Talk 10 – Flowers
Let’s go downstairs, she lives on the first.
So how does it work, have you bought paintings from her before?
Once. My friend from the other side of the ocean was visiting and he liked the one I have. Same drill, we even also met my complaining neighbor.
So all her paintings are in her apartment?
Yes, all the walls are covered from floor to ceiling.
I can’t wait to see that.
It’s the door on the corner. No, I will knock. Three solid times.
Is that a thing?
It is for us. Are you going to the wedding?
Oh, the wedding, we all got the invite. His word has been devalued but I will drink his whiskey and bring him a toaster.
We have to go.
I’m still undecided, like a squirrel looking at a nut in his hand.
Bears take you, you know you want the nut.
Hello, hi, these are my friends and one of them would like to buy a flower painting.
Wonderful, please come in.
Wow, they are everywhere.
Yes, let me open the curtains so you can see better. I had them closed for my nap.
Bears take me, it’s magical in here. She likes lilacs. Do you have any lilacs?
I love lilacs, I have several. They are in the hallway leading to the back on the left.
They look good. I will still look around.
Take your time, I just made tea. Would you like some?
Yes, I’ll take some.
I’m good as well. How’ve you been?
Good, painting mostly. It’s still a little too cold for my old bones. But soon I will paint outside.
We’re going hiking in two weeks. You’re welcome to join us.
I love hiking. My ex-companion in life had grown up living in tents and used to take me into nature often.
Yes, the gypsy. He used to say that he always had nightmares, but when he slept inside buildings he had worse nightmares.
Maybe it has something to do with the qualities of the air.
Or the lack of squirrels.
He used to say that when he slept here it was like a discotheque inside his head.
I know what that feels like.
Another whiskey and I will know as well.
Why are gypsies so happy?
Generally yes, I think so, they are lighthearted.
What do you think flower lady?
He was happy, and even when he was not he made it look like he was to the girls. He played his guitar and sang.
What is the underlining cause for that?
I have a theory. I’ve been with him many times to visit his community. Life is very basic there. No luxuries. But what made them cheer was a sense of belonging. They have the same problems like any other group, but every individual problem was resolved by the community. They know that if they don’t make enough for food today they will not stay hungry. They help each other. And it is because they have been segregated that they have learned the importance of sticking together. In our culture individualism is valued. Go out there and prove yourself. With them it is stay here and prove that you can better this place for everyone.
Do you think they will ever integrate?
Not in our lifetime, but eventually it is inevitable. Globalization will turn us into a planters race of the same color, eating the same food, drinking the same whiskey. Art is doomed to fade in that trend.
That is a dark forecast.
No one cares.
Why did you separate?
Don’t be rude man!
It’s fine. We grew apart. He wanted nature. I wanted to become an artist in the city. This divide fueled smaller once and we reached a point when we barely talked. He played only sad songs on his guitar and cried while singing. Plus our families never accepted us. Globalization is cruel like that. It is natural, as it forces cultures and races to blend. But in the process, on the edges of those cultures, there is a lot of friction, tear and wear. Older generations do not understand younger. I call it the ‘selfishness of the generations’. In general most people are closed-minded. We were a perfect example and it fueled the gap between us.
Even I am so brainwashed that I would not let my daughter marry a gypsy.
You should cut the whiskey.
I would. I like that one.
That is my best lilac one. She will love it.
I think so.
If you can appreciate the beauty of a flower you are a good man.
next chapter: TALK 11 – GARDEN
previous chapter: TALK 9 – COMPLAIN
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more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Annie Spratt