This morning, leaving with Zoey for her after breakfast walk, we went through the front door, which we haven’t done for over a month. Usually, after driving my son to football summer camp, I park at the lake and Zoey and I walk it. Today, however, camp was canceled and we left through the front door.
The sun was out, the birds were flying, and lawn sprinklers had turned off and dropped back into their holding positions in the grass. As I turned toward the door lock, I noticed a smudge of red across my illuminated doorbell. I leaned in to examine it.
I could see the scarlet raised sections of a fingerprint and the middle that was thinned due to the pressure put on it as someone pressed down. What is that? Paint? Blood?!
A list of who could have left the print came to mind.
My daughter had gone—she was my first thought as she is an amazing painter. Perhaps it was her painted pointer finger impression? My husband rarely uses the front door and is meticulous and would know whether or not he had red smudges on his fingers—he would have used his elbow if he didn’t have his house keys on him.
That left my son, my son who leaves greasy prints on every surface of my house. My son who is tall enough that when he touches the stairwell with orange Cheetos dusted digits, I have to pull out my stepladder to rub them out. My son, who at that moment, basking in the canceled practice, was sound asleep. So I left, deciding to deal with it when I got back.
As I strolled along the path leading to DayBreak, it occurred to me that our house hasn’t received its regular volume of carpet cleaning, solar paneling, and ant killing salespeople. We haven’t put out a No Soliciting sign. On most sales attempts I simply don’t answer the door during working hours. Besides, Zoey goes crazy at the chiming of a visitor, it’s enough to put off an unwanted sales pitch—but maybe we’ve inadvertently come up with another dissuasion; red paint or plasma.
Zoey and I finished our walk and I remembered the crimson mark once more. As we entered the house, my son was awake and I asked him about it.
“Oh yeah. Remember that fundraiser for Scout Camp?”
I did. The scout group went around the neighborhood trading cash for painting house numbers on street curbs.
“It’s from that,” he said. “I couldn’t get it off.”
I had to use an Exacto knife to chip the red paint off the doorbell—Zoey wailed each time I pushed too hard and sounded the alarm that someone had arrived. But now that I’ve restored the doorbell, have I also restored the return of window washers and weed killer-killers? Have I opened up my porch to the endless pestering of passerby’s, now that there’s no mark that Jackson Pollock or Ted Bundy live at my home address? Yeah, probably. Hmm…maybe I should open up a can of paint or a vein?