She walked through the door, and every head turned. An air of confidence followed her as she strolled through the crowd. She smiled and the room lit up. I was studying a painting until she came up behind me.
“Pondering the meaning of this painting?” she asked, a smile playing on her lips.
Startled out of my private reverie, I turned around smiling sheepishly and laughed.
“No not really to be honest.”
She cocked her eyebrows, amused she asked, “No?”
“No, because what it means to me would be different from that of what the artist had. The artist’s own history influenced the choice of colours and medium. Therefore, the artist painted this piece to mean something to her. But my own history will be different to hers and therefore it has a different meaning to me.” I rattled off.
I turned to face her and suddenly blushed, bemused at my audacity, “sorry, didn’t mean to lecture you there.”
She laughs, a husky sensual laugh, only loud enough for me to hear.
“Two things,” she says, “firstly, don’t worry about this so called lecture. I’m rather tired of people trying to think of the meanings and then thinking that they know the artist intimately. It’s not often I actually find someone who is bold enough to think and even bolder to say it aloud. Secondly, how do you know it’s a woman? The artist I mean.”
“Ooh, would you believe me if I said gut instinct?” I say as I look at the painting once again. I feel her eyes studying my face; feel them tracing my jaw, then my neck.
She takes a step closer, so I can feel her warmth radiating onto my skin and I can hint a soft trace of her perfume. She leans even closer till her lips nearly touch my ear.
“I think it’s more than just a gut feeling,” she whispers into my ear.
Suddenly all five of my senses are overwhelmed by her presence. My head formulates the response but my mouth is unable to pronounce the words. She stands back taking out a card, scribbles something on the back and hands it to me.
“I think that you and I can have a great discussion about your gut feelings. I have to be here to till the end, make the rounds you know. But if you’re still around by the end, I would love for you to join me for a coffee. If you do leave before, my number and address is on the back. We can make a date and have this coffee and discussion.” She says smiling and walks away.
I look down at the card, read the name. Toni Mendez, now that sounds familiar. I look back at the painting and finally read the description on the side:
“Longing, by Toni Mendez.”
I spin around, only to catch her smiling at me and winking. I blush even more. How did I not realise that she was the artist with her questions? And how could I answer them the way I did?
I suddenly panic at the thought of how will answer this “gut feeling” answer I gave. I rattle off a few possibilities in my head, but then thought a gut feeling explanation should not be thought of. It should be spontaneous. Ah, I think to myself, you just declared that you will be waiting then for the end.
I spend the next few hours moving from one painting to another. None of them however caught my attention like the first piece. There was something about that painting that enthralled me. Half gazing at the paintings, half scanning the crowd just to see her smiling and laughing at potential buyers. I’m going to buy that piece I think to myself, and make my way back to the piece. But when I got there, I saw a “sold” sticker over the price.
“Fuck.” I mutter underneath my breath and turn around. Nearly bumping into Toni.
“Oh. Sorry. I didn’t realise you were behind me.” I say apologetic.
“That’s how I wanted it,” she laughs, “you look disappointed.”
“Yeah, I was going to buy this piece but I see that someone else had the offer.”
The owner of the gallery walks up to me holding a few papers.
“Excuse me Miss; these are the papers verifying that the piece is now yours. Would like us to hold it here until you depart or would you like for us to place it in your car?”
“I think there must be a mix up, I didn’t buy this piece,” I reply confused.
He laughs “Miss Mendez here gave me strict instructions to refuse any obstructions. I believe, Miss, that she has given you the piece.”
“Take it up to my place John, she’ll collect it from there later.” She says smiling.
John turns with a smile and directs his staff members. I look at Toni, not really sure what to say.
“Uh, I don’t think a thank you would be the right words to describe the honour,” I say to her, “I never introduced myself, I’m Carla.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Carla,” she says taking my hand, “consider it a gift from an appreciative artist to a truthful observer.”
“More likely an uneducated observer compared to the masses of art connoisseurs present here.”
“Ah, see, the connoisseurs are too cocky with their explanations. The uneducated, as you describe yourself, are the truthful observers. They do not allow their so called knowledge to cloud their judgements. These connoisseurs allow other influences to dictate their instincts.” She says as she slowly lets go of my hand and walks away.
The night finally came to an end, and as the last few people strayed, Toni made her way to me with John.
“John, I’d like to introduce you to Carla.” She says as she flanks my side.
“Pleasure to meet you Carla; you must’ve made a big impression. Toni usually loathes half of the attendees on nights such as this,” he says as we shook hands.
I laugh half embarrassed, “I think it was my audacity of challenging her question on her own piece.”
“John and I are old friends,” she explains, “If it wasn’t for him, I’d still be painting in my studio for nothing.”
“Now that’s not true,” turning towards me he says, “you look familiar, if you don’t me asking, are you from around here?”
“Not originally, but I do own the coffee shop on the corner. My aim was to buy a few paintings tonight for my shop. I believe the paintings in a shop make the atmosphere. I want people to think about a painting and think how it affects them. And why they like it or not.”
“A philosopher and an art lover, she gets better by the second Toni. Now you two enjoy the rest of the night.” He wishes us well and walks away.
She places her arm on mine and leads me to her place. Her lounge completely different from what I had imagined it to be. I had imagined it to be like those pictures you see in the magazines. Very modernistic, and sometimes slightly cold. However, it had that homely feeling to it. In which you become comfortable really quickly and relax immediately.
She walks to the kitchen and switches the jug on. Gets two mugs down from the self and looks at me.
“Now let me see if I can get this right.”
“Get what right?” I ask.
“Your taste in coffee. A philosopher and an art lover…a dreamer yet I believe I know you know when its time to dream realistically. Mysterious and passionate. So…by that conclusion…I’d say you like a rich coffee. Hmmm, Columbian. And two sugars.” She smiles.
“My god, how do you that?” I asked, mystified by her accuracy.
“Now that would be telling,” she says smilingly.
She finishes with our coffees and places them on the coffee table, tucks her legs in underneath her as she sits. Slowly sipping on her coffee while she looks at me. After a few sips, she puts her mug down.
“So about this gut feeling you had.”
I take a sip, and look at the floor, “I only saw the name of your piece after I spoke to you. But I definitely did feel a sense of longing in it. But it was a woman longing for another woman, but it’s a different longing. Not that “we were together and now we’re apart longing”. It’s that longing for that special woman, that love that you know is out there and you know you deserve it. But you haven’t found it. And you went out searching, but only found heartache. Because you love with all you have and they don’t. And then you doubt everything. Yeah…that’s what my gut told me” I say self-consciously.
She sits back and thinks for a while. I can see that there is a certain question that she wants to ask, but not completely sure if she should or not.
“You’re wondering how I would know about the feeling of a woman longing for another woman aye?” I ask laughingly.
She laughs, but then looks at me with a sense of sadness, “not completely, I was just wondering how it’s possible to find another being with that same sense of longing. And is able to explain it so accurately.”
I take a sip of my coffee, looking at the floor again.
“I guess this is how artists feel when their pieces are on display. Exposed to everyone to see. It must take a certain degree of courage, to display your emotions so freely. I know I don’t have that courage” I say raspy.
She scoots closer, takes the mug out of my hand, places it on the table, and takes my hands in hers.
“We artists, we hide behind our paintings. As you said before, what you take out of a painting is different to what we painted it for. You, you just displayed more courage than some artists ever will. You just opened yourself to me.”
I look up into her eyes, and see an admiration in her eyes. She must’ve seen the hurt in mine, for her eyes welled up in tears.
“You’ve been hurt really bad. I can see it, in your eyes. I can hear it in your words.”
I sit there; quiet, too afraid to speak. She wraps her arms around me and holds me tight. I gave a quick laugh, and she pulls back and looks at me quizzically.
“If I told you why I just laughed, you’d probably think I’m crazy and call security.” I tell her.
“Hmm, what if I say it then?”
“You can try, but I’ll be really amazed if you got it.”
“You were thinking about how earlier this evening you felt an attraction between us, and never thought that the night would turn out like this?”
I look at her, amazed as I said I would be. She laughs, stands up and walks over towards the ranch doors.
“I’m an artist remember, I can read people. But mind you, you’re a bit trickier.”
She slides the door open and walks out onto the balcony, “come here, I want to show you something.”
I join her, and she slides her hand into mine. Looking into my eyes, “explain to me what you see. The first thoughts that pop into your head.” she says as she points to the stars.
“Hope. I see hope. And certainty.”
She turns to face me, and gently kisses me. She whispers softly, “I’m not here to hurt you babe. Trust me”
“I just don’t want you to think I’m here cause of who you are. I mean, famous and all.”
“I know babe. I know.”
With that, she leads me to her bedroom. We slowly run our hands over each other. Exploring each others bodies, tenderly touching, gently kissing. Slowly she unbuttons my shirt, letting it slide of my shoulders. I pull her top off, exposing her skin. Soft and smooth. Her hands slide down my body, down to my pants.
While she kisses my neck, she unbuttons my jeans and stands behind me. She kisses my shoulders, my back and her hands slide down in my jeans. Between my legs. Her fingers gently massaging my clit. A bit harder and I feel my knees starting to buckle. And urge overtakes me and I pull her in front of me, yanking off my pants and struggling with hers. Once they’re off, I push her onto the bed. Kissing her breasts. I fumble with her bra, and I struggle to take it off.
“I need help,” I breathe “I can’t undo it.”
She laughs as she takes her bra off; I cup her breasts, slowly running my thumbs over her erect nipples. She sighs and sinks back deeper into the pillows. I run my eyes over her perfect complexion, her perfectly shaped breasts, marvelling at her beauty. Tentatively I take her nipple into my mouth. Running my tongue over and over it. She sighs louder, arching her back more. I take the other nipple into my mouth, this time gently nibbling. She pulls my head deeper into her.
Suddenly she spins me around, she’s now on top. Smoothly she removes my bra, and kisses way down my stomach. She lifts my hips and removes my panties. Her hands slide up my thigh and I feel her warm breath over my pussy. I shiver with anticipation and then I feel her taking my clit in her mouth. I gasp; I grab the sheets as my back arches with pleasure. Her tongue works around my clit, she sucks and bites gently. And within a few seconds, I come inside her mouth.
She comes up smiling, and lies down beside me. I feel my heart beating and my pussy pulsing.
“Take a few minutes to recover babe,” she huskily says in my ear, “that was a big one.”
I roll over on top of her, running my fingers down her body. Down her inner thigh and slowly tease her pussy. She gasps as I brush my hand over her clit. I can feel her warmth and she’s wet. I gently slide my fingers in side her, while my thumb rests on her clit. I massage her, slowly pulling my fingers in and out. I slowly increase the speed and she starts to move her hips. I feel her tighten around my fingers so I push down harder. She breathes in sharply.
“Hun, right there.” She gasps
I keep that spot and push down harder and faster. I feel her building and suddenly she explodes. Her back arches and she pulls me closer. I feel her heart beat against mine.
I slowly slide in beside her, holding her tight, still hearing her heart. She turns to me and looks into my eyes.
“Can you hear that babe?” she asks.
“Your heart or the ocean?”
“No, listen closely.”
I strain my ears, but I can still only hear the ocean.
“what can you hear babe?” I ask her
“Peace,babe. I think we found peace.”
And with that we fell asleep in each others arms.