Have you ever walked into your house and thought, “Okay. I really need to clean up the place”?

My life is like a messy room that I wouldn’t dare show to others. I have to sort through everything and decide what I want to keep and what I should throw away. I have to vacuum and steam clean the 35-year-old carpet and possibly replace it if the stains prove too stubborn. I may have to repaint the wall and rearrange the furniture. All these must happen before I can invite someone over.

I have a wall stained with mold. I can’t remove the mold. Believe me, I’ve tried. The best I can do is to paint over it. With a fresh coat of Sunshine Yellow, the mold is no longer visible to others, but I know it’s there. I will always know what’s underneath the bright yellow paint. Sometimes, I want to move out of my messy room and into someone else’s room. He doesn’t have any mold, does he? Of course, he does. But it wouldn’t hurt when I see it. 

I should start cleaning my room today. Throw away old furniture, empty trashcans, and sort through stacks of papers I’ve accumulated over the years. The room wouldn’t be so bad if it were empty. It won’t be so suffocating once it’s clean. I can hide the molds on the wall with bright paint and hang happy pictures over them. I will buy new furniture—a white leather sofa and a chaise lounge. I will hang sheer curtains to let lights through and add some lamps for good measure. Lots of sunshine and bright lights! No one will know what’s underneath the yellow paint, and someone may ask, “My, your room looks gorgeous. May I move in with you?” “Of course,” I will answer, “I’ve been waiting for you.” He will never know why I stare at the yellow wall at night, and when I ask him to move out, he won’t know that it’s time to repaint the walls.

I yearn for a perfect love, one where my imperfect and disheveled room is not a source of shame, but rather an opportunity for collaboration. I dream of a partner who will walk into my room and offer a gentle, supportive hand, saying, “What a marvelous mess you have here. Allow me to assist you with tidying up.”  I want him to help me navigate the chaos of clutter, overlooking the unsightly mold that stains my walls. I want him to tell me I don’t have to paint over the mold because life is all about cleaning the mold, throwing away garbage, and finding happiness in the process. I want to hear him say, “It’s okay. My room is worse.” 

I can’t find him because I don’t show my moldy wall to anyone. I will continue to paint over the mold and blame him for seeing only what’s on the surface. Then the next one. And then the next.

A Mold on the Wall

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