Intuition. Bohemians, outsiders, cherish intuition. That insight, that awareness, that… knowing. I realized when I looked at him that loved him. His mannerisms did not indicate shyness regarding the other women in the gallery nor did his features let slip any thoughts of disdain. The man watched people look at art, his obvious curiosity regarding other people’s reactions filled me with a longing hard to suppress, even harder to hide. Noticing my stare or rather acknowledging my star by turning toward me, for I felt certain he knew I had been staring for some time, he smiled slightly. I willed myself not to turn away from his gaze. I felt a desire to challenge him in some manner yet I wanted to run.
“So how often does he brush his teeth in a day do you suppose?”
My mother’s voice. My dead mother’s voice. She died seven years ago, but she has never left me. I loved my mother and I love my mother but her interference at the moment I was staring at the man who intrigued me flustered me to near tears. My shoulders tensed, waiting for my mother’s voice to sound in my ears again. I wanted, needed, the deep background music of love to sweep over me as I looked at this tall, slender man, dressed in a somber dark suit. I needed a moment without questions. I wanted to plead with my mother.
“I suppose he reads in the bathroom. He looks the intellectual type…”
“Mother,” I hissed and stepped away from no one. A few people looked my way. Did he notice me talking to myself? I took a deep breath willing my shoulders down and imagining my face serene and unhampered by anything but the art surrounding me. I wandered in an aimless relaxed manner, at least I hoped I was wandering in an aimless relaxed manner. I was urging the tall slender man to approach me. I wanted to him to compel him to approach me.
“Well, he is a tall drink of water, isn’t he? Your father was so short, God bless him. He would provide the tall gene our family so needs. Your kids would come up to his navel. Wouldn’t matter if you had girls.”
I whirled around infuriated with my mother. She was dead. Dead. She needed to get out of my head. I stomped back to my chair the man of my dreams forgotten and grabbed my hand knitted alpaca wrap. Swinging it around my head and letting it float gently down upon my shoulders, closing my eyes and breathing deeply as the light but ever warming shawl gently floated down upon my shoulders I willed some calmness into my body; leaving was my best option.
“You haven’t even looked at the exhibit.”
I didn’t turn around, anger and frustration bristled out in rudeness. “I know,” I said, defeated and humiliated. “A friend of mine is the artist.” I suddenly had no strength to explain. My voice tightened in a sobbing disappointment. I had so looked forward to the evening. Great, I was going to cry over my dead mother’s assessment of an attractive man; she always brought men down to mud level.
“I suppose your mother is a little jealous of anyone who connects mentally with you.”
“She’s not a bad person,” I said quickly and in defense of my mother. “She worries about me.” I felt a sudden chill. Turning I was face to face with a light blue silk shirt neatly sheathed by a dark suit. He stood before me, his expression kind but his features set and his skin an icy hue.
“Hmm. Yes. Most mothers worry and not without reason. Your mother worries you will do something rash.”
“She’s been dead seven years,” I said gazing up at him, his bright blue eyes clear and without judgment.
“Your wrap is beautiful. Did you make it yourself?”
“Did your mother teach you to knit?”
“Yes,” I said quietly.
“Have a glass of wine with me and let’s walk the gallery. Your friend will want to know why you don’t walk the gallery. We can’t explain your dead mother.”
“How do you know about my mother?”
“Intuition,” he smiled down at me, handed me a glass of red wine, his hand was blue-ice cold yet lovely. “Intuition is ingrained in bohemians and outsiders, we cherish the ability.”