Monday, August 23, 2010

Misplaced

We are in her 'living room' if you could call it that. In a house this large, I am not sure what each room is 'formally' called. I am trying desperately to listen to what she is saying, clinging to the words one at a time. But I am finding that with each word that I am hearing, I am losing the overall point of what she is saying. It is sounding like, "You......know..........he...........likes..............art.............so................I................bought.............him............." I am thinking of my sister when she speaks. Which is odd to me at first since I cannot see what they might have in common. My sister is short in stature (but not attitude), with spiked red/purple hair. Her mannerisms are quick and purposeful. Her voice is authoritative and direct as if everyone she is speaking with is a potential employee or 'household hand.' She is fond of saying that, 'household hand.' These are people who assist her in running her household.

The woman who stands before me is in no way like my sister. Or, so it seems now. She is tall and blond. She is not what I would call pretty, but her face is somehow catchy. I look for features that I am attracted to, and I leave her face empty-handed. Her eyes are small and brown. Set close together. Her eyebrows do not look waxed or professionally done, although I cannot believe standing in this room that she does them herself. I cannot remember after I leave her face what her smile looks like. Her hair is cut expensively, yet I have seen her wear it numerous ways and I am confused by it. She has medium sized breasts (that do not look purchased) and her stomach is flat. Her body is firm, yet it does not look like she works out. She is still talking (describing all the art), but I am not listening.

My eye wanders over to a far corner of this 'living room' and there I spot high on a small wall what looks like a piece of coal in this gleaming, shiny room. Abruptly and uncharacteristically, I interrupt her with a "Ah-hm," feigning complete intrigue in what she has just said. She pauses slightly, and I take this opportunity to ask her about the piece of 'art' that I have seen on the far wall. "Which one?" she says. I point to where I am looking and I say, "The one that looks like it might have texture. It looks like it might be cut? Or there might be something which has been applied to it?" I am not sure now what exactly it is. Oil? Mixed Media? And I have presumptuously (and shockingly even to me) walked away from her and begun to make my way over to the art. When I am close to it I see that it is indeed an oil. It is simply a medium sized (I would say 16 x 16) piece of stretched and blocked canvas. It has been painted what looks like a washed rust color. There is a darker rust colored square placed in the lower left hand corner. But the square is not measured. It is not exact. It almost looks like it could be another shape. A heart? I am powerfully drawn to this work.

I read these words which are placed on the right side,

My father died when he was 42. I am 42.

They are more scrawled than written. The print is legible, but not neat or uniform. It looks like they are written from a dark, sad place. Then below that, "Love" and a word that I cannot read from where I am standing. It almost fades in to the painting. Is that an R? I have read these words before she has even started to cross the room and immediately I am picturing a man, heavily tattooed with a goatee creating this piece of art which has quickly and almost violently spoken to me in a matter of seconds. I am having trouble keeping tears out of my eyes. Ramon? I think this man is dark-complected. He has long hair and it is tied back in a ponytail. Where he is working it is dirty as if in his rush to create art he has not taken the time to clean anything. When he creates this piece his heart is broken. Or breaking.

She is beside me now. Before she can speak I hear myself quietly murmuring, "I have to know the artist. Who did this?" And she is saying, "Oh, that! Y'know funny story. I don't even know where that came from! I don't even know the artist! Dave and I were in a posh restaurant. No! Actually it was a hole-in-the-wall. Yes! It was Luigi's. We just love the pasta there! Did you know it's homemade? Anyway. We were eating there and I saw this piece leaning up against a wall like someone just left it there! Do you know I just had to have it? I called the owner - you know - he is Lorenzo - what's his last name? Not important! I told him - I just have to have that painting. How much do you want for it? And he gave it to me!" Again, I hear myself saying, "Well do you know who did it? And can you read that bottom part. It says 'love' then something I cannot read."

She makes a sound that is part laugh, part scoff? "I didn't even know it said anything till now! What's that say?" And then she repeats what I have already read.

My dad died when I was 42. I am 42.

She stops talking and is quiet. It is hard to read what she might be thinking. If she is thinking. I say quietly, "It's kind of sad."

We are interrupted then by a dog, or a child, or food burning.

I leave that place and I do not know who did that painting. But, I want to know that person. I want to feel that passion. Who did that? I want to know. I have to know.

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