We perform every action in the absence of Torbutt.
Judah slams doors. Adam shovels snow. I wash all of my late grandmother's glasses. We reorganize the pantry. Adam and Elayna work on scholarship applications.
I take every sample jar of paint in the house and two that Adam and Judah pick up on their way home from dropping Torbutt off for cremation. I paint swatches of everything on Elayna's walls. Grassy Field is too sedate. Sparkling Apple is too bright. Butterfly Forest is just okay. Elayna likes Cobalt Glaze and Grenadine.
We watch Despicable Me and SNL.
We go to the pet store. We look at mice, rats, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards. Elayna needs a new little friend. We each have our own process; Adam couldn't think of another pet for a long time after Jack. Elayna feels that she would do better with a new little friend. Mice and rats don't live long enough, she decides. Three years is not enough. Five years is not enough. She couldn't take it, she says. She bonds hard.
We buy curtains for the living room. Copper faux-silk, embroidered.
I paint the Grenadine and Cobalt Glaze swatches bigger. I stand on my tiptoes to paint Grenadine over her dresser, as high as I can get it. I paint Cobalt Glaze until my hand seizes up. Elayna watches from her bed, with her computer, without her cat. She says thank you when I'm done.