She was almost done. There… and there… and there. Finally! She wiped her forehead with the edge of her hand and set the paint roller in the tray. Backing into the doorway to get a better look at the bathroom, she was already shaking her head at the color.
“Damn. I really thought this was it.” She reached over and absentmindedly scratched behind Calliope’s ear. “Lichen,” which had seemed subtly soothing when it was just a dot on the lid of the paint can, now bounced between the walls in the small space, intensifying the pale green to the color of chewed spearmint gum.
“Maybe light blue?” Zoey sighed. “Or maybe I should just give in and paint it white.” Calliope blinked once, slowly, her lichen eyes glowing spearmint in the bathroom. She raised her tail and stalked from the room.
Zoey sighed once more, just so she could fully appreciate exactly how tiring the whole thing was. She dumped the tray, roller, and brush in the bathtub and turned the faucet on the whole mess. Fatigue struck a blow between her shoulder blades and she sagged, turned off the faucet, and left the tools percolating in grassy bathtub soup while she went to bed.
When she woke in the morning, she rolled over to face Calliope who was blithely licking her front paw.
“Look at you,” Zoey said grumpily. “You get to lounge around all day, and I have to paint it all again.” She thought about going to look at the bathroom. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. But when she closed her lids, she felt fluorescent green glowing behind them. She pulled on her favorite yellow sweatshirt (“maybe pale yellow?”), slid her feet into a pair of clogs, and took her purse off the hook.
“I never want to see green again,” she told an unsympathetic Calliope as she closed the front door.
When she returned, a safe if boring gallon of “Buttermilk” in hand, she didn’t notice anything at first. It was as she was trudging down the hall to the bathroom that she saw them. Little green paw prints, phosphorescent against the dark wood floor.
“Noooo…” she breathed softly, setting the paint can down. She followed the prints to the bathtub, where everything was just as she left it last night. Other than the footsteps, which led from the sickly pea soup, over the bathtub’s edge, and down the hall. Multiple times. She turned back to the hall, noticing now that there were several trails. One led into her bedroom, across the white carpet (“honestly, what was I thinking with white?”) and up onto her petal pink duvet. She followed another trail into the guest room up to the window seat, where leafy paw prints decorated the ivory pillows. The last trail she tracked down the carpeted stairs and across the living room floor, over the new armchair and to the new couch, where Calliope curled obliviously, nose tucked under mossy paws.
“At least I’ll have something to remember you by after I kill you,” Zoey muttered. Calliope cracked open one eye, an infuriating sliver of impassive green. The unconcerned eye disappeared again. Zoey turned her drooping shoulders toward the stairs and followed the paw prints to what was left of her weekend.