“Hey, Cyrus, hello, earth to Cyrus.”
“Hmm, what?” I respond, being dragged back down to earth.
“Where you listening to what I just said?” My co-worker inquires.
I remember now that I’m walking with my co-worker, Julie back to her car. It’s the company’s fourth anniversary today, everyone was so excited.
“Sorry, zoned out.” I answer her.
She sighs in return then gives me an annoyed look. I feel embarrassed, I don’t mean to zone out so much, but regardless, it still happens.
“What I was saying,” Julie interjected. “was how cool it is that we’ve made it four years.”
I can feel how cold her hands are as they bump into my shoulder playfully.
“I’m so proud of us.” She finishes and I nod in agreement.
I leave her once we get back to her car. She always asks me to walk her back if it is dark outside. She says it’s because I’m tall and always look like I’m in a bad mood. I don’t tell her I get nervous walking around parking garages at night too, I just walk her.
As I bring my attention to this, I start to feel nervous, seeing that I am currently in a parking garage. To ease my nervousness, I pick up the pace and walk along the outside of the building.
Normally I don’t have any plans after work unless everyone is going out, but we had thrown an anniversary party at the office tonight, so there was no need to go out.
I let my mind wonder as I walk and start to think about our roots. I think about when we started and start to feel proud of everyone.
Wait, hold on a second. I am going the wrong way. I hate when I do that.
Tonight, I’m going to an art gallery my friend has an exhibit at. Part of why I love living in New York city is the art. There is so much of it everywhere, even in the people walking by, however un orthodox that, um, art, is. I can even put up with the pee smell all over the place due to the art.
Wait, am I still going the wrong way? Dammit!
When I finally get to the art gallery, there are lots of people hanging around the entrance, some wearing lavish and creative outfits, while other’s personalities and voices stand out. I guess they don’t need an outfit to be seen.
As I enter the building, I can see my friend’s little corner through the window. They wave at me excitedly and run to meet me.
“Cyrus!” They shout out to me.
Even though I heard them I can’t help but focus on all the art around me. There is such a mixed medium here tonight.
Above my head there is a fixture of assorted flowers displayed to look like a woman hanging from a piece of cloth. She seems to wink at me.
I’m reminded of why I’m here as my friend grabs my arm and pulls me to their exabit.
I laugh at their excitement.
“Cyrus, you need to see something.” They could barely speak through their laughing.
They reach out and gesture to their biggest painting on display. A detailed portrait of a woman underneath a waterfall. I remember when they were working on that piece, they told me how the woman represents the ability to be content with your own company.
My eyes wonder down to where they are pointing. A small ticket next to the display name that saying the painting has sold.
“Holy shit, Mars, you sold it!” I exclaim.
They are bouncing on their feet, smiling ear to ear, now nodding enthusiastically.
“...Yeah, isn’t it great?” They managed to squeak out.
I give them a quick hug. “Oh my god, I’m so proud of you.”
They start laughing. “Cyrus, why don’t you go walk around and see everyone’s art.” Mars speaks as they get their fidget toy out and start playing with it. “I need to blow off some steam before I have an aneurism.”
I glance at the woman made of flowers as I walk away, daring her to wink at me again.
I walk through the building admiring everyone’s art. Though, I don’t really feel like talking to the artists after already attending the party at work. That is simply too much social interaction for me. So, I make sure to look at the art when the artist is occupied.
I admire how each artist is different, how their exhibits reflect their personalities. For example, the exhibit I am passing has tons of colorful, small canvases covering the walls sporadically and the artist is eagerly talking to everyone looking at their art. While the exhibit I am currently looking at has a series of black and white photographs placed center on large canvases decorated with complex oil paintings, most of them had been sold. The photographs are of the artist’s family, an artist I don’t see anywhere.
Hmm, sometimes I forget people still talk to their families.
I look around to see a small table with an array of sculptures placed across the top. The artist works with more than one medium? How talented. I touch the face of a bust. A man sculpted in Roman style. His face reminds me of David. Perplexed yet focused. Like he just saw something he wishes he had not and is now considering how to deal with what he just witnessed. The top is hallowed out and inside there are words carved into the clay making up the man’s face. I start to trace my fingers where the words are.
“Interested in my thinker?” I hear from behind me. I jump slightly from the sudden noise and turn around.
“Hi, I’m the artist, Kai” He speaks while holding out his hand for me to shake. So, formal.
I reach out and shake the hand in front of me. His body language is playful and his eyes have a look of curiosity. His hand feels warm in mine, though slightly rough. There is a slight accent to his voice, though I can’t place it.
“Cyrus.” I answer, his eyes make me feel slightly uneasy so I look back at the sculpture.
“Your thinker, you said? that’s why you carved words inside his head, to show that he’s thinking?” I try to speak over the dying crowd.
He picks up the sculpture. “No, I carved words in his head for people to touch,” he states as he raises the sculpture’s hallowed head and points inside. “See it says right here, “please, put your fingers inside my head.” He pokes.
I feel slightly embarrassed that I might have missed a, “do not touch” sign.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to put you on the spot, it doesn’t matter if you touch Mr. Thinker right here.” He says as he lightly places the sculpture in my hands before tending to a painting, he notices is hanging slightly crooked.
“I like his facial expression.” I blurt out.
He turns around and I realize that I’ve forgotten his name. Oops.
“I think that especially considering the smaller size, you really were able to capture the expression of deep thought.” I add, sounding a little more calculated.
“You look like a thinker, maybe that’s what drew you to the piece.” He speaks confidently.
It always strikes me when people state their observations about me. Like I’m being confronted with my presence in the world. It has bit of a, “oh wow, that’s right, I’m just like every other person that I see,” affect. “You can perceive me?” weird, but ok.
“Do you want him?” The um, artist asks me. He sounds amused.
“I do, I think he’s a wonderful piece.” I speak back.
He laughs again. “You sound so serious.”
I cock my head. Of course, I sound serious, how else am I supposed to sound? How else would I even sound?
I buy the sculpture and decide on returning back to Mars’ exhibit.
What an, interesting interaction. Going to be thinking about that one for a couple of days.
My stomach tightens inexplicably, which makes me feel nervous so I quickly check all the exits out of habit.
Mars is still playing with their fidget toy when I get back. I tell them I’m going to go and that I was glad they sold their painting.
When I get back to my apartment, I immediately take out the thinker and place him on my kitchen counter.
After I make my tea, I pull up my stool and make myself eye level with him.
Looking at him like this only magnifies his intense expression. “What are you thinking about, hmm?” I ask him this even though I know he can’t answer me. Regardless of this, I follow to where his eyes are looking.
That’s weird. I guess there was a business card in the bag I brought the sculpture home in. I lean down to pick it up and flip it over to see the contact info.
Kai Alma, artist and sculpture was printed in a deep green color across the middle of the business card along with a website address and contact info.
The warm colors of the card itself seemed to dance and flow together; I wonder if that is a reflection of him.
I feel the Thinker’s eyes staring at me. So, I place the card underneath him and sit back on my stool “Don’t look at me like that, this is his work contact, it would be weird.” I tell him.
Did I just defend myself to an inanimate object? Oh boy, I need to go to bed already.
Across the next few days, I can’t help but think about the interaction I had with Kai. As I thought I would. I keep thinking about how effortless it was for him to talk to me. Not that I think I’m hard to talk to, he just talked to me like I was already his friend.
Though it is most likely he talks to everyone that way. I mean, I was a stranger to him after all. Regardless of that, I think about how he made sure to straighten the painting that had hung crooked on display.