Wisdom, Restraint, and Other Adventures

On a whim, Dan calls and says, “K, so are you going?”

The brief memory of the marshmallow kiss from the Easter party is enough to get me up and out to meet Dan at the gallery opening, which is how I find myself tossing my belongings into an overnight bag and hitting the road at sixty miles per hour to get there in time. (Overnight bag is to stay at Noelle’s to save gas, because I have opening shift tomorrow.)

Barreling across the valley I consider for a moment my own desire to be “that girl.” Meaning that in the artist world, the notion of receiving a sensual welcome kiss from the oh-so-suave man of the hour as he walks in to greet you at a gallery opening, your off-pink keyhole shirt dazzling next to his suede-coat-open-neck-cowboy-look is just too hard to resist. I recognize this fantasy as inherently vain, but make an appearance with high hopes all the same.

Clambering my way up the front porch steps of the gallery I am relived to see that I recognize half the crowd. They are, after all, mostly coffee drinkers. One by one I could point to most of them and call out their favorite drinks. I pick my way through the crowd toward Noelle, who is also wearing pink – but her shirt has guns sketched on it. The true artist among us. Immediately, we get down to business.

“I’m in the ‘happy days’ of my cycle see, so it’s trouble. It’s like someone just plants this little seed of an idea – or maybe it’s not even an idea but still, you wonder about it. What did it mean?” I must seem desperate for advice.

“He’s a bicycle,” Noelle says straight up, and she knows, she lives on campus at the craft school. “Meaning everyone’s taken him for a ride around the block.”

I gasp. I have not heard this phrase since high school and I refuse to partake in the rumor. But still…A bicycle? Everyone? Oh God. I tell her about the mashmallow kiss, thinking this will confirm things.

“Marshmallows are sticky and gross. Ew. Marshmallows? Seriously, Katey!” Noelle is just honest, which is precisely what I need. She’s talking me out of something I know she’s talked herself out of a million times – the tipsy, horny, man-in-sight sort of fever that only leads to trouble. I decide right then and there to forget it and make the most of the party.

Which turns out to be an entirely worthwhile endeavor. LC and CC are there, both of whom I’ve interviewed privately in their studios. I enjoy watching them in this public forum, playing with their children, embracing their husbands, making small talk. It’s a fresh way to bring humanism to the abstract world of artistic concepts.

I catch up with some of the core students, talk about the master’s and the writing, dig my heels into a few conversations about “process” – which artists can never get enough of. Lisa B is there and I finally make the connection between she and her soft-face. smiling partner Nick. We talk shop and guard the last of the chardonnay, doge flying tulips tossed by unruly-cute children, and enjoy the fresh air without the harassment of biting insects.

By the end of the night I completely give up on any fantasies of a rendezvous, which is for the better, but still I can’t help but make a point to say goodnight to Dan as Noelle and I make our way back towards campus. There is a quick kiss on the cheek, a rosy blush, a grip of hands, big hug, and whoosh – goodnight.

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