Now that I’ve been in New York, I’m getting used to hanging out with my new friends. I really enjoy spending time with Sandy—and, surprisingly, Henry, as well. I think it’s the fact that he’s a painter, and I’m obsessed with art. At one time, I debated whether to stick with dancing or attend art school. Dance won out, obviously, but I never lost interest in art.
I’m so excited when he invited both Sandy and me to his art studio. I can’t wait to see it. Sadly, Sandy’s schedule is so busy now, she’s unable to join me. I’m not sure if I should go by myself. As I said, I suspect she has a crush on Henry.
But Sandy is the one who convinced me. “Mia, you love art, so I think you should go.”
I frowned. “Don’t you want me to wait for you?”
She shook her head. “I’m not sure when I will have time, with the new show and all. Besides, I am sure Henry will be okay with it just being you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing, Mia.” She walked away, smiling.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and be spontaneous. I’ll go and see Henry by myself. He was my friend, after all, and I think it’s about time I saw more of his work and current projects. Luckily, his art studio was not far.
Besides that, I needed some diversion today. I’ve been thinking more and more about going back home for Leo’s anniversary. I couldn’t believe it’s almost been two years since he passed. When I closed my eyes, it seems like it just happened. I’m still in shock over the fact I was able to move to New York the way I did. I didn’t think I could ever pull myself back together after his loss. I am fortunate. I credit my mom and dad and my close friends back home, not to mention the support group. But what I did not expect was that I’d be able to find these new friends I could count on too.t I I had not shared anything with Henry. Sandy just found out about it not too long ago. I know I needed to trust Henry with this information about me too, but I was not sure just yet. Anyway, right now I just need to focus on having a fun time with a friend.
The view surrounding Henry’s art studio was incredible. I mean, it’s on Dance Avenue, but it also overlooks Manhattan. I’m dumbfounded by it all. My heart raced as I get closer.
Henry called me. “Hey, Mia. Come on up.” Wow, how does he know I’m here? I haven’t even rung the doorbell yet. “Hello, luv,” he says by way of greeting and grins at me.
I looked down at my feet. “Ah, hello, Henry.”
“Oh. Luv is a term of respectful greeting in England. Just trying to be proper.”
Whew! What a relief! For a second there, I thought I made a huge error in coming alone.
He studied me, and I’m surprised I don’t feel the least bit uneasy under his intense gaze. “Well, don’t just stand there. Come on in.”
I nodded. “Okay. Sure.”
“Here, let me grab your coat.”
I got lost for a moment in Henry’s accent and don’t notice that he’s continuing to speak to me.
Finally, his voice cuts through. “Mia, you okay?”
“Yes, I am fine.”
But by this time, Henry is so wrapped up in one of his paintings, he doesn’t quite hear me.
“What did you say?” he said in his British accent.
I gave him a confused look. “Aye?”
“Aye. It means ‘yes.’ At least, it does where I’m from…and in London, or at least in the northeast, in the cities of Newcastle anTyneside.”
The puzzled frown stays on my face.
He smiled. “I see geography is not your forte. But maybe you wouldn’t know it unless you were from there?”
I laughed.“Thanks, Henry. I would say both.”
“Well, I could help you with that, Mia.” He looked straight into my eyes for a moment, and then he turns back to his painting. “Okay, so are you coming to see what I am working on?”
I walked toward the painting and notice all the other oils on canvas surrounding us. Henry is one gifted artist. The Degas influence can be seen in every painting, but each one is uniquely Henry’s. He added a bit of his own twist to them.
“So many paintings of dancers,” I murmured.
He shrugged. “I love painting dance. Love the movement and the rhythm of it.”
I nodded. He’s expressed those qualities of dance so beautifully and realistically with the textures and techniques he uses. They’re captivating. In fact, they are so engrossing, I don’t even see or hear him come up from behind me.
“So, you approve?”
I jumped at the sound of his voice. “Oh my, Henry. You startled me!”
“That’s okay. And to answer your question, yes, I approve.”
He smiled back at me. “Well, I’m glad.”
“So, is this all for the gala?”
He shook his head. “No, only the contemporary paintings.”
“Well, they are all lovely.”
“Thanked. I hope it all works out.”
“Henry, I am sure it is going to go amazingly well.”
“Oh, really?” He chuckled.
“Yes, I’m no expert, but I do know art, and I am telling you, Watson, you will be famous.”
“Oh, so it’s Watson now?”
“I guess so, since you are going to be famous and all.”
He laughed. “You’re too much. I like this side of you, Mia.”
“Thanks. I thought.” I looked down at the floor again. Every time I’m with Henry, I felt more and more at ease with him. He seemed to be a very friendly and genuinely nice guy.
I’m there in his studio for a few hours before I realize how late it is getting. “Wow, Henry. Looked at the time.”
He took a step back. “Oh, you have to go now?”
I nodded. “I’m afraid so. There’s so much I have to get done. I’ll be going back to Michigan soon, and I needed to get everything ready so I don’t miss any class or work.”
“I didn’t know you were going back to visit so soon.”
I looked down at my hands and try not to bite my lip. “Well, this is a special occasion.”
He smiled. “Well, enjoy the time with your friends and family.”
I nodded, but I still could not look him in the eye. “Thanks. I am sure I will.”
“Well, later, luv.”
As I walked back to the dorm, I couldn’t help feeling glad to have had the chance to spend a nice afternoon with him, although I do feel a bit guilty for not telling him the real reason behind my visit home.