Chapter 1 – Meaninglessness

Cassidy Aubrey

The words that came out of my mouth were meaningless. I didn’t really mean it when I said, “Nice to meet you” or “It’s great to see you again tonight, sir, ma’am.” Most of the guests attending the opening party of Theodora’s gallery weren’t my friends. I didn’t have friends, not in this city at least… I had plenty of friends in another city, the city where I came from, New York. I was different from my sister, Theodora. She had many connections with important people—politicians, humanitarian activists, actors, singers, and musicians of all sorts. Theo, as I usually called her, was always actively seeking acquaintances.

“Networking is important, Cassie! Make connections, find people who will buy your work!” she would always nag.

What for? I thought. So they can evade taxes? So they can launder money from illegal gambling?

“This world is filled with darkness,” as my favorite author, Alexandra Hart, who took her own life last year, said, “and the darkest shadows lie in the brightest places.”

I knew how much Alexa disliked politics in the art world. Through the fiction stories she wrote and her own life story, Alexa made me see that there was still hope in art, if only artists would believe more in their work and not easily succumb to darkness, fame, luxury, just for the sake of a superficial lifestyle. “Artists should pursue eternity,” Alexa wrote in her essay. “Eternity does not favor mortal pleasures.”

Theodora didn’t like it if she knew I still reread Alexandra Hart’s writings. She said Alexandra was a dark, pessimistic, apathetic person, but that was only because Theo was annoyed. It was all because of Alexa’s refusal to accept her party invitation, a party similar to tonight’s gallery opening party, the third gallery owned by Theodora Aubrey.

I wasn’t a writer like Alexa. I was a photographer. I took photos with my grandfather’s old camera that he passed down to me when I was young. The vintage device, with its manual mechanical operation, was timeless, producing the best light recordings that were on par with modern digital equipment. The best part was that I could touch it with my own hands, develop my shots without the aid of software. It was like painting, but with light instead of watercolors or oil paints. But with chemicals, like a scientist in a lab. As a result, I got to know dozens of my own works personally, just like getting to know a person—their perfections and imperfections, I knew them all. The ten photos displayed on one side of this gallery wall, at the far end, they were mine, and I knew each of them well.

 

Alexandra Hart, if that person were still alive today, I would want her to accept Theo’s invitation just once, then look at one of my works and praise me. That’s all I wanted in this life. Sometimes, I might feel unhealthy for hoping that way, treating her like a god or some kind of prophet. But she was perfect, an extraordinary genius. Every piece she produced was always perfect. What she consumed every day made even me, who didn’t like reading, enjoy reading. I was lucky to have discovered her works. They filled the void in my heart, and it was not wrong for me to praise her. Maybe if it weren’t for Alexa’s words, I wouldn’t have made it this far in life. Maybe I would have died due to despair with my family. I always felt alone, and the same loneliness I felt in the midst of the crowd at Theo’s gallery opening was my daily sustenance at home.

I decided to just leave, unable to stay longer in the crowd. To avoid Theo and her friends at the front door, I had to go out through the servant’s entrance. I maneuvered quickly past the hurried waitstaff carrying stacks of dirty plates and empty champagne glasses to be cleaned and refilled. They seemed nervous and rushed. It must be because of Theo and her annoying demands, “No breaks allowed, food must keep coming, drinks must keep flowing, flood the floor if necessary.” She was crazy.

Just when I thought I was the only one trying to escape from Theo’s party, I was surprised to see a woman in a blue dress searching for something on the liquor shelves. I approached her because I recognized her silhouette. And indeed, when she turned around, her face was familiar to me.

“Oh my God, I thought you were someone else,” she placed one hand over her chest.

“Are you looking for something?” I asked, trying to be friendly and hopefully not sounding intrusive. This was the first time we had a conversation longer than a couple of words.

The woman, who was around my sister’s age, scratched her head awkwardly. “Doesn’t seem like it,” she said shyly.

I glanced at the nearby shelf, and all I saw was light alcohol. Maybe she wanted something stronger. But Theo didn’t prepare that kind of drink for this party. “What you’re looking for won’t be here,” I explained, looking back at her as she stared at me. Her large round eyes looked disappointed, and I couldn’t bear it. Finally, I offered, “Maybe… if you want, I have whiskey at the hotel. It’s right across the street.”

She grinned widely, as if I could clearly read her mind.

“Sure, sure,” she said. She was incredibly nervous, so nervous that her hands were fidgeting as she spoke, “Yeah, yeah, we can go to your place. Let’s cross the street. It’s not a problem.”

 

…TO BE CONTINUED…

First Time I Saw Jupiter (English)

First Time I Saw Jupiter (English)

Witnessing Jupiter: Why There Will Be No Picture of Us
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2017 Native Language: English
Narrating the story of a girl named Cassie and a woman named Augie. Two lonely souls, brought together by fate at an art gallery opening party.   KATIA ELSON © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Comment

Leave a Reply

Options

not work with dark mode
Reset