Time flew by as they wandered around Michael’s little art gallery. Marcie could think of no more fitting term, for it was an amazing body of work. As they wandered, she asked about each individual painting and he’d explain what was in his mind at the time of the painting. On more than one occasion, he asked what she saw first before giving an explanation.
“You have in an intuitive gift, Marcie. You see the reality, the depth, beyond the superficial and the brush strokes to what the painting is intended to portray.”
“I imagine that’s not always the case, sometimes people aren’t interested in seeing beyond that.”
“Sometimes. For instance, in this painting of the Civil War, I wasn’t there of course, but I did research and then extrapolated from there and this is the result.”
“My God, it’s like standing there, witnessing the event, the horses, the cannon, the guns, you can almost smell the dread, the fear, the determination. You see the courage and more written on their faces. It’s truly remarkable.”
They wandered without interruption until it was time to close up. “I’m going to Harry’s for a bite to eat. You interested?”
“I don’t want to impose, I’m sure you have plenty to do.”
“Not at the moment, no. My gurgling complaining stomach suggests I eat, so that’s on my agenda. Your welcome to tag along. I’d enjoy your company.”
“In that, case, I’d be delighted.”
Marcie stood nearest the door as he closed up shop and when he was finished, they headed out the door and turned toward the main street. “How long are you staying in Harewood?” Michael asked curiously.
“Not really sure,” she kicked a stone down the road ahead of them. “I’m on an extended vacation, so I can stay as long as I like. I can always work from “home” so I don’t need to sign into an office or anything.”
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I’m an insurance agent.” She turned and looked quickly at him to see his response.”
“It pays the bills.”
“Yes, it does. It might not be my dream job, but for the moment, it works.”
They walked on quietly side by side until they reached “Harry’s”. It was a delightfully decorated little bar/restaurant with a solid look. Beams overhead, solid wood stools tables and bar. It made her feel delicate in comparison, not an easy thing when you stood nearly six feet tall, and yet, she did.
Michael was clearly 6’4 because he towered over her and that was unusual. She peered at him through the corner of her eye. He seemed very relaxed and at home, comfortable in his own skin. It was endearing, reassuring, comforting. Most men found her, if not threatening, then concerning. They weren’t exactly threatened by her quiet strength, but they weren’t drawn to it or her either.
They chose a delicious heart soup and sourdough bread which was delivered with flair. She couldn’t help but smile. “Is that usual?”
Michael smiled, “Yes. Harry likes to put on the dog when someone new shows up. Although he does have a way about him.”
“What’s on your agenda tomorrow?” Michael asked.
“Oh, I don’t know, not really sure.”
“It’s my day off, so I was going to spend it painting. Are you interested in tagging along? I will set up an extra easel and paints, we can sit by the creek.”
“That actually sounds interesting, I’d like that.”
When they were finished eating, Michael suggested a tour of the small town and as they wandered, he pointed out interesting shops, and gave her a history of each one and the town. Marcie had always been a history buff, and she found his action thoughtful as well as entertaining. As they progressed through the streets, many nodded, waved and teased him and each other. It was a side of small-town living that was denied most city dwellers and it held incredible appeal.
As soon as dusk hit, the city lights popped on and the town was bathed in a delicate glow from twinkle lights that were left up all year round. Each tree shone delicately, a gentle luminesce that was truly welcoming.
They made their way to the park which was softly lit with the same theme but with specifically highlighted areas. “This is enchanting!” Marcie exclaimed.
“We got together and decided to take this path ages ago and with the advent of solar lighting, installed solar lamps that are brightly lit at all the intersections which keeps everyone safe but doesn’t destroy the ambiance of the overall look.”
“It’s really very precious. It’s something I’d love to paint,” Marcie spoke with awe.
“Perhaps that could be arranged,” Michael suggested.
When they reached the B&B she was staying at, she said, “Well, this is my stop.”
“Gwen and Gerald are a hoot. They care about their clientele and they offer the best breakfast.”
“I heard about the freshly baked chocolate chip muffins and homemade yogurt. I’m interested in trying both.”
“Since your on holiday, I won’t suggest an early start, but say ten?”
“That sounds perfect.” Marcie smiled her delight.
“I’ll be here at ten then, and don’t worry about lunch, I’ll prepare something.”
“Ok, it’s a date!” Michael smiled at her.
“See you then, Marcie.” Turning to leave, he held a hand up in a wave and sauntered away.
Inside, as she was making her way to her room, Gwen popped in to join her.”
“Marcie, breakfast is early but don’t worry, there are plenty of leftovers if you’re later than the early birds.”
“Thanks, Gwen, I’ll hold you to that.” She turned and sauntered to the stairs and up to her room with a spring in her step. She was looking forward to painting, something she’d promised herself she’d do during her holiday and spending the day with Michael, a man with many talents, the least of which was putting her at ease.