The knock on the door was exactly at 8. So the kid had waited a full 5 minutes after arriving to build up the courage to knock? Or did he just want to show up exactly on time? Anyway, I picked up my mobile and pretended to talk while opening the door. ‘Yeah that… uh… okay Mike, I will call you back’ saying that I hung up the non-call and smiled. The kid was scrawny looking, I’d call him a nerd but I wasn’t sure of that yet. What was my daughter thinking? The kid stretched out his arm by way of hello, I ignored it.
‘Good evening Mr. Dresden‘
‘Yeah, Hi… Ryan right?’
‘Yes Sir, I am here for…’
‘Yeah yeah, I know why you are here. Come inside. She will be down in a few minutes’
He dropped his hand and stepped into the light. My disappointment eased a notch. I’d still go with nerd with those glasses, but he looked alright.
We sat in the drawing room waiting for my daughter to decide what dress was perfect for her date. My eldest daughter had been more trouble. At least the younger one had been good about asking permission. But that didn’t meant I had to play nice now did it? The kid had declined an offer for water. I asked him how he got here, I had seen the car and he told me it was his dad’s.
‘What did you think about the blue houses?’ I asked him
‘Sir?’ He looked confused.
‘The houses on the street. They are all blue, except for our house which is white. What did you think?’
‘I… I didn’t notice’ Poor kid, he was starting to look uncomfortable now.
‘You didn’t notice? Well. Maybe cause its dark.’ I paused and then leaned back in my seat. ‘It’s all because of the silly neighbors you see. When I got the house, all were white. And then I didn’t like my house white so I painted it yellow. My neighbors didn’t like it. So what do you think they did?’ I looked at him, the kid was just about to say something when I cut him short and continued with my ‘story’
‘Well, they tried to get me to follow the standard. But I said I would have none of it. I said I would paint my house any color I like. They went away and I thought that was the end of that. So you know what they did?’
This time I waited until the kid worked up the courage to ask what was it that they did.
‘Well, they all painted their houses yellow! All 11 of them! I thought it was silly, but I let them think they had won. But then… when the last day of painting was done. I painted my house blue. That really got them angry. They tried to get some official reason to force me to change colors… but my house! My rules!’ I laughed. The kid slowly smiled a weak smile and looked longingly at the stairs.
‘Well, they thought painting them all blue would do the trick, but then I just painted my house white again. They haven’t responded since. But I don’t like a white house you know..?’
The kid nodded.
‘Do you know why I told you this?’ I asked
The kid shook his head.
‘Just so you know I can hold a grudge… so mind you step around my daughter’
The kid nodded and said, ‘Yes Sir, Mr. Dresden.’
Moments later my daughter came down and left for her date. It was all okay. I laughed as I closed the door. That went well.
Outside, the two teenagers reached the street and the boy looked around the houses. The girl asked him what it was and the boy explained he was looking for the blue houses. Seeing the confused expression on the girls face the boy recounted the story the father had just said. The girl laughed and explained that there are no blue houses and that it had all been a joke. The boy smiled, but knew that it was a warning. In his mind he said, ‘WTH?’