Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, And A Proposition – Laura Stamp

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, And A Proposition

 

1.

A brisk December breeze

flicks a lavender ribbon

against my cheek, one of

three I braid through hair

that swings to my waist,

a ribbon decorated with

the runes for prosperity,

healing, and protection.

“I have a proposition for

you,” Val says, as I brush

the ribbon away from my

face.  “No,” I say, smiling

at this windy, sun-licked

day.  “Yes,” he says.

“Don’t worry.  I’m not

going to ask you again

to move in with me.”

The cool breeze flips

a strand of hair, pale

as a wheat field, across

my jaw.  I laugh and

tuck it behind my ear.

“Good,” I say.  “You

know I won’t.”  We’re

standing on the sidewalk

by his new home, while

the wind’s winter chill

seeps through my jacket.

“What do you think

about this one?” he asks

and points at the house

next door.  Built decades

ago, it’s an avant garde

home like his, only

smaller, the front yard

an abandoned garden

overgrown with weeds.

He jangles a set of keys.

“Want to look inside?”

he asks.  Painted white,

the cement and brick

exterior gleams beneath

the noonday sun.  “I

couldn’t resist,” he says,

when I look confused.

“I bought it, too.”

 

2.

“Why?” I ask, looking up

as a cardinal lands on its

antique tile roof.  “To

rent to college students,”

he says, while I follow

him across a scattered

path of flagstones,

through the neglected

garden to the front door.

“It’s a good real estate

investment.”  Inside, an

abundance of windows

warms me.  Summertime

lives here all year.  I

wander from one room

to the next, downstairs,

upstairs.  Walls painted

in vivid hues worship

at Sol’s bright altar.

This is a house of light.

 

3.

“Or,” he says, when

we reach the spacious

backyard, also a tangle

of weeds, also landscaped

once as an heirloom

garden, “I could sell it

to you.”

 

4.

“Think about it, Ravena,”

he says.  “It’s the perfect

solution for us.  This way

we can stay single.  Two

artists, two homes.  Lovers,

but separate.  Together,

yet apart.”

 

5.

I only do what gives me

joy.  Anything else is a

waste of my time.  This

house speaks to me.  It

tugs at my heart.  Its aura

fills me with warmth,

with creative possibility,

with visions of joy.  Like

Val.  He gives me joy.

He always has.

 

6.

“No strings?” I ask and

dig the toe of my cowboy

boot into a patch of

crabgrass.  “None,” he

says.  “What do you think?”

 

7.

“Did you ever see that

movie years ago about

Frida Kahlo and Diego

Rivera?” I ask, standing

in the narrow strip of

dormant grass between

both houses, seven

feet in width.  “I did,”

he says, his eyes as blue

as this Yuletide sky,

searching mine.  I study

one house, and then the

other.  “Looks like we

could build a bridge to

connect the second floor

of my house to yours,”

I say.  “Just like Frida

and Diego.  I’ve always

loved their studios.

What do you think?”

 

8.

Sunshine splashes

across a whorl of maple

leaves at his feet, each

one fluttering in the iced

breeze like the cardinal’s

fiery feathers.  “Done,”

he says, squeezing my

hand.  “We’ve got a deal.”

 

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