Jake snuck into the house, a dozen long-stem yellow roses clutched behind his back. He felt badly for having to cancel their trip to Venezuela and decided he would make up for it somehow. His entrance to the family room was met with a shoe sailing through the air and his ears pierced by the screaming voice of his wife.
“KITTY, COME BACK HERE YOU LOUSY DOG!” Another shoe sailed through the air, nearly missing Jake’s nose. He quickly dove behind the sofa to the right of the door.
“HEY, WATCH WHERE YOU THROW THOSE THINGS!” He shouted; she was obviously not aware he had arrived. All his ideas of romance were rapidly fading as he hid behind the sofa. Stillness fell over the room. Jake took a chance and peaked over the back toward his wife. Her sweet face flushed with anger, stood staring back at him.
Raising his hands in mock surrender, he stood. “Listen honey, I know you’re upset I cancelled our trip, but do you really think pelting me with shoes will solve anything?” He tried sounding sweet and sensitive, but it seemed to infuriate her all the more.
She lunged after him, with a rolled up newspaper in hand and began smacking him with it. He grabbed her wrists. “What has gotten into you?”
“That dog!” Her voice quivered as she spoke through clenched teeth. “He got into my paintings!”
“Paint…? But honey, you don’t paint…” he tried making sense of the situation. “Come on, let’s have a seat and talk about this.” He had forgotten about the flowers, walked around the sofa tugging her with him. With a pout on her lips, she followed him as he sat.
“Now, tell me all about it…” Jake spoke just above a whisper, more from trying to keep laughter at bay than concern, but he would not let her know that. “What are you painting? I somehow missed that you paint.” He wanted to divert her from the dog.
It worked, he hoped, “Oh, it’s just paint by numbers. I found some online in Venezuela. There are several, actually: one of Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, Isla Margarita—or Margarita Island (one of the most popular places in all of Venezuela), an aerial picture of Canaima National Park—which is where Angel Falls can be found, a cable car gliding up Pico Bolivar—a mountain that rises over 5,000 kilometers (that’s 16,600 feet). Here, let me show you…” she popped up off the sofa and scurried across the room to where the paintings lay strewn on the floor.
Louise stopped abruptly just before reaching the paintings. She turned, frown planted back on her mouth, “Don’t think I’ve forgotten Kitty’s mischief!” A glimmer in her eye told Jake that Kitty was deep in trouble. She gathered the paintings from the floor, some of the boxes torn from Kitty’s teeth.
Moments later, she was back on the sofa, showing off her paintings to Jake. “Oh, and I bought you something, too.” She said as she pulled a box containing a one thousand piece puzzle of the map of Venezuela. “You can put it together, and then we can mark all the places we would have seen if we were there.”
They looked at the box covers for a few moments, oohing and aahing over the beauty of the mountainside Angel Falls rushed over, the sandy beaches and palms of Isla Margarita. They were awed by the breathtaking beauty of Pico Bolivar from the view of the cable car.
Jake leaned in close to Louise’s ear, “So, do you think you can paint them as lovely as the picture here?” he whispered in a teasing tone.
“Now listen here,” she sat straight up and gave him a stern look. “I may not be a painter yet, but where do you think Cristübal Rojas started?”
“Well, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t paint by numbers.” He was making her laugh, he could tell the way her mouth began to twitch in attempt to keep from smiling.
“Maybe not, but he wasn’t famous from the beginning either…hey where are you going?” Jake jumped up from the sofa as though fire had been lit under him.
“I almost forgot…” he began to say as he bent behind the couch and grabbed the flowers. He walked around, knelt in front of her and said, “I’m sorry we can’t go now, but I promise one day we will.”
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