I waited till he wasn’t looking,
Then tore the paper from the walls.
He thought they’d crumble if exposed,
So we waited, and did nothing,
And lived with the dull paper
Made brighter by a few stickers
The children left behind.
I couldn’t wait any longer,
Even though I knew I couldn’t
Fix everything alone.
That’s why he wanted to wait;
I knew that too. He didn’t have
Time for repairs when things were
Fine, if dull. When left alone.
I did it anyway, for myself.
Because not doing was worse
Than fighting about who fixes what,
Or arguing about whether to paint
Or repaper, not knowing if we’d
Even have walls. Somebody had
To tear away the old.
It peeled off quickly, ready
To let go. Relieved to let go,
With only a few stubborn spots,
Stuck bits needing more attention
Than I wanted to give, so I left
Them for another day. Left it all
So he could see the walls had held,
Ugly and bare, with a few cracks,
Yes, but only a bit of separation
After all this time. Nothing
That can’t be fixed.