I came home exhausted. I just finished showing Mr. Francis at the Francis Gallery my portfolio.
“How did it go?” Max asked.
“I stood before the Inquisition and the verdict isn’t in.”
“Did he like your work?”
“Every word and gesture he made was suffused with boredom.” I shrugged. “But he kept my portfolio.”
Max embraced me. “That’s a very good sign.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I said, leaning my head on his shoulder. “Shouldn’t he have been more enthusiastic?”
“Think of it this way –you don’t show enthusiasm when you’re buying a house or haggling with an antique dealer.”
“That’s what I feel like – an antique.”
Max lifted my chin and looked me in the eye. “You’re anything but! You may be mature, but you’ve always had drive. It took a lot of courage to put yourself on the line.”
I smiled weakly. “Thanks.”
Max patted my shoulder. “Lucia always makes you feel better. Call her.”
Lucia is my dearest friend. At the moment, she and Sky were on a sail around the world aboard their yacht the Golden Fleece. We were neighbors on beautiful Martini Cove Island and regretfully, we all left for the same sad reasons.
Lucia answered the phone, “Ahoy, the Golden Fleece. Lucia speaking.”
“Matey! Good to hear you!”
“Where are you now?”
“On board, anchored in Majorca. Cool but divine. Wish you were here!”
I sighed. “So do I. It’s a zillion degrees here and I’ve just been on the grill with Mr. Francis, a gallery owner. I’m trying to get a show for my watercolors but I just don’t know. He didn’t seem excited about my work. I need for people to know Sylvia is here.”
“What about all those years when you were manager of Presentation Is Everything? You’ve left your mark.”
“But that was Max’s mark, not mine personally. Who cares about Sylvia anyway?”
“You want validation?”
“Let me tell you, Matey. You can order champagne from room service but you can’t order validation. It’s an inside job.”
“Yes, yes, I know. But I’m getting old. I’m almost 70! Maybe I should give up the idea of having a show.”
“You’ll be 70 anyway.” She paused. “I love this quote from George Eliot – “It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” Think it over. I know everything will be ship-shape. You’re just that sort.”
I love this quote from George Eliot – “It’s never too late to become what you might have been.”
I chewed on it for a week. Then one day when I was sitting in the garden, I saw a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower. He had the ability to fly up, down, forward, backward and even hover in mid air. If the hummingbird can change direction – why not me? What am I waiting for? I love painting – Mr. Francis or no Mr. Francis.
I started a new watercolor. That was enough!
One afternoon, I heard the phone ring. Max walked toward me, holding it out. He whispered. “The voice is brimming with ennui. I think it’s your Mr. Francis.”
I took the phone. Go ahead, Mr. Francis, let me have it between the eyes.
“Yes, yes, yes. Ah, ha. O.K., All right. Thank you.” I hung up.
I took a deep breath. “Max, I’m going to have a show.”