The whole thing was her idea. Since our favorite restaurant was featuring music of a certain kind with dinner on Valentine’s Day, my wife suggested taking me there the night before, which worked out splendidly. The place was relatively quiet, uncrowded, and the food was wonderful—it always is. Meanwhlle, the lady was flying high.
She’s been renting her piano studio from a lady artist of great vision, passion, and impeccable skill. The two of them are like soul mates, and she’s always wanted one of her landlady’s paintings but hadn’t made a move yet. Waiting for the right moment to visit a gallery and get serious, I suppose. But the landlady and her husband have to sell the property—my wife will continue renting from the new owner—and she’s sorting out her physical affairs. Yesterday she brought two paintings over to my wife’s studio and presented them as gifts in exchange for the pleasure my wife’s music had brought them. My honey was literally speechless.
I sat there in the restaurant bathed in the thrill of her joy. Her eyes, her laugh, even the bones in her face were all humming the same tune. Her energy was like oxygen to me. I sat up straight and leaned in closer to not miss a breath.
Tonight before dinner of a very different sort, carne asada pork burritos with pinto beans, I complained about my day. I told her how much I disliked having to work on my mother’s taxes (!), how frustrated I was that everything I wanted to accomplish was taking so long, and that I was afraid my life would never come together before I die. (An old story in this neck of the woods, appropriately booed.)
After dinner and a couple of catch-up episodes of Downton Abbey on Netflix, she sat down on the sofa wearing new coral pajamas, a big fleece robe, and purple slippers to have yogurt for dessert. Instead of burying my nose in my laptop, I sat there with her and we talked. That may not sound like a big thing, but it is. For some reason, I went on about footwear in 6th grade—engineer boots with taps on the heels—and how the school banned them so we wouldn’t be “hoods.” She remembered old houses of her childhood and how privileged she felt when she got her own bed. We talked about our old house in Maryland. She wondered if she’d ever get to stop moving her pianos.
Later she came out of the bedroom to kiss me goodnight. She’s light on her feet. I can pick her up with ease, all muscle and spin.
No wonder artists give her paintings.
No wonder I’m here.