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All About the Sea

They took her to lunch around the corner. The restaurant was elegant, small cut orchids on the tables, white linen cloths and napkins and a staff that was both discreet and obliging. They ordered for her, telling Isabel this was the best place for fresh fish in New York. Isabel thought about Sayulita and the fishing boats that brought the daily catch up to the beach for lunch. She didn’t say anything. Everything here was so different. She felt she had no place in this city except that Lita was here. They talked about the art world, about shows coming up, about the holidays, and finally, after the food came and they had eaten most of it, they spoke of her show.

The man who had first noticed her – it turned out his name was Raymond – asked Isabel a lot of questions. She tried to answer each one but he went so fast and finally she sat back and smiled enigmatically.

“Ah,” he said, “a sphinx has joined us.”

They all laughed. Isabel did also. But then she began to warm to them, to speak about her work. Eduardo was not there to edit her and she spoke freely, letting her mind drift back to her studio, before the break in her work, when she was fully engaged in creating.

“For me the sea is a great mother,” she said. “The Pacific is the mother of all the seas. She feeds us and wraps her arms around us. I paint that sense of belonging together all attached to this great wave that washes around us all the time. Yet I also paint a theoretical sea, a sea of time, a sea that has molecules dating back as far as Christ, a sea that has evolved from the most basic elements in nature.

“Do you know,” she asked them, looking around the table, “that Japanese scientists, studying the planet’s currents and where they go, discovered that not only do the currents remain separate from each other as they circle the planet, but they also go to depths of many many miles to the sea floor, and there they move very slowly, so slowly, in fact, that they have taken water samples that show molecules so old that they date back to the time of Jesus. Which means that the water from His time is still with us, still waiting to come to the surface and wash up on a beach somewhere. Perhaps in my little town of Sayulita.”

Raymond was watching her intently. Studying her, really.

“You have fabulous bones,” he said. “My boyfriend, Christian could do absolutely grand things with your hair and makeup – for the opening, you know? What are you wearing?”

Isabel said, “I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. In Mexico it’s easy. So warm, almost anything will do. Everyone’s very relaxed, not like here, I think,” she told him.

“Well you must let me take you to him,” he sighed and leaned against the settee back. “Of course, they won’t give him a real chance. Everyone needs a chance to get started. Although he’s working at – well, I won’t say because he may leave there. They don’t appreciate him enough. Don’t you agree, Amanda, that she has to look just right for the opening?”

Isabel Part 2, Episode Twenty-Five

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