>> Thursday, October 1, 2009
"It's a chair."
Alberta couldn't think of anything clever to say. It was indeed a painting of a chair. "Maybe it has some extra meaning? Something about carrying something until you become an inatimate object."
Gabe examined the painting for a moment before coming to the same conclusion as Kate. "Pretty sure its just a chair, Alberta."
"Now you know its serious. He agrees with me."
The three stood around the painting staring at it quietly as if they were waiting for it to speak and explain itself. Alberta was sure that she was the only one giving the artist the benefit of the doubt. It could have meaning. It was completely possible that even the fact that a painting of a chair got into the museum is itself a statement of something.
"Chairs," a strange woman said while walking over to them, "are a statement of our own classification and subjegation. Chairs do all the work for us, holding us up at dinner and in front of the TV while we get older and our asses get larger. But no one gives thanks to the chair for just doing its job. No one ever really looks at a chair."
Alberta wrapped an arm across her stomach, gripping her other arm tightly. Both Gabe and Kate were oddly silent watching the girl in surprise.
"Uhm, wow." Kate finally managed to say. "How do you get that from..."
"I painted it," The girl smiled at Kate as the Gabe and Alberta suddenly had to glance away. No one had noticed her standing on the floor before. Was it possible she'd heard them talking? How embarrassing!
The girl looked at the painting allowing Kate to glance away. "Yep. Put a lot of work into it too. Hours and hours."
Kate sucked in a breath which Alberta could swear would have (probably should have) been a curse. "You heard us?"
The girl winked at her. "We're the only ones on this floor you know."
"Crap. Sorry. Music's more my thing." Kate waved at Gabe. "He's got no excuse though."
The girl laughed. "It's alright. I'm partially jerking your chain anyway. I mean, c'mon-- it's a friggen chair in a museum. I had to make something up." She turned to them. "I'm Regina. Wanna go outside for a smoke?"
Alberta could see Gabe was ready to politely refuse. Kate was faster though. "Sure."
"Oh god, that's so good. The woman who runs the place wants me to be here to present my paintings. Told me to look nice. I think I look nice. She didn't think boots and a sun dress were appropriately 'nice.' Bitch."
Alberta really couldn't see the problem. "I think you look nice."
"Oh you're sweet. A bit innocent though, aren't you? Hopefully someone's watching out for you. Oh geeze," Regina held out her carton of cigarettes. "Did either of you want one? I'm going to guess that Innocence here doesn't smoke."
"Sure." Kate bravely reached out and took a cigarette from the carton. Alberta hadn't known that Kate smoked. Yet there was Kate, taking a cigarette like she had always known Regina and lighting it without stopping to think about it.
There were so many things she felt she didn't know and hadn't experienced yet; it almost made her feel a little out of place until Kate took her first drag and started coughing as if she would die.
"Kate, are you okay?" Alberta could see Gabe out of the corner of her eye crossing his arms over his chest and laughing.
Kate held up her first finger in response to Alberta's question as she fought the coughs, her eyes a tiny bit teary. She then shoved her lit cigarette at Gabe, "Here tough guy. You take it then."
"Your lips have been on that. I'm not taking it."
Regina held out her carton to Gabe. With a tiny roll of his eyes, he grabbed one cigarette, deftly lit it with Regina's lighter, and took a puff on it.
"Crap. Stop showing what a burn out you are."
"Do you want me to teach you?"
"No." Under her breath, Kate mummbled, "Jerk."
"Are they always like this?" Regina asked.
"Generally. This is them being nice, if you can believe it."
Regina laughed. "I can bet what you put up with."
Alberta didn't want to pepper Regina with a ton of questions, but there was so much she was curious about. Kate appeared interested too. Once she'd decided to just ignore Gabe and his teasing, she turned back to talk with Regina. Kate didn't worry about peppering Regina with questions; she asked the questions in the same way she'd acted as if she could smoke.
"Look, I will tell you this much. I'm eighteen and I have my own house. If you wanna know more, you'll just have to come over some time." Regina winked at Kate. "I better be heading back. See you all later."