brown onto the ceiling once a week. There’s nothing wrong with the tiles or the roof or the guttering. There is no leak.
Just a man, getting older, reminding his family of the love of his wife.