When I Look at You

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Chapter Twelve

After Coop and I separated, I walked towards the boardwalk that connected the rest of the town to the beach. The buildings this way were mostly part of the art district I noticed. Different painted store fronts made to stand out lined both sides. One on the farther right side caught my attention. PHOTO GALLERY was painted in golden letters on a black sign on the front of the door pulled me in closer. The door opened and a couple walked out, holding hands and talking about something to do with a picture they had just seen. I pulled the door opened and entered, a blast of cooler air feeling welcomed on my warm face.

Inside, there was a circular room set up with a U-shaped table in the front full of brochures. People milled around the room, looking at the framed pieces that hung on the white walls that surrounded the room. Picking up one of the pamphlets, I read that the gallery was the work of a local photographer named James Radley. I read further and saw he had sadly moved out of state to California due to his mother dying and had left these pictures to the gallery foundation as a thank you for their support.

I quietly stepped over to the left side of the room and looked at the closest picture. It showed a flock of geese taking off from a pool of water that resembled a small swamp. The next few were of similar subjects of nature, mostly birds. Each photo was beautifully full of saturation and James knew how to use the lighting in his favor to make his focus point stand out bright. I made my way around the room and found it branched off into another room filled with more of his recent work. These must be of California because I recognized the Golden Gate bridge in one of them as well as other landmarks we learned about in school. These seemed softer almost; as if he didn’t really feel like showing their true colors. They were still brilliant though and I hesitated in front of my favorite. It showed a person waiting for a bus with no clue they were getting photographed. It was just a sudden moment in time captured and he still made it look like a work of art.

“Hey, Kerri, right?” A woman’s voice said behind me. Turning, I saw Jenna entered the room from a back office carrying a box in her hand. She set it down on a table in the middle of the room and smiled at me. I nodded.

“Yes. Jenna?” She nodded.

“Tammy said you were interested working at my studio for the summer. I really don’t have much going on there for you to do except run deliveries but that’s only once a week, But if you really want some summer work, you are more than welcome to help me out here. Since James left, no one has really wanted to chip in and help me out because he was a bit more charismatic than I am.”

“Sure!” I replied.

“Yeah? It’s nothing special. You run the front counter, restock the fliers, clean. Stuff like that. We get a lot of traffic around the end of July when the art festival is in town. I think I can have you fully trained by then though. You’ll get paid under the table. We’ll figure that out later with your dad. How’s that sound?”

“Amazing! Thank you.”

The rest of the afternoon was spent decorating the giant yard behind the Wharf. I didn’t realize it had been so massive from the front but once you walk around the restaurant itself, you see that it’s about the size of half a football field. Greg came by to help Chris set up and unload tables and chairs from the back of a storage truck while Tammy and I hung up patriotic flags, banners and paper decorations. Each table had it’s own tablecloth, centerpiece and napkin holder that Tammy had numbered to keep organized. Once those were set up, the four of us yanked the large barbeque pit from the back of the building towards the center of the yard where the cooking and calm bake would be happening. Chris had been right that you could see the ocean from here very well. The yard led out into six different smaller docks to allow people to sail here for food and it looked like the ocean beyond the marina went on forever.

My phone rang from my pocket and I knew it was my mother before I even looked at it. I had called and left her two messages this morning after leaving the thrift shop. I felt bad for not calling her and wanted to tell her about my ketchup adventure from the day before. “Hey mom.” I said, answering the call.

“Well if it isn’t my long lost daughter. I drop you off down there and I never hear from you again!” She joked. I heard the sound of her car indicator beeping like she had the door open but with the keys in the ignition. Rolling my eyes, I walked towards the nearest dock and sat at the edge of it.

“Ha ha. I know. I’m sorry. Things have been kinda busy around here. How are you? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, sweetie. Are you having fun?”

“Uh yeah? I guess.”

“Oh no. What happened?” Sighing, I smiled.

“Nothing. Hannah and I sort of got into a fight today that’s all.”

“Well that’s not good. Did you guys work things out? It’s better to do that then letting it build up and exploding.” Oh lord.

“I attacked her with a full bottle of ketchup. It was not a pretty scene.” I replied. She was silent for a moment then I could hear her begin to chuckle.

“What am I going to do with you? That’s definitely something your father would have done. Did you get her good?”

“Oh yeah. Head to toe. She was so mad! You would have died, Mom.”

“Well besides trouble, what else are you doing down there?”

“I got a summer job. Uncle Greg’s wife is going to let me work at the art gallery down here.”

“That’s great, honey! What about the boys down there? Any beach bodied hunk getting your interest?” I laughed.

“Not a beach bodied hunk.”

“So there is a boy?”

“Well there is this one guy…”

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