Do you ever have someone pop into your head out of nowhere? Someone about whom you haven't thought of for a long while? Well it happened to me today, while I was minding my own business taking a shower - Pedro popped into my mind.
Pedro was a man I dated briefly about 20 years ago - my God, is that even possible? He was an artist and he was beautiful and he might have been bisexual.
Remember when we used to date people we knew we were only dating because they were attractive and fun and we knew nothing would ever come of it - and we knew they knew it as well? That's what it was like with Pedro.
As Maurice Chevalier once sang - "ah, yes, I remember it well". I met Pedro in his studio. I remember - like it was yesterday - I wandered into a vast warehouse space housing enormous canvases with brightly colored tropical scenes...a woman with a poppy-print dress wearing a straw hat with only her bright red lips showing, a toucan perched on a bright green palm frond with a patch of bright blue sky above, a beach view with splotches of color representing people on the sand contrasting the blue-green water. They were fantastic. So much color everywhere! And music. Loud, joyous, old-school Cuban music blaring out of a paint-splattered boom box - a traditional, percussion heavy guagancó.
But where was the artist? There's a saying in Spanish, "lo traje con el pensamiento" which translates as "I brought him with my thoughts" - that's exactly what happened. As I was taking in the sensory assaults of color and sound and wondering who was responsible for them, he walked out from behind a huge canvas. He was beautiful.
Tall, tan, lithe muscles, long limbs, no shirt, paint-splattered jeans, bare feet, long curly black hair, shining dark eyes and an impossibly bright smile. He literally took my breath away. As he walked towards me smiling I managed to compose myself and form coherent words. Within minutes, I was fine. He was easy to talk to, eager to talk about his work. I used to be on the board of a local museum and we were putting together an exhibit of local Cuban-American painters, one of them was Pedro - that's why I was there to begin with, to select the pieces to exhibit.
Next thing I know, we're dancing an old-fashioned danzon in the middle of the studio, with people walking in and perusing the pieces, like a couple dancing in the middle of it all was perfectly normal. And I guess it was. During the next few weeks we saw each other often, usually at the museum working on the exhibit and then we'd go out to dinner in his ancient Volvo.
We had a blast together. We went to a couple of gallery openings, a movie, just hung out. It never went any farther than kissing, he was a lovely kisser. One time after one of those lovely kisses in his car, I asked him if he was bisexual - I don't know why I had that idea, I just did - he looked into my eyes, laughed his wonderful laugh and kissed me again. It really didn't matter.
The night of the opening, I was at the museum with my friends, attending to the guests, answering questions about the exhibit, etc. All of a sudden he walked in to the building - he was dressed all in white with his dark hair and dark tan in stark contrast. Again, he took my breath away. All eyes were on him for a moment - he was fabulous. Even though it was a group show and despite that while good he was far from the best artist showing, he owned the night. Everyone wanted to talk to him, touch him, orbit the sun he was.
We went out casually for a a while after that, then he went out of town for a show and we slowly drifted apart. I think he may have moved away, I don't know. I just Googled him and couldn't find anything. I have one of the few small pieces he created - a Chistmas ornament.
I smile when I think about him and I'm glad I knew him. I hope he's well and happy.