Recently, a dear friend named Arthur was opening a new studio named Haven. He’s a talented guy and painting is just one of his many talents. I’ve known him for over 20 years. I think we met in middle school. I always remembered that he was always a nice guy. He never bothered anyone; just marched to his own beat. I appreciated that. He represents some of my greatest high school memories.
Let’s get back to his studio opening.
We follow each other on social media and it was there that I found out the details about the event. I thought casually about traveling to Charlotte to see him. I thought about it some more and figured it might be doable. I talked to my wife about it and she thought it would be a good idea for me to go. That was my tipping point.
I adjusted my schedule so I could get off and booked my tickets. I figured it might be a cool thing to come and say hello. I didn’t expect what happened next.
After arriving to Charlotte, I took an Uber to his show. By this time, it had just started. I asked a young lady at the front,”Excuse me m’am: Where’s Art?” She replied,”He’s upstairs.” I began heading towards the stairs, heart thumping a bit harder with each step. I was overcome with excitement of seeing my old comrade. Once upstairs, it took me a short while to find him. Walking to greet me, I could see his face crescendo from normal to instantly gleaming as he placed his hand over his mouth in disbelief.
“No way, Herbie,” he said.
We first reached for a handshake but instead went in for an embrace. I was happy to see my friend. Really happy.
After we hugged, he placed his fingers into the corners of his eyes, behind his glasses. He was emotional. He then said,”This was bad timing, man. I’m sorry I’m so emotional. I’m such a punk….you asshole.” I said,”Man, no worries. It’s all good.” He motioned for another hug. After we hugged again, he began introducing me to one of his friends, telling them that I came from D.C. today just to surprise him. I knew, without a doubt, that he was happy to see me too (and that this had been the right thing to do all along).
Finally, I saw the cause of my visit: the artwork. I really got a chance to look at his pieces up close (prior to that, I had only seen them on social media). They were amazing. I know it sounds cliche, but they were. Such vibrant colors with layers of various media was everywhere. I stared at the artwork with such amazement. I found myself getting lost in a few pieces; swept up into the flows of various hues as they seem to move as they stood still. I felt relaxed, breathing deeply as I saw all that there was.
Upon my exit, Art and I took a picture in front of one of his pieces. We said our goodbyes, talked briefly about our next meet up, and then I left. It was totally an awesome thing to see my friend of 20+ years, praying that we have 20+ more.
Happiness. Happiness is the only word I can use to describe that night. For a split second at the airport (en route to Charlotte), I thought, “Is this totally crazy? Like, what gives you the right? This is just a little crazy.” Nevertheless, I went.
I had such a grand time. The people that he told about me flying from D.C. to see him, all had the same expression: “Aww. That was really nice.” The photographer that was there said, “Aww man. That’s tugging at my heartstrings.”
When I was getting things lined up, I was thinking that I was just going to see my friend (as if he were down the street). Maybe it was my naïveté, but I really didn’t think it to be a big deal. *insert shrug here* Apparently, people don’t do that for other people on the regular: But why not? I told Mario about it (one of my Uber drivers) and he said, “Man, that’s true friendship and love. It’s great to support your friends. Wow.”
I didn’t quite see it that way; as support. I guess it could be looked at as support, but that’s not what I had in mind. I saw it as going to see a friend (a really cool one, at that). I just followed my heart.
I’ll never forget what he said to me. He said, “This type of thing doesn’t happen to me.” I assumed he was talking about me coming to surprise him. I wanted to exclaim, “You’re worth it, man. And it did happen to you. It happened tonight!”
I knew what he meant though. He knew what it meant to be seen. That also meant that my mission had been accomplished.
Love & Peace.