“We’re going where?” I asked Sally.
“To a friend-of-a-friend’s home,” she answered. “She’s an artist — specializes in modern.”
“Sally, you know I don’t understand art,” I complained, with an exaggerated groan. “Especially freaky lumps of metal that are supposed to be horses, or humans … or whatever.”
“Expand your horizons.”
“You just like to see me squirm,” I said.
We arrived at a trendy walkup. Sally opened the main door. Oversized sunflowers splashed across the entry and marched up all four levels of stairwell before halting at a certain door. She lifted the knocker, which looked like a snarling snail, and allowed it to drop against the wood.
“Come in, come in,” gushed a person — between hair and clothes, I couldn’t guess gender — and ushered us into a large, well-lit room. “My name’s Robin.”
“Great,” I muttered under my breath, “that name goes either way.”
Sally elbowed me. “Female,” she whispered.
I elbowed my thanks.
Robin flitted from room to room, fluttering and twittering as she showed us her “pieces.”
“This is called 'Day’s End',” she said, caressing — yes, a lump of metal with strips poking from one side. The sunset? I wondered, but kept my own tongue still. I felt myself shrinking with unworthiness.
“Here’s my latest,” Robin continued, sidling up to a lamp that resembled gigantic marshmallows tiered to scrape the ceiling. “I call it ‘Angel’s Refuge.’”
Soon, my befuddled brain could not process another object.
Nature chose that moment to insist on a visit to a very necessary room.
My cheeks burned as I asked Robin where the powder room was located. She waved an airy hand to the right and then left.
Incomprehensible art accompanied me on my journey and spilled into the room in question. I sensed a bit of dizziness as I sat, overwhelmed, amid circles, and twirls and ovals and oblongs.
Mission accomplished, I pressed the toilet’s handle down. Nothing. Nothing? I pressed again. Not so much as a clink.
I lifted the porcelain lid, laid it carefully against the wall and bent to examine the toilet’s interior.
I plunged my hand into the cold water, lifted the flapper for a proper amount of time and then let it drop back into place to refill the tank. Unworthiness flowed out with the retreating water and confidence with the refill.
“I might not be able to create fabulous art,” I said, grinning into the mirror, “but I sure know how to fix a toilet. Art may beautify the world, but common sense runs it!”
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