“The vase to your left is the most expensive piece of Chinese porcelain to ever sell at auction,” the tour guide at the Gotham Gallery in Manhattan, New York says. “And to imagine that the owner didn’t know it’s value having only insured it to £800 while it sat atop a wobbly bookcase in his living room before selling it for £53 million.”
I look around the other members of our tour group at the sixteen inch vase. All I see is some flower holder with a couple of glamorized crap on it. Coy fish? Just call the darn things crap already.
But then again that’s why I’m here today.
I don’t want my family friend Alex, who I’ll be staying with this summer here in NYC, to think I’m a complete hick. I need to get some culture, and some sun after months of locking myself in my room to prepare for my stint at Parsons, before meeting up with Alex later tonight.
All I know about her is that she’s an elegant art dealer here in New York. I don’t want to embarass my entire family with my lack of knowledge so I figured I’d spend the afternoon seeing some things at the Gotham Gallery so I could at least pretend to have something to talk about at dinner this evening.
Not to mention I can’t check-in to her apartment before seven o’clock tonight so I have to kill the time somehow. A quick tour of the gallery and then to the tourist storage locker I rented to hold my luggage and a taxi to Alex’s and I’ll finally get to take a shower to remove that airplane feeling from my body and hair. Yuck.
“And over here is an original cup used by the Romans…,” the tour group’s voice tails off as the group shifts a few feet towards the next piece.
And it’s a perfect time for me to shift gears and catch my breath. Today has been hectic and I need a quick second to chill out. I don’t think missing one thing will be the end of the world.
I look down at the railing thinking how nice it would be to lean against it for just a second to take a bit of the weight off my feet from all this walking.
But if somebody sees me I could get in trouble, not to mention it would look really unsophisticated and lazy.
But right now I don’t care how I look. I care how I feel and my feet are aching.
I look to my right and then my left. I see a hallway to the side and hear footsteps, but I can tell they’re a long ways off.
Okay, I’ve got a few seconds to pull this off. That’s all I need.
I lean to the side extending my forearm and bracing my fingers ready to grip the railing as I keep my head turned in the other direction in case the tour guide looks my way.
At about the point were my hand should find the railing I feel myself completely losing my balance as I miss the railing all together and quickly try and right myself only for my feet to get tangled and my body to contort like some kind of drunk girl on the dance floor dancing to techno music.
Or should I say ballet, because suddenly I’m spinning on one leg and I feel that stupid velvet rope that was next to the railing wrapping around my body and now I’ve really lost it.
The metal post slides and everyone’s eyes turn toward me as my eyes look for something to grab before my face finds the floor which is rapidly approaching.
I stick out my hand searching for anything and find something, but instead of grabbing it I just push it.
I feel my wrists lock and my forearms brace as I hit the floor as I try to roll over onto my side to brace the impact and save myself needing to schedule a rhinoplasty tomorrow.
I feel the tip of my nose find the cold floor but my spin works and my shoulder takes the brunt of the impact and I roll over onto my back kind of like the reverse of a turtle trying to get up off it’s back.
I look up at the ceiling expecting to see everyone laughing or maybe if I’m lucky something by Michelangelo, but instead all I see is a vase tipping back and forth from the pillar which it’s sitting on…which is also tipping.
I feel goosebumps cover my body and only two thoughts on my mind.
Don’t let it hit the ground!
The vase comes off.
Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!
I dig my heel in and push sliding my body back trying to get underneath it as I shoot out my hands over my head.
I feel the vase make contact with my fingers and my body curls like I’m doing some kind of toe touches from a calisthenics video, but all I really do is just send the vase back up into the air meaning I’ve got to catch it again.
My eyes lock in on the vase and I roll frantically to my left like I’m on fire trying to get to the place where it’s going to hit next.
I keep rolling and my eyes close hoping for the best as I bring my hands to my face readying, make that praying, that I get it this time.
Slowly my left eye opens followed by my right.
All I see are slick oxblood leather shoes and some navy blue slacks…
And two hands about a foot from my face moving upward securing the vase against the body of a man who is so big, so tall, and so hot I have no idea why his body doesn’t have it’s own sculptures in the other wing of the museum.
“Enjoying the tour everyone?” he says as he cradles the vase under one arm and extends his other to me.
I look at his hand not sure if he’s expecting me to fill his palm full of bills to pay for the damage I may have caused or if I should take it and get up off the cold floor where I’m making a gigantic fool of myself.
Before I can figure it out he’s grabbed my hand and he’s hoisting me up like I’m light as a feather and I feel my feet find the floor and his arm wrap around my midsection as I catch my balance.
I quickly brush myself off, but I can’t take my eyes off of him.
He’s absolutely incredible.
He gives me a wink before turning to the guide. “Everything’s all sorted. Enjoy the tour everyone,” he says.
He turns to go and in doing so his hand spins me back toward the direction of the group and the velvet rope spins right off me.
I immediately miss the strength of his hand around my waist. Those thick strong fingers and that masculine forearm.
I watch as he rounds the corner and all I hear are the sound of those same steps moving down the hall again.
This time in the opposite direction.
As in out of my life just as quickly as he came into it.
I’m not sure if I’m ecstatic that he just saved me from working ‘round the clock for the rest of my life in a futile attempt to pay off the vase I oh so nearly destroyed, or if I’m completely devastated that I’ll never see him again.
I’m completely confused. That’s for sure.
I always thought art guys weren’t the kind to know their way around a gym, but not him. Oh my.
When I declare my major at Parsons maybe I’ll change it from graphic design to sculpture.
The best artists are motivated from personal life experiences and I’ve never been so motivated to know the name of, and find someone, in my entire life.
I have to see him again.