Dali and Me.

 

 

Dali, from the Purgatorio collection.
Dali, from the Purgatorio collection (courtesy of the UA Foundation). The print had real estate in my office wall for 5 years before being sold at an auction. ca, 2015. Photo by JAH.

Salvador looked through his door and winked at me as I sat there in front of my desk. I turned my head away to avoid the distraction, and decided to look out my window. It was a good day to be outside. Instead, there I sat across the hallway from Salvador attempting to will my fingers to move with my pen. The only response that I received was numbness. No movement, no life.

Salvador, on the other hand, was making a raucous in his own private dome.

Cara Mia, let it go! Must you always be so serious? You cannot will the fingers to move! They move of their own free will!” His voiced echoed in the empty hallway.

I often wished that he practiced projecting his voice through his art. It would be much calmer that way.

But he had not been the same since he found out about Federico.

When I heard of the ill-fated news of his dear friend, I ran home and searched for him throughout the house. Salvador had tendencies to remove himself from the world and hide. That day, I walked through the house without a care of the noise I made on the floors. I yelled for him and did not receive a respond. I thought, perhaps, that he decided to hide in the cellar. My intuition was correct when the door that leads to the cellar was slightly ajar. I walked through the kitchen door, or maybe it was the dining room door. I do not quite remember. I looked down from the cellar stairs and noticed a flickering light.

A sign that he had lit his candles.

As I walked quietly down the stairs, I found him on the floor crouched like a child. The flesh that kept him intact was as pale as the alabaster that he used for many of his paintings. His face was contorted in a manner of someone who was screaming, but no sound resonated from it. Where there should have been tears, his eyes were merely strapped shut which created the crease in the center of his brow. His fingers were clamped around a letter that he had stained with black ink. I was suspended where I stood just as he was suspended in the ache that neither he nor I can do anything to abrupt.

Finally, I whispered “Salvador, are you here?”

There was no response. He decided not to come back to this just yet.

I walked over to where he crouched and kneeled beside his pale body stripped from any clothing. His body was vulnerable as he was stripped from protection, yet exuded a strength that only he can evoke. Perhaps I comforted him at that moment running my fingers through hair. Hair encrusted with so many colors of hardened paint. He must have sat there for hours. His thoughts only lost to himself and to the cellar. I may have whispered some words of what I thought at that time was comfort, I do not remember them now, only that they must have been empty. For Salvador did not budge.

I left him in the cellar that day and hoped that he would come back just as he was before.

~0~

I sat at my desk working on my latest project and typing away at my keyboard when I heard him whisper to me “Cara Mia, you know you are wasting your time, eh no? You are sitting there working and wasting your life, eh?”

“Go away. I’m trying to concentrate,” I whispered back through the mouth that exists in the back of my head. Its existence is for the sole purpose to speak to him.

“You do not listen to me at all! I do wonder why I must yell at you to do something, when you refuse to heed my advice!” He snarled back.

I turned around to look at the wall behind me.

The wall showcased a work of art filled with many colors of green, gold, burnt sienna, and colors that I can’t explain in fear that I would devalue them. Two figures cloaked in mystery permeated the painting, neither coming nor going, but suspended in time with a message that only someone with a keen eye can decipher. I picked this one out on my own when it spoke to me. There was no epiphany or any light of revelation, at one point I thought the painting said, “Cara Mia, pick me!”—but there was no way that something as beautiful and classic as this painting would have resonated such a whiny voice. Perhaps, it said something else with a voice that evoked a Spanish and Italian accent. I do not remember.

Quanto è bello non è, il mio amore?” he whispered.

“Yes, I’ve told you it is,” was my response.

Cara Mia, I painted it that day, you know? How come you do not call me Salvador anymore, eh? You use to say my name with such passion! Now, you just tell me to go away. I can count all the wrinkles on your face for every time you tell me to leave you!”

I turned to face my monitor screen and there he was in his usual stance with one hand behind his back, the other hand twisting his stupid mustache.

I looked at him with indifference as he continued to smile at me.

“You will always be Dali to me,” I whispered in my mind, and loudly I said, “Now, go away.”

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