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I was almost finished with unpacking all our boxes when I came across the painting I bought just before we moved. Unwrapped of the packing paper, I set it on the couch and stepped back to study it a little. It was different but I liked the vibrant colors and the blurred images. The frame was a dark, almost black wood with fine but elaborate carvings. There was a small scribbled signature on the bottom right corner, but I couldn’t tell what it was. If I squinted my eyes, I could make out that it was a room with sunlight streaming in and a girl sitting on a couch facing a man standing at her feet. The smell of the painting was a little musty and although the canvas was dirty, I could still imagine it hanging in a fine mansion somewhere. You can’t blame me for fantasizing, it was fun, but I decided that I would hang the picture in the hallway that lead to the back door, keeping it out of sight mostly, but adding a touch of color to the space.
Life was different between Michael and me, now. With our new mortgage only a third of what it had been in Connecticut, the tension of never having enough money in our bank account was fading away, even though it had only been a little over two weeks. The depressing amount of debt on our credit cards was still there but now we felt like we had a chance to make our life together work. Away from the scrutiny of his family and our affluent friends, I felt like we had the freedom to reinvent our lives to what we wanted. The stillness of the frozen world around us was healing and our nights in front of the fire were the best we had experienced since we started dating. Michael was actually looking at me with admiration instead of irritation and I found him more interesting as he donned work gloves to scrape and paint the walls of our home instead of just being the smart bank manager.I smelled something and ran into the living room... (continued here)