Carlos followed after Sandy. Took notice when a tray of Hors Doeuvres came into range and quickly picked one off.
“So where’s this artist friend of yours?” he said to Sandy’s back, after swallowing.
Sandy stopped to look around. “He can’t be far. This is his work here.”
Carlos paid little attention to the piece on the wall behind him. He was more intent on grabbing a wine glass from another tray as it was carried too close for him to ignore.
“Why don’t you go look for him?” he said, swirled the drink he now held in its glass. “I’ll just wait here.”
Sandy made a face as if to say, “can I trust you not to embarrass me?” Carlos just smiled and winked. “I’ll behave,” he said. “I promise.”
They’d been friends since High School. Now in college, they found they still had similar interest. Well, except for attending art exhibits. But Sandy had needed a ride and Carlos had needed the extra credit he’d get for saying he’d attended. He’d taken art as one of his electives and his grades were less than perfect. At first he thought it would be an easy credit. Now all he was trying to do was pass.
Sandy sighed. “All right,” she said to his suggestion then headed off, made her way through those mingling nearby until Carlos lost sight of her.
Carlos finished his wine and was scouting around for the tray of cheese that he’d seen making its way around the room when he saw the oddest thing, a blind guy heading his way with a cane.
“Whoa, dude,” he said when the guy stopped just beside him. “Are you lost? Can I help you get somewhere?”
“Do I look lost?” came the rather befuddled reply. “This is the Galleria, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s the Galleria. But this is an art show and well . . . you’re blind.”
The guy pointed at Carlos and laughed. “Can’t fool you.” He then reached out in an instant and grabbed some cheese from the tray Carlos had been waiting for. “I just come for the food though.”
Eyes wide, Carlos grinned. “Hey, how’d you do that? Did you smell the cheese or something? Wait, cheese doesn’t have a smell.”
“No but that girl carrying the tray does. I love that perfume. She was on the other side of the room a minute ago.”
Carlos grinned. “That’s pretty cool how you do that. But it still doesn’t explain what you’re doing at an art exhibit. I mean, no offense, but how could you possibly benefit? For instance,” Carlos said looking over his own shoulder, “this picture here-this one behind me-”
“You mean that oil painting you’re pointing at.”
To Carlos’ certain surprised look he said, “I felt a subtle breeze when your arm went up and oils have a unique smell all their own.”
“Right, but how can smelling allow you enjoy this exquisite piece of art? I mean, the subtle shades of yellow, the calming blue of the ocean. Sure it’s a bit abstract but you can just feel the warmth.”
Carlos studied it a little longer. “It almost makes me feel like I’m at the beach right now.”
Carlos squinted at the name on the plaque beside the picture. “Sunny daze,” he read. “By Brandon P-P-Pina something.”
“Pinastrella,” he said, his accent all at once rich and Hispanic. “The artist’s mother was Spanish and blind as well.”
“Yeah. Well, it’s really a shame you can’t see it.”
“Since I can’t see it,” the young man said, “would you please answer a question for me?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“The beach umbrella shielding the two who sit beneath it, I debated about not putting it at all. Do you think it works well with the overall theme?”
Before he could find words to respond, Sandy returned. “Brandon,” she said with a quick embrace, a kiss on the cheek. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Your work is the talk of the Galleria!”
And then with a quick look toward her other friend, “I see you met Carlos.”
“No way,” Carlos exploded. “He did not paint this! There’s no way he could’ve painted this.” And then, “how did you paint this? You can’t see! There is no such thing as a blind artist.”
“I’d have to agree with you there,” Brandon said. “But I do not consider myself a blind artist, I’m simply an artist that is blind.”
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