Arte - Art

I google some art galleries and make my way downtown

By Janie Isidoro
Published on LatinoLA: August 28, 2016

Arte - Art

Six missed calls! I'm almost afraid to even call my sister back. I sit in my car looking at the building in front of me that I call my second home. I really do like my job, but I want something different. Taking care of seniors is rewarding but Art is my passion. I want to have some work in an art gallery. My art is something I have never shared with anyone. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. There has to be more than just this for me.

My phone rings and startles me! I look at the screen and it's my sister. Again I take a deep breath, "Hello?"

"Why haven't you answered!"

She really isn't asking me a question; she's yelling and is mad.

"I was at work and can't answer. What's going on?" I already know what the call is about.

"Mom got arrested in San Jose. We need to help her." She shouts.

All we do is help her. I don't want to help her anymore. She's 46 years old. She will never change. Everytime I help her I feel myself being pulled into her problems. I'm not part of that life of hers. I'm tired of it. So tired.

"Claudia, I just got out of work. I'm hell of tired and this is nothing new. I'm hanging up I'll call you later."

I push end on the call.

Instantly, I get a text message from her that reads:

She needs us and you're like "whatever!" That is our mother, don't forget that!

I start texting her back with a machine gun of words as tears roll down my face. How can I ever forget? I'm constantly reminded by all the shit she does! I stop myself. I'm not feeding into it. I delete the message. I delete my explanation, my side, and my words of defense for my actions.

I walk into my lonely apartment and jump in the shower. How did I end up here? I'm twenty seven-years old, working at a job that gets me by, but does nothing for my heart. I live in an apartment by myself. I haven't spoken to my dad in seven years, because he told me that if I didn't want to speak to his wife then I couldn't speak to him. I guess he ignored the fact that she came into my home trying to say horrible things about my mom. Most were true, but at the end of the day she is my mom. I hate this loneliness. This isn't who I want to be.

I get out of the shower and throw on some jeans; a black shirt and some grey converse. I let my curls hang down to my back and shove a pair of clothes into a backpack. I'm driving somewhere. I don't know where, but I am!

I get into my brown '86 Regal and hit the freeway towards LA. Leaving the Central Valley feels good. No one I know will be there. I need different faces and a different scene.

I turn on my stereo, put some Cypress Hill on and push down on the pedal!

I drive into the city just as the sun is setting. Shit, now that I'm here, I can't believe I'm here! I drove because I was so upset. I don't know anyone and, I don't know where I'm going. I don't have anywhere to stay, what in the hell was I thinking? I almost want to just drive back home, but just thinking of my lonely apartment makes me stay.

I google some art galleries and make my way downtown.

As I make my way through the streets, these big buildings with their sparkling lights make me feel free. A feeling I have never felt. I feel happy and nervous at the same time. I'm in this big unfamiliar city all alone. Except for my GPS and my handy phone telling me where to go, I know nothing.

I pull into a parking lot surrounded by all these industrial buildings. They look amazing. Now the sun is hidden behind them and the buildings sparkle under the moonlight. As soon as I park, I realize that there is a car show going on. Or maybe it's just a bunch of lowriders parked here with people hanging out around them? I get out of my car and lock my door. I double check to make sure that it is locked. I don't want to come back outside and not find it. My stomach is turning; maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

These cars are amazing and I have to say that mine pretty much fits in. Too Short, "Gettin' It" is playing. I realize I am in a whole new world. I lower my head and make way through the parking lot. I really want to look at these cars but I don't know anyone.

I walk into the art gallery. It is which is amazing! There are paintings of the city all over the wall. I'm lost in an instant. I stare long and hard at every single one. There is a woman riding a bike down the busy streets on one. In another, is a '57 Bel Air with a Pachuco standing next to it, in a park. This art is beautiful.

"You're not from here huh?"

I turn slightly to see a handsome man wearing a white t-shirt and a gold chain with la virgen on it. His hat just about covers his eyes, but one thing I can't miss is the caramel color they are.

I swallow hard, for the first time in my life I'm stumped for words. I nod no slightly and without being able to stop myself I run my eyes down his stalky body all the way down to his feet. He has chucks on. He laughs slightly. I close my eyes in embarrassment and turn towards the painting. Oh my god! I can't believe I just did that! What the hell is wrong with me?

"Oralé, thanks for checking me out!"

I cover my face with my hand, please disappear, please disappear!

Without looking at him I begin to speak. It feels like I'm swallowing rocks! "I'm sorry. I ….um…..shit!"

He starts laughing again, "Hey no need to say sorry. Where you from?"

I turn to look at him. My eyes stuck on his.

"I'm from Visalia."

He squints his eyes slightly, "Where's that at?"

Every time he talks a dimple on his left cheek lets its presence be known. And my eyes keep finding their way to his plump red lips.

"Um….the Central Valley, by Fresno."

He nods his head smoothly, "Oralé, I went to a car show in Fresno. So what's up? You here to party for the weekend, ó qué?"

I nod my head, "No. I'm here to…." I look around. What the hell am I here for? I have no idea. "Honestly I don't know why I'm here. I'm here alone and I'm just here! I sound crazy, huh? Who comes to LA alone?"

His chest jumps slightly as he's trying not to laugh. His eyes are full of life and happiness. Can he see that mine aren't?

"Nah, you ain't crazy, weird pero no loca."

He stares at me and me at him. I can't believe he just said that!

He covers his mouth laughing, then grabs my arm slightly, "I'm kidding. It's a joke. Serio, I'm just playing. Pero, now I want to know why you're here in Lós Angelès alone?"

He would really think I was crazy if I told him I was running from my reality.

I point at the painting of the pachuco in front of the Bel Air, "What do you think this painting means?"

He stares into my eyes, I feel like he can see right through me, "I think este vato is proud of who he is; his neighborhood, his car, his life even his raza. He's sure of who he is."

I take my eyes off his and look back at the painting, "How can someone ever be so sure of all that?"

He turns to look at the painting and moves a little closer to me, "It's called strength. Pero, it comes from the heart and mind. Is that why you're here? Trying to find your fuerza?"

Am I? I feel a heat starting from my feet into the pit of my stomach. I turn to look at him, "How do you know so much?"

He grins.

I trust him instantly.

"Your eyes say it all. No mienten chula"

His words sound like the beginning of Ralfi Pagan's, "Make It With You". They have me in a trance that takes me somewhere far, ready to release anything and everything that's been hidden so far beneath.

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