The Art Of Love (Part 1)
A short story
I am grateful to have been loved, and to be loved now and to be able to love. Because love liberates.— Maya Angelou
The Art Of Love
2023, Henery X ©
Today was the first day of Lovely Thomas being the new owner of Immortal Moments Art Studio/Gallery. This reality was thanks to her father, Eddie “Ed” Thomas, who besides being a successful painter, was now a published author. Her father had given her control of the business because it was his goal all alone and because he and his wife had planned to do a nationwide book tour for his recently released book.
Lovely was in the spacious reception area of Immortal Moments Art Studio/Gallery, and she wasn’t alone. Besides the receptionist, other staff members and local artists joined her. The local artists artwork graced the walls of the very space they were in. Everyone dressed to impress, as the business was renowned for its overall professionalism. Eddie always said, “If we expect to be taken seriously, we must embody what it takes.”
“I want you all to know that not much will change as I lead us to greater success,” Lovely said. “I know you all, as you all know me. So this transition won’t be like a transition at all. All we need to do is keep doing what we’ve been doing and all will be well. Agreed?”
Everyone present offered some form of agreement.
“Excellent. And know, just like it was with my father, you’re free to come to me with suggestions, as well as to just talk. We’re family, and this is what will make our journey from this point forward as memorable as possible. Are there questions?”
A woman raised her hand.
Lisa Glass was in charge of the gallery portion of Immortal Moments Art Studio/Gallery. The fifty-three-year-old African American woman has held down her position for ten years. This honor wasn’t just because she was a beloved friend of Eddie’s, though this played an important part in the manner. She really knew her stuff. She was what serious art collectors would call a connoisseur. Many a painting had been sold thanks to Lisa’s love of the craft. Clients would get so caught up in her description of the artwork that they couldn’t wait to part ways with their money.
“Thank you, my beloved sister,” Lovely said cheerfully.
“I just wanted to know if we are still accepting new artists right now?”
“Absolutely. So, do you have someone in mind?”
“Alright. Just have them come in tomorrow at one o’clock.”
“Will do, Lovely. Thank you. And again, congratulations.”
“You’re welcome, Lisa. Are there any other questions?”
No one responded.
“Excellent. Well, let’s go do what we do best, family.”
And with that, the group of people went off to their assigned spaces in the building. The local artists had an equal amount of space on either side of the receptionist's area to do what they loved. They equipped the spaces with a stool for themselves and a client, an easel, a table, and an original painting of theirs hanging on the wall. This was a move Eddie had implemented a year after his grandfather’s transition.
Lovely walked over to the receptionist’s desk. Sitting in a comfortable-looking leather executive chair was a lovely African American woman, who was smiling at her.
“Can you believe it, girl?” Lovely said. And the excitement in her voice was undeniable.
“Absolutely. You earned this, Lovely. Your daddy ain’t never made no missteps I know of.”
“I love you, Stacy.”
“I love you too. So, we should go out and celebrate.”
“Sounds promising. What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking we, and the girls, could go to Speak Your Piece.”
“Now you know that’s one of my favorite places to be.”
“I do indeed.”
Speak Your Piece was a popular poetry lounge in downtown Detroit. Lovely was made aware of the business in question a year ago, and thanks to one of her many “sister friends.” She was obsessed with poetry and the spoken word. In her mind, this form of expression was equivalent to how she expressed herself creatively. It felt so freeing. So natural. Something that brought her absolute joy.
I’m wondering if E’ will be available. Give her a call and put it on speaker.
“I'm on it,” Stacy said as she began dialing a number. After the fact, she pressed the speaker phone option.
“Hey, Stacy. What’s up?” A cheerful female voice uttered.
“Edwina, how’d you know it was me?”
“You’re the receptionist over at Immortal Moments, and I have this number saved in my phone. Duh.”
They both giggled.
“Heeeeeeeeeey, E’,” Lovely said.
“Hey yourself, sister friend. I hear congratulations are in order.”
“Yeah. My daddy finally decided to go sit his butt down somewhere,” Lovely said. She and the other ladies laughed.
“You so silly, girl. So, what’s up?”
“We’re going to Speak Your Piece tonight. Will you be available?”
“I surely will be available.”
“So, Prince, is going to be cool with you hanging out with us bad girls?” Lovely said playfully.
“Child. My man knows what time it is. He ain’t worried about me at all. He has locked this down, and I threw away the key awhile ago.”
“Alright now, E’. Well, we’ll meet you there at nine.”
“I’ll be there. Later, sister friends,” Edwina discontinued the call.
“I love that woman to life, Stacy.”
“As do I, Lovely. And I love you to life, too.”
“You better,” Lovely said playfully. She and Stacy laughed.
Like Lovely, thirty-year-old Edwina “Kiss” Graceland was a painter and had inherited an art studio/gallery from a family member. Lovely and Edwina met through the connection between Lovely’s father and Edwina’s well-known uncles, who were renowned in Michigan and beyond. Their first encounter established a mutual bond of the sisterly nature.
As usual, Speak Your Piece was jumping. The diverse group of people were all dressed in hip hop themed apparel. Lovely, Stacy, and two other women were waiting in Lovely’s 2023 Jaguar F-Pace SVR SUV for Edwina to call them and announce she was in the parking lot. When she finally arrived, she wasn’t alone. The mystery man accompanying Edwina had the eyes of the other women on him, except for Lovely’s, that is. After having introduced the mystery man to her friends, Edwina and she were busy chatting, as they stood arm in arm in the lengthy line.
“So, what are your thoughts on my homie, William?” Edwina whispered. The jet black beauty with emerald green eyes eagerly awaited Lovely’s reply.
“Girl, he’s alright. What, am I supposed to be so impressed that I fall over him?”
“Of course not. But I think you and him will hit it off nicely.”
“Well, I’ll let you find out from him. That’s if you’re willing to talk to him.”
“For you, of course.”
Edwina squealed with delight.
Once inside Speak Your Piece, Lovely and company found a booth. Edwina arranged for William and Lovely to be seated next to each other.
“So, Kiss has told me a lot about you, Lovely,” William Walker said. The twenty-seven-year-old man stared at Lovely as if he’d known her longer than he has. He was the ruggedly handsome type, which made him very appealing to the opposite sex.
“Really? And here I only know of your name. William, correct?”
“That’s correct. William Wesley Walker is my full name.”
“Nice to meet you, William Wesley Walker. I don’t mean to be rude, but once the performers start, can we not be talking?”
“I totally understand. How about this? What if I come by Immortal Moments tomorrow and we can talk, then?”
Damn, E’. You done told this man all about me, Lovely thought. He must be someone you trust. And seeing, I trust you—
“Sounds good, William Wesley Walker.”
William chuckled, “You can just call me William.”
“Alrighty then. William it shall be.”
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for part 2 of The Art Of Love
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, place, or thing was done unintentionally.
In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.-Maya Angelou
Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my offering. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life, as a river does into a sea.
Remember. I’m not here to convince you to believe. I’m here to offer you something else to consider.
May we never lose our desire to outdo what we’ve already done.
Continue to be a lighthouse for all those who feel lost in the sea of life.
Peace, Love, and the utmost Respect.