"So... how was it?" I had just returned from meeting up with the lawn guy from New York and rather than spending the remainder of my evening with my lap top writing, I just really wanted to hang out with the guy from down the shore. Being out with a stranger made me appreciate my friendship with the guy from down the shore all that much more.
"It was okay." I explained. "No major sparks, but it was good to talk about New York. He's a model and an actor - a nice guy, but I wasn't really feeling it."
"Ah, and I was hoping this one would be a winner for you."
"I know, right? It makes for great chick flick material with us both showing up in our hometowns and meeting on the lake." Although, I've also considered, guy from down the shore and I would make for even better chick flick material. In fact, I started on a novel that has the potential to turn screen play based on some of this past year. But the characters in that story are fictional - meaning, I'm not me, and the guy from down the shore isn't him.
"Oh, but get this," I continued on, "turns out this guy dated the girl who worked at the ice cream place across the lake - the girl you use to like - back when he was 17 and she had just finished junior high."
"Seriously? No wonder I didn't stand a chance. Man, she was so hot when she was 14. I ran into her in Vegas a few years ago, but she's already married and has a couple of kids. So do you like my painting?" He motioned to the window behind him. "I just painted it today."
We were sitting on his screened-in front porch on a couple of wicker chairs. I stood up and inspected the yellow on the house, and the white trim of the window frame, but I was confused because nothing looked freshly painted.
"It's still drying, but I went ahead and hung it up anyway."
I then realized he was talking about a painting, painting, rather than a home improvement project. Through the window I could see on the far side living room wall a stunning painting of a half dozen sailboats.
Immediately my mind flashbacked to that January day when I spent the afternoon at The Met in New York. As I walked up 5th Avenue towards the museum, a vendor's paintings caught my attention and I stopped to inquire about his work.
I expressed my admiration for his paintings and then asked if he had studied art at one of the universities in New York. "I actually never received a formal education," He explained. "I knew they wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do. So no - no degree. Instead, I learned my technique from children. I taught some art classes for kids and picked up on some of what they did."
I loved his paintings, and wished so badly I could make a purchase. But I had just been informed that morning I didn't get the epic job I thought I was a shoe in for. It didn't make sense to make such a purchase when I didn't have a job - let alone a home to hang the painting up in.
I teared up as walked away from this man's art stand. Images of all the artwork I lost in the city's most recent hurricane played like a slideshow through my head.
"I typically do water color," the guy from down the shore brought me back to the present. "But this one is oil."
By then I had entered the living room to get a better look. "It's beautiful." I stated as I stared at the shapes and colors before me. "I didn't know you painted. I'd love to see more of your work sometime."
(Yes, there will be a part IV... )