Kate hung the phone up, massaging her neck as she did so. It was the end of a very long day – which had just been made longer by the call from her editor. “Kate, forget whatever you were going to do and get over to the gallery pronto! There is a showing tonight, and you need to be there! I cannot promote your work if you refuse to get out and meet other people – and they will be out in force tonight to support Jackson in his latest showing. I expect to see you there!”
Support Jackson? That crowd could care less about Jackson. Truth be known, Jackson could care less about Jackson. His once edgy work had been repetitive for more years than she cared to think about. Jackson was an ex for a reason, and the reason was she could not deal with his moods, his self-aggrandizement, and his no longer subtle drinking binges.
Polly (her editor) wasn’t even really a fan of Jackson’s. The real issue was that so many of her literary clients (and Kate was one of Polly’s top clients) liked to mix the worlds of literature and art, with a little fashion thrown in for good measure.
Kate smiled. At least fashion week had gone well. Her friend Adriana had presented a spring collection that was to die for, and the critics were still raving! Kate had her order in – pieces that would fit easily into her current wardrobe, and keep it updated.
Life was good – her book was going well, she was still seeing great sales from her last three books, she had gotten the price that she wanted for her Manhattan apartment, No one knew yet, but she was moving to the west coast – possibly San Francisco, although she had not decided exactly where yet.
Looking into the mirror in her home office, Kate repaired her makeup and brushed her hair out. She picked up her suit jacked, and her purse, and headed out the door. She smiled at the doorman, nodding yes when he asked if she needed a taxi. As they pulled away from the curb, Kate gave the driver the address to the Metropolitan Gallery on 53rd Street – a small but elite gallery where Jackson had been showing his work for years.
As they pulled up to the door, Kate took a deep breath. Was she nervous about seeing Jackson again, or was she dreading talking to Polly? Her editor had been getting more and more aggressive as the economy faltered, which Kate saw as a sign of insecurity. Michael Kane from Libman and Kane in San Francisco had been quietly talking to Kate for several months now about coming over to him. The decision was all but made. Even if things did not work out there,
Kate knew that her time with Polly was a thing of the past.
Kate paid the driver and walked through the gallery door. The lighting was soft, and there were several people already milling about – more to see and be seen than to admire the artwork. She accepted a glass of wine from a server, and started walking around. Some of the old talent was starting to shine through here. She was impressed – perhaps Jackson was coming out of his self-created world after all this time.
She felt a hand on her elbow. “Kate, I am so glad that you could come.” There was Jackson, standing at her side, dressed in the latest Armani with a blazing white formal shirt and decidedly subtle pale gray tie.
“You are looking well. I loved your latest book – so many truths, presented in such a subtle fashion. People losing themselves, people finding themselves. As always – tightly constructed, with a beginning, middle and end. What do you think of my latest work?”
“I am impressed, Jackson. Impressed with your work, which is showing signs of the old ability to see what could not be seen. And impressed with you – you look healthy, happy, and at peace with yourself. I am very glad to see this – it has been a long time coming.”
“Thank you, Kate. I have indeed found myself, after trying desperately to disappear all these years. The best thing that you could have done was what you did – to leave me, so that you did not have to take that journey with me. Do you see that woman over there?”
Kate looked to where Jackson was subtly nodding. There was a woman standing there, her age, dressed conservatively with gold earrings and thin gold bracelets. There was something familiar about her. Had she been at Adriana’s showing?
“That is my wife, Camille. I met her through my lawyer, at a dinner that he gave. She has saved my life – quite literally given me a new reason to live, and live well. Would you like to meet her?”
Kate took a quick breath. She had not heard anything about Jackson’s marriage, but she was happy for him. Happy that he had found himself again, and happy that he had a future that really was a future.
“Yes, Jackson, I would like to meet Camille. She looks like a very nice lady.”
Jackson nodded at Camille, and she walked over to them. Smiling, she held out her hand to Kate. “Kate, it is so nice to meet you. My name is Camille. Jackson has spoken so highly of you that I was hoping we would meet.”
Kate smiled and shook Camille’s hand. Life works in strange ways. Jackson was dong well, her apartment was sold, her life was in order, and she was ready to move to San Francisco and start the next part of her journey. There was no more reason to hold back. She would set a meeting up with Polly before she left the showing, and tie up that loose end. Then she would move forward, secure in the knowledge that what she was doing was the right thing to do.
© September 2010 Bonnie Cehovet