"But I don't know that much about art."
"C'mon, April, it'll be fun, there'll be wine and cute guys. We're not going to stay all night, it's just
a place to get started. Besides, I thought you wanted to try something new."
The weather was nice, being her namesake month, so the heavy winter coats were gone and
that was liberating. Wine was good. The vote was still out on cute guys.
"Ok, I can do a glass of wine."
The gallery was pretty busy, a good crowd, mostly smartly dressed, a mix of money and
hipsters. April and her friend Carmella didn't look out of place, though they belonged to neither
of those groups. And the wine wasn't bad at all.
Of course Carmella was off as soon as her hand closed around the wineglass, chirping, "Mingle,
Dearie, don't be shy, its Friday night," over her shoulder as she disappeared into the crowd.
April hung back, sipping and watching.
She moved around the edge of the space looking first at the people, and then eventually the art.
She didn't talk to anyone.
There were large abstract canvases in bright colors in one grouping, small paintings of still lifes
in dark colors in another. Big photographs of nude women in hats covered another wall; April
didn't look directly at the nudes, but stared out of the corner of her eye. How were these women
confident enough to pose like that?
In another room were ceramics in earth-toned glazes, small bronzes of animals, and dioramas
of mostly urban scenes. April looked at them as she walked and sipped her wine, stopping at
the dioramas: an alleyway with trash cans, the back side of a building with a dilapidated fire
escape, a street corner with a mailbox. It was like a doll house city, but she never really had
dolls, not the nice ones anyway. The last vignette displayed a vintage aqua and white trailer
home with a curious rocking horse, a broken chair and a propane tank. Urban scenes were fairly
new to her, but she had seen trailer homes many, many times before.
The trailer looked a lot like Mrs. Gibson's place. The one she grew up in was almost as old,
though they would never have called it "vintage." The rocking horse was made of two flat, horse
shaped cutouts, decorated in the style of the old animal cracker boxes, and straddling a seat on
a spring. The back of the chrome and leather chair was broken and resting on the cushion. The
louvered glass windows on the trailer were remarkable in their detail. Everything was very
remarkable in its detail, and very familiar.
April bent over, half empty wine glass in hand, and peered into the small louvered windows of
the trailer. Those kinds of windows don't keep the cold out. Or the bugs in summer.
She leaned in quite close.
The interior of the trailer had the same level of detail: a tiny sink with dishes in it, tiny clothes
strewn about, a tiny vase with tiny dead flowers in it. On the wall was a teeny tiny framed
photograph of a young man with long dark hair. Like Camden. April stood up, suddenly dizzy.
She took a sip of wine and slowly bent down to the trailer again. No, the guy in the photo wasn't
Camden. She stared harder but the image was so small, and it was so dark in the interior of the
trailer that she couldn't see it clearly. She put her wine glass on the floor and fumbled in her bag
for her phone. Finding it, she looked around. No one seemed to be watching her, so she put the
camera as close to the trailer window as she dared and quickly snapped a couple pictures with
the flash, grabbed her wine off the floor and retreated into a corner.
She opened the photos on her phone and studied them. The images were a little out of focus
and bleached by the flash, but it was definitely not Camden. He was darker, exotic looking, at
least where she was from. Maybe Italian, or Hispanic? Or Indian? Had she seen enough Indian
people to know? He was shirtless, but his chest wasn't visible below the collarbones. Thick,
wavy black hair falling to the bare shoulders was brushed back from a broad, smooth face.
Smooth skin but bearded, maybe a couple week's worth. The lips were full and chiseled and
curled at the corners in the faint smile. And the eyes under long arched eyebrows were kind.
Definitely not Camden.
She smiled back at the face on her phone.
"Who's the dude?" hummed Carmella.
"Jesus! Where did you come from!" shouted April.
"Chill, girl, I'm just wondering who your new boyfriend is," Carmella said, looking around. "Is he
here? Am I going to meet him?" she said with a laugh.
"It's nothing, just an email from work."
"It's Friday night, time to stop working, are you ready for the next stop?"
"Sure, let's go," April said as she jammed the phone to the bottom of her bag, and they left.
April came back to the gallery in the middle of the next week. This time she was the only person
in the place aside from the saleswoman. She wandered over to the trailer diorama slowly, as if it
wasn't her destination. She looked into the window. The tiny photo was still there.
Why wouldn't it be?
She quickly left.
She came back several more times in the next couple weeks. She tried taking a few more
pictures with her phone. The saleswoman, Justine, caught her one time.
"I, I, just wanted, uh, a picture to, eh, show my, um, boyfriend."
Justine started to tell her all about the artist and his processes, but April eyed the door.
"How much is it?" asked April. It worked, Justine stopped talking for a moment to find the price
sheet. She was back before April could reach the exit.
"This piece is a steal at $1,500."
April gasped. That was as much as a real trailer. Not a nice one, to be sure.
"It's only going to go up once the artist gets famous, which will be any day now."
Justine looked at April carefully. April looked away.
"You can buy it on time, $300 down, $100 a month and it's yours in a year."
It was May now. The winter hadn't been as cold as last year.
It took some doing in a small apartment, but April made the space for it, near the window.
She looked at the diorama.
"I can't believe a bought a goddamned trailer."
She peered into the tiny louvered window at the tiny image of the gently smiling, slightly exotic,
bearded young man, whose kind eyes looked back at her.
"You bought a piece of art," the voice softly said.
By Marshall Hyde