Art, Dinner, Kisses and Walter.
Tuesday I had dinner with my mother and her new husband Roger. Before going to dinner, Roger picked me up from the high school and we drove across town to meet with my mother at an art gallery. It was a small yet noticeable building, the outside painted mellow blues and yellows; there was no visible sign that said it was a gallery, no banner or anything, and not much of the art was on display in windows—though none of this would stop you from getting the impression that the building was anything other than an art gallery. More than it's look, it had some air about it...the reeking stench of art.
My mother had recently finished a batch of paintings that were ...view middle of the document...
For example, one picture that seemed to be very popular showed a young boy, around sixteen-seventeen, sitting on his bike and smoking a cigarette; but where his eyes should have been she had painted the hand from another picture, covering it up in a strange and almost unnerving way. Another painting that people ogled depicted a young girl sitting on a bench with a small dog on her lap. The dog is looking up at the girl who is ignoring it; a speech bubble at the dog's lips says: “Feed me...” And another at the girl's that reads: “LOL!”
What I noticed the most, walking through the gallery with my mother's new husband, was how many people looked at the art, talked about it, specifically about how they “simply must have it”, but would then leave without buying. I'm not terribly artistic (stick people and square houses), but I can understand the quiet rage my mother must feel from time to time, when people tell her how much they love her work, but don't buy it. There were also a number of people who gravitated towards my mother who was standing with the owner of the gallery, a tall, slender, almost boyish looking woman named Claria. She had on a black sweater, with the sleeves rolled up and a bright white watch on one wrist, a bright white bracelet on the other. More people than I could keep count of would approach my mother and ask her what her inspiration was, or what the various pieces meant (especially the one with the boy with the hand over his eyes). And my mother could never quite say, never put forth an answer. I quickly decided that she was being coy to hide the real answer: money. Her old, Bob Rossian style wasn't selling, so she tried her hand at dangerous—or whatever her idea of dangerous is.
I stood next to my mother, trying to act as casual as possible even though the number of people in the building was making me uncomfortable. Roger played the good-husband, standing by my mother in her hour of achievement, and when there was finally a pause among the people approaching her, he whispered something in her ear and she nodded, then smiled.
“Ready to eat, Kirsten?” Roger said, putting his arm around my mother and running his hand down her arm.
In short time we were in the car and back on the road. The two adults in the front seat had exchanged a number of silent gestures and it was decided we would eat at Izzy's. I hadn't eat there since I was little; all I could recall about it was a returned feeling of being stuffed—overfilled—on a few too many slices of pizza. The fear always rises when eating at a place you haven't been to since you were little. Since then your palate has advanced (or regressed even further), you're no longer the same person and it would be a shame for a childhood memory to lose a bit of magic after returning only to discover the food was terrible (like visiting the old schoolyard just to see it's a giant dump).
The lunch of was one of the most awkward I have ever experienced. For the first twenty minutes or so,...