Thursday, May 8, 2014

M&R: Country Girl in Manhattan

The doorman in a fancy outfit, with a wide-smile pulled the door open wide upon sighting the artist and the large decoratively wrapped painting under her arm.  In defiance of the local dress code she dressed in the flannel shirt, faded denim and leather hiking boots of those proud to be “country folk”.   The buxom blonde stood a little taller as she turned through the doorway and headed towards the elevators.  She sneered at the over elegance of the interior.  The doorman called to her from his stand in a friendly way to check on her name and made sure she knew which floor the “Siennans” lived on.  Her shoulders fell and as did the haughty expression on her face.  She sucked air at the mention of their name as though she’d forgotten where she was going.  Nervously and rapidly she nodded to reassure him then pressed the button for the elevator.  Or rather she hesitated right before pressing the elevator button.  Here she stood in a white marble lobby before a golden door about to rise to Heaven.  She wondered if selling this painting would be a defining moment in her career. The phrase “endless wealth and unimaginable influence” came to mind.  The doors opened and she stepped forward.

When they reopened, the painter heard music, live music (by the squeak of the guitar strings), feminine chatter in French, the squeal of joyful toddlers and lots of laughter. 

“I’ll get it.” Harmonia peeped when the water colorist rang the doorbell. 

She had to say it again louder to be heard over the general hilarity accompanying the birthday girl’s assault on the latest gift.  Harmonia being so demonstrative was contrary to her normally aloof demeanor and would have been noticed and commented on at any other occasion.  But, today it only received friendly knowing looks from her dark-haired sisters-in-law and winks of encouragement.  Slyph-like in movement and form she crossed the carpet and calmly opened the door with a serene smile on her glacial translucent features.  Harmonia’s smile broadened almost unnoticeably. 

The woman at the door grinned broadly in comparison from a sunburned face, laughing to herself about how Harmonia “reeked” of “old money”.  She was full figured in contrast to Harmonia’s slim frame.  Harmonia’s   long ephemeral hair was so platinum as to be white in contrast the woman with the big wrapped package sported coarse brassy hair.  Outdoorsy clothes versus a new gown almost a negligee just bought for the occasion.

Harmonia waved her in, announcing “Special delivery!” in English.

Her sisters-in-law awaiting their cue also switched to English and echoed the announcement and encouraged their children to say, “Grandma!  Special delivery!” 

“Grandma” sat in the elegant room surrounded by her family and packages from “Galerie Lafayette”.  Roxanne Scamander rose to see who and what was at the door.  She wore a Dolce & Gabbana hibiscus floral gown with a belt of sapphire.  She too was a full figured gal with rosy cheeks and a full head of hair, russet in her case. She smiled at and hallowed the gift bearer.  Then her green eyes focused on what was obviously a painting in the strangress’ hand. 

“Is that..?” she gushed, hand rising to her chest.  “Are you the artist?  Is this from the library?”

Harmonia introduced the woman in the doorway to her Aunt Roxy.  All this happen as the artist and art were being guided into the living room. 

Little voices asked, “What is it grandma?”  “Who’s it from?”

The young woman had been instructed not to say it was the Turkish ambassador’s secretary who’d arranged the sale, and so just said that she’d worked with “someone’s” secretary.  No one seemed surprised and the information gave them no idea who the gift was from.  Roxanne eyed her stern-looking sister and daughters suspiciously but they all remained inscrutable.  The wrapping paper got ripped off by helping little hands.  That’s when the artist noticed the birthday girl’s matching Dolce Vita Suki heels lay under the coffee table.

 The women peeled off the twine and brown paper until it was revealed to their eyes. Roxanne and her daughters burst into tears.  Her husband’s business card lay tucked into the picture frame. The water color itself was of two yellow irises in an open field with low hills beyond.  Roxanne and her daughters began to bubbler in what the artist assumed was “Turkish” but of course was Pontic Greek.

Harmonia’s lithe hand touched the confused blonde’s left shoulder.  “It reminds them of flowers near their village back home on the banks of the Karamenderes.”

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