Early summer was in to full swing. Aria and Kiev had developed a daily schedule of events over the past several weeks that didn’t vary much from what Rudy could tell. He was happy that Sasha began showing up more to specifically spend time with Kiev. He’d noticed at least once a day, Kiev played the opera CD, usually turned to maximum volume. Sometimes the sounds of blaring horns and cranes synched with a particular aria, adding a strange sophistication to the industrial noises. Some people pointed, others lingered outside the fence at Kensington, maneuvering their faces between the bars and shrubs to see the several rows of sculptures around Kiev’s home. His production increased, again, to the point that Trish was affected.
“I agreed to have Aria stay here,” Trish’s statement was pregnant with meaning.
“Yes. And.” Rudy already had a response ready.
“Do you really expect me to live like this, Rudy?”
“Like what?” He closed the recipe book, placing it back on the shelf in the study.
“Have you been out back lately? Kiev has his clay things lined up outside the house. It looks like an army of idols. Distasteful and blasphemous. I can’t have this.” Trish flipped her hand like she was backhanding the air.
“What do you want me to do? That’s what he does. Please make a positive suggestion instead of just complaining.” He began pushing the bindings of books back to make them flush with each other.
“I want those things out of here. Maybe you should see if there’s some institution for the disabled that has art classes and storage onsite. If they take the disturbed, Aria can go too.” She waited and sighed when he didn’t respond right away.
“Please remember that this is our family home, funded to a large degree by the house fund they left. My brothers respect the fact that we reside here, family comes first. Kiev has just as much right to be here, maybe more so than you, we do. We all understood and I thought I made it clear to you when we moved in.”
“Are you saying I’m not welcomed? Your mother never wanted me here but she’s gone and I’m here. We need new rules.”
Rudy bit his lip, twisted his wedding band and shook his head. “I’ll take care of it.” He fought off the animosity that was lodging in the back of his neck.
Later that evening Rudy found Aria and Kiev walking the yard. The night air, smelling of rain, pressed in on the three of them. The last birds were singing their night songs.
“I am going to rent Kiev a studio to do his clay work in,” he said.
“That is exciting. What made you think of doing that Uncle Rudy?”
“Well, Kiev has really been enjoying working with the clay and he’s been, shall we say, prolific with his work. I noticed he was running out of room in his house.”
“Have you seen some of his work? What beauties Kiev makes. Uncle Elias said that they were vital and exquisite. Capable of infiltrating the psyche.” Aria looked at Kiev to gauge his reaction. “I think I’m talking too much for Kiev.” She tilted her chin down and smiled at the thought of a real artist studio.
He gave her a curious look. He wasn’t sure Aria really understood how out of touch with reality Kiev was.
“Will he be living there?” she asked.
“No. I’ll take him over and one of us will hang out or check on him. At the end of the day, one of us will bring him back home.”
“Like a cat,” Aria blurted and put her hand over her mouth as if she had no control over it. She didn’t want to insult her Uncle Rudy. She had been growing fond of him lately.
“I guess, like a cat,” Rudy answered and smiled. “We’ll go over tomorrow morning.