They sauntered along, unrushed. The notable sidewalks, quaint foliage, and privileged solitude guided their way toward 945 Madison Avenue. Prestigious residential structures lined their way and Lucy found herself fond of the kind uniformed gentlemen, courteous in their wake, standing attentive and loyal to the storied dwellings and their occupants.
Several more kilometers would find them standing in front of Cosmos, by Marsden Hartley. It was an oil work of ivory, auburn, and indigo hues, artfully massaged into a woodland landscape. Benjamin stood transfixed, immersed in the synthesis of oils. He appeared overwhelmed, his person affected by the snowcapped peaks, while the evergreen timber wading in the foreground bore the redolence of a not too distant past.
Lucy stared at him, and smiled.
“So what do you think?”
Benjamin blinked once, before nodding in approval.
“I like it.”
“No! You must describe it. What is it about the piece, that moves you?”
Benjamin pondered. It had been some while since someone accosted him for his thoughts.
He took note of the painting once more.
“I walked along the Kali Gandaki toward Potala Palace in Tibet. As afternoon approached twilight, the sun would introduce itself to the Earth, lowering astride the mountain peaks with such vigor and vividness, in such a manner…”
Lucy waited in a daze, her candy apple lips agape in anticipation.
“You knew you were alive.”
Lucy continued to inhale him, unable to speak.
“This painting reminds me of that afternoon.”
He turned to her.
“Do you ski?”
Lucy blinked, several times, attempting to shun her pictorial inebriation.
“I… Yes, I do.”
“I love winter,” he continued. “The snow in the Himalayas was difficult to traverse, though necessary to reach Lhasa.”
His demeanor was calm.
His speech, unhurried.
And though she did not tell him, she trembled inside.
As she did the night they met.
“I have to get back to work.”
“Do you work here?” he inquired.
He stared, and she needed a moment.
“I’m a curator at The Met.”
Like his friend, Mr. Mulberry, Benjamin was an excellent listener. He absorbed information and swilled its contents.
He continued to stare and Lucy was not constructed of the same resolve.
“I have to go.”
She stole one more glance, before pivoting in Christian Louboutin, toward the exit. Benjamin stood unmoved, for a moment longer, before returning his efforts toward the painting.
“Would you like to have tea tomorrow?”
Benjamin turned to her.
“I’ve just acquired a partial kilo of first generation Da Hong Pao. It’s exceptional.”
He stared, and now, she was uncertain.
It would be the second time he fell in love within these walls.
Implode. Part XXIX – DK