It was Kim's fault we showed up to the opening after it had closed. It's just that she has that paying job in where might as well be Canada and they kept her late. Then there was the traffic of a Friday when the world gets off work. A change out of her scrubs into proper Kim going out attire coupled with a bad decision on my part (imagine that) put us at the six to eight show at eight forty. I don't know what fashionably late is but figure forty minutes crawls out into the darkness of unfashionable territory where you can dance to the music of awkward silence which is kind of the way I dance anyway. So we just walked in while mumbling to each other, Do you think we can go in? There are people in there. The door is unlocked. We won't stay long. We didn't stay long 'cause that's just rude, inappropriate, downright unconcerned with others when you think about it.
Due to our neglect I didn't get the photograph. I saw it. Knew it when I saw it. A synapse of that is what I want to show you fired in my brain. Kim and I had just walked out of the Como Green Grocer after Slater and Shelby had walked in to say, The gallery is closed. You're too late. Then I had a slight panic attack while Kim bought out the store. Then she finished and then decided to buy a cookbook and then we said, Bye, and then we walked out the door and I turned to the left. There it was, the photograph. There was Sharon.
She was alone on a sidewalk in the dark in front of a yellow glow. It was the perfect light. It hugged her from behind, came over her shoulders and softened around her face. She stood small but distinguished there. Any photographer worth their salt would have taken the camera out of the bag, knelt down, steadied the camera vertically on the ground and snapped. I instead said, Sharon, and saw her face as she looked to register my voice. Then I remembered, She is blind. She is trying to recall where she heard my voice and we've only talked briefly once. No photograph because I immediately said, It's Shea.
You don't get the photograph because she smiled relief and I hurried to hug her. Hugged her because she is so brave and lovely and strong and her smile draws you into a world where horses are made of driftwood. I said, Sharon, you look beautiful tonight.
She touched my shirt with her palm and said, You look beautiful in red. That is red, right? I think I see red.
Yes, and for a moment I felt beautiful in red.
I have stood in the Louvre, a Mississippi girl at age eighteen directly in front of The Sunflowers. Before Josh told me of Vincent and Theo I was critical of that series of paintings. From a stop sign on a back road taken to the Causeyville General Store all the way to one in a crowd around a highly secured Mona Lisa I didn't understand all the ado until Josh talked about Leonardo. I was unaware of Picasso until Josh gave me The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. He may have actually said, Shut up and read this.
I guess what I am trying to say is I never fell in love with any art until I fell in love with the artist's story.
Maybe I am saying I am grateful for beautiful stories.