In the span of a breath, everything changed. And with no warning, my planetary alignment shifted.
I stood there listening as he stormed his complaints about the changing art world, how these modern art directors no longer wanted him in their galleries, they couldn’t understand his frank analysis of society or his painted images of Shrek amidst wasted dry lands of mixed media, they were ignorant of his fame, his worldly talent. Didn’t we all agree? I was impressed he had managed to pull himself together for the opening, but I could still smell Lord knows how many days of alcohol on his clothes, it seeped from his pores as he droned on and on. He held a stumpy cigar in one hand, lit, completely unaware that no one smoked indoors these days, and we all indulged him because he was the star of the show. The other hand rested on a rickety cane, which he used to slam to the ground when he argued a point. It seemed to give him great satisfaction when everyone around him jumped in fear. I was trying hard to feign interest in his stories when out of the corner of my eye, I saw my ex lover walk in the gallery.
My moment had arrived. All those futile attempts coveting his company, years of rejected romantic notions, of yearning for even the flimsiest illusion of a relationship (which I would have been fine with by the way) all those years and here he was, heedlessly walking back into my life. Had I not already downed two glasses of wine I never would have had the nerve to walk right up to him with a casual attempt to welcome him to our opening. He was as handsome as always and as mysterious and difficult to read as usual. By the time my heart recovered from its arrhythmic palpitations, it was too late to retreat when I realized he had not come alone, furthermore he was not affected by my presence.
The audacity of him returning to parade a new lover before me was almost too much to bear; it was way too soon, an eternity of time would be too soon after what he had put me through. But, when I caught a glimpse of her my world suddenly changed its orbit.
She was far from what you would define as a beautiful seductress or a stunning femme fatale. Surprisingly, she was rather simple; her clothes almost drab, a short brown dress and a cream knit sweater hung loosely over her shoulders, low, worn-out boots instead of the usual stilettos women wore to these types of events. She had a nervous habit of tugging at her necklace which made her seem awkwardly out of place in this obnoxious world of self-labeled creative geniuses and performance freaks. She was obviously too real for this illusion of a world, and it hit me then that he had no idea how to handle her, or any woman he’d ever been with.
As she looked up at me, her brown hair cascaded the most beautiful features I had ever seen on a face. Our magnetic pull shocked me with a power so strong it defined all celestial gravity. I think he might have started talking at that point, but I can’t tell you what he said, or whether it mattered much to us. My entire raison d'etre became her, as her entire raison d'etre became me.
The rest of the evening found us giggling over drunk, clumsy artists, their depictions of the female form, and pondering the sexual innuendos of old Dutch painters. Everything else that evening remains a haze, and his presence in my heart is now long forgotten.
|“At night I dream that you and I are two plants|
that grew together, roots entwined,
and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth,
since we are made of earth and rain.”
― Pablo Neruda, Regalo De Un Poeta/ Gift Of A Poet