Thursday 9 April 2015

Painting over past memories and nightmares

"You know those test paint patches on the horrible yellow wall?" I said to the decorator yesterday as he began work on our hallway, stairs and landing. "We did those six years ago!" I explained that the reason we'd finally got around to completing the job (see pic on left for completed job) was because, shortly after we experimented with different paint colours, my son had fallen sick. It's only now, six years on, that we've begun to pick up where we left off. "Next is the living room and kitchen, then the back bedroom, the loft, the small bedroom... the whole house needs a fresh coat of paint!"

The hallway, stairs and landing - which, until yesterday, were a horrible grubby yellow complete with the aforementioned test paint patches - featured heavily during my son Ben's anorexia.

The hallway was the place where he'd flee from the dinner table to scream like a primeval animal before banging his skull against the wall as if it would smash.

It was where he would attempt to 'forget' his packed lunch and where I would stand with cold, clammy fear as he crashed down the stairs ready for another hellish day at school.

I remember trying to hug Ben by the radiator in the hallway while he just stood there, rigid and emotionless because the anorexia had completely changed his personality.

In the kitchen at the end of the hall, I would glance nervously up at the stairwell as I sneaked life-giving calorific ingredients into our evening meal, petrified that Ben would run downstairs and I'd be found out. To be discovered would be a fate worse than death.

And the second staircase leading up to  his bedroom... That was where, on countless occasions, I would sit, head in hands, tears streaming down my face, wondering if we would ever get our son back. Or I'd stand outside his bedroom, trying to gain entry, as he forcibly held the door closed. If I did gain entry, he would be violent - or simply sit rigid and emotionless, chanting in that deep, expressionless, robot-like voice that I never want to hear again in my entire life: the voice of anorexia.

Worse, this is the staircase where, on some occasions, I would have a nightmarish image of... well... it's so devastating that I can't describe it here. But it's relevant to my son having suicidal tendancies as the eating disorder imprisoned him in its iron grip.

This is the staircase that I charged up on the evening that I instinctively felt that Ben was doing something dangerous. He was. He was attempting to climb out of the skylight onto the house roof.

Oh my God, there are so many horrific memories associated with our hallway, staircases and landings that it would take a blog post of War-and-Peace proportions to describe them here.

But this week, all of this is being painted over. Gone is the nasty dirty yellow paint, replaced with matt white woodwork and chalky white/blue emulsion (latex) paint to create a restful, coastal look. Gone as well is the filthy deep russet red carpet to be replaced with clean oak flooring and a new contemporary striped carpet on the stairs.

Now I want to repaint the entire house, to help to erase the horrific memories of the past few years - and, if funds permit, replace some of the furniture as well.

The hallway is only the start.

1 comment: