“I don’t like looking at these grey things. Can we do anything about that?” she said.
I blinked at her owlishly, bemused. I’d been deep into the tabletop gaming hobby for fifteen years and my shelves sagged with the weight of a hundred boxes, but I’d never considered painting any of the sculpted plastic inside them.
I was an awful artist, and (outside of some dabbling with Games Workshop Gondor knights) never a voluntary one. After six months with my then girlfriend Amanda, I realized that I could do it for her.
Little by little, colors bled into the bedrock of our relationship. We converted a used IKEA computer desk to a paint station. Almost every spare minute we had we spent bonding over brushes and dye. When Amanda switched to a graveyard shift, she would take her minis and supplies. I would stay awake until 3 AM in the morning, working on my own little project and chatting with her over Skype. We were always excited to share our efforts with each other the next day.
I’ll never forget the weekends spent watching Mad Men and inexpertly slathering cultists with a basecoat of Vallejo Color black, entirely oblivious to the concept of primer. Our grizzled boxer Moose was always a presence, his phlegmy snore a comfort to us.
Those ugly painted things.