Admiring art was a source of inner peace for Tristan. As he stepped out of the taxi, he strolled idly towards the gallery, and although he didn’t notice them – a few heads turned. His body was concealed by loose-fitting khaki trousers and clumsily tucked in coffee-coloured shirt. Only a glimpse of leather belt and boots, lightly scuffed, could be seen.
Being a natural redhead he never expected attention from the opposite sex and was always oblivious to the natural good looks he possessed. He certainly wasn’t out of shape either, far from it.
On entering the gallery he was, as usual, spoilt for choice. Being a lover of all forms and ages of artwork, made it almost impossible to know where to go first. After a thoughtfully spent ten minutes perusing the map of the building’s layout, Tristan’s choice was to start with the Sculpture section.
It took no time at all to reach the North Wing, as this was not his first visit. Most of this large room was bordered by high Gothically styled windows, looking out over the ornamental gardens outside. Everything seemed to be in bloom that afternoon, so lush with life.
Tristan made himself comfortable on a stone bench, chosen at random. Surrounded by the multitude of faces, bodies and shapes, he was completely captivated.
Most pieces created used monotones – some romantically posed lovers, while others were highly abstract or of different inspiration. Abstracts had their interest, but did not engage Tristan in the same way as the figures. For him, the simplicity of the palette used merely acted as a loudspeaker to the emotions these stunning sculptures were, sometimes modestly, concealing from the observer.
He was completely and almost instantly lost, in a dream-world of stone and marble, filled with images of love, battles, hunting scenes and mythical creatures.
Suddenly on his peripheral there appeared a small bouquet of purple flowers on the floor near his feet. Wrapped in brown paper they were tied simply with a coloured ribbon, matching the petals. For a few moments he remained unmoved, his gaze fixed on the centrepiece of the room, an erotic yet mysteriously depicted embrace.
“Hi?” ventured a young lady, speaking softly as she sat down beside him.
Tristan turned briefly to say “Hey” and returned the glowing smile that was on her face.
“Hope you don’t mind my asking, but do you attend Highfield Art & Design? I think I’ve seen you before.”
The long white summer dress, cascading over her slender body like a waterfall of cotton, swayed at her feet as she crossed her legs towards him.
Not wanting to be rude to this charming girl, he decided to turn his attention to her, away from the imposing piece in front of them. The group of entangled men and women were fascinating, but he had met them before and she was a new mystery, worthy of his attention.
“Yeah, I do. I’m taking History of Art, what about you?” Tristan said.
“Fashion, believe it or not” she confessed with a shy bashful look. He was immediately drawn to her modesty, as her attire was understated but stylish, flattering to her lines.
“So, what inspired you to come here this afternoon?”
Even to a passer-by, it was clear that these youngsters were enamoured, if their first impressions were anything to go by.
“This place, thankfully, is on the way home,” smiling contently, she continued, “Sculpting is so personal to the artist themselves, yet through its very nature we’re able to share and interpret their display of artistic intimacy. I love its honesty.”
“Me too – if only I could sit here every day” Tristan raising his eyebrows in momentary reflection, “It’s the form and positioning of the human body that’s shown…”
“They provide great imagery for how proportions work, especially when a person is sitting, standing or lying in a certain way” as she spoke, the pair nodded in agreement.
As they sat peacefully and mutually absorbing the work in front of them, one hundred seconds passed without a single word spoken.
This uncertain tension had grown. Sitting so close to each other they had created an intangible connection. Both were now beginning to feel it.
After a short pause “I’ve an idea!” Tristan whispered.
She leaned in and looked at him inquisitively. Tilting her head just so had released her soft, long tumbling, auburn curls – like that of a pre-Raphaelite woman.
“How about some seriously overpriced cake and a coffee in this place’s cafe?” he asked, with an endearing smirk, showing a hint of pristine white teeth.
Silently giggling and immediately she mimed ‘Yes’, then leant down to pick up the flowers before alighting their seat.
Virtually tip-toeing out of the Sculpture wing, they were grinning at each other and looking into each other’s eyes, as if sharing a secret. Once back in the main lobby, Tristan and Louisa burst out laughing, uselessly cupping their hands in front of their faces, as if they’d known each other for years.
A beautiful scent of lavender, and love, filled the air trailing behind them.
© Lucy Helen Guest, Written in January 2010
Another piece I wrote during my course