• S L Michaels

I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Like

Updated: Feb 21

Oh my gosh! Can any of you imagine a thing like this appearing in public?

Last week, Nicolai took me to the City Museum where an art exhibition was being held. I was so nervous, at first, I mean what do you wear to an art exhibition? Nicolai always dresses so formal, it would be so awkward if I'm standing beside him dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

I knew this called for one person, and that one person was Beth.

After Beth talked me through my whole wardrobe and talking me off the preferable ledge into canceling this date completely, I went to the parking garage, and found Nicolai leaning against his Jag F-type. He looks up, and his eyes nearly bug out of his head as smile graces his handsome face. I run toward his car.

"You look beautiful, Sweetness." His deep British voice washed over me causing me to blush. "You ready to go?"

I nodded, and he opened the door for me.

"You know, they say a guy is the most handsome when he's driving."

Nicolai grinned as he expertly drove the sports car through the busy streets. "And, what do you think?"

"Yeah, I tend to agree, and even more so when it's you. I'm completely enchanted by the confidence, charm, and the sense of mystery that you exude when driving." I said trying my best to flirt.

"Sweetness, I have good reason to suspect the truthfulness of your compliment." Nicolai chuckled as he shot me a sideways glance as we waited at the stop light.

"No, I really do mean it! Trust me." I assured and reaching over, Nicolai took my hand, and planted a tender kiss on my knuckles as colors that remind of red and yellows like raspberries in the afternoon sunshine came into my sight from my synesthesia.

"Thank you, Sweetness." He smiled warmly and my toes curled.

Traffic in London was horrible, and it wasn't even rush hour yet. Sitting at a red light, I asked. "Do you go to art exhibitions often? I didn't know you were such an art fan."

"My mother's more involved in the art world than I am. She's actually the one putting this exhibit today." He replied simply really no emotion when he mentioned his mother, but my heart was about to leap out my chest.

I don't know if Nicolai could sense my uneasiness, but he took a deep breathe, and replied. "Don't worry she won't be there. She never is."

"Oh, Do you know what we're seeing today?" I asked cautiously.

"Well, let me guess-something fancy and novel?" He said teasingly.

"Seriously Nicolai, aren't you even curious as to what's going to be on display?"

"Okay, I'll admit. I kind of do. We'll know after we get there anyway."

"So, if you're not coming to see your mother, and the art isn't what's bringing you here then why are coming to this today?"

A sly smile snakes across Nicolai's face and I blush.

"Really? Am I that desirable?"

"Don't distract me while I'm driving Sweetness."

A light drizzle began to fall and blanket outside when we arrived at the gallery. Nicolai parked the car, and nestles my hand in the crook of his arm as he shows the staff the two tickets that he pulls from his coat pocket.

"Oh, the Judith Blue exhibit,. You're gonna have an interesting experience." The staff member commented as she looked at our tickets. "Third floor. You can take the elevator or use the stairs at the end of the hallway. Enjoy your time."

As soon as the elevator door opened, we saw a urinal standing right in front of us.

Nicolai stood still, reluctant to move forward, looking a mix between astonished and mortified.

"Ah, Nicolai! We are so happy that you could make it. I hope you feel the warm welcome from this masterpiece." The docent greeted us.

"Welcomed by a...toilet facility. This has my mother written all over it." Nicolai rolled his eyes embarrassed.

Up until that time, I had never seen an urinal in my life, and I think that's what was making poor Nicolai so uncomfortable.

"Miss Blue thought that this piece would be the best thing that the patrons see first thing to help immerse the audience into a new environment immediately by arousing your organic memories." The docent explained.

"I can't believe it's part of an art exhibition!" I shake my head in disbelief.

"Miss Blue was very specific about the theme for this exhibit. In today's modern society, many people are becoming ashamed to talk about their physical needs, right down to the very basic function of peeing or pooping-why it's as normal as eating or sleeping. And to be honest, people quite enjoy themselves when they are on the toilet. They like to feel the process. It's like a flow of energy and life force. But this item is perfect for the theme! Welcome-to the Toilet Museum!" The docent exclaimed and waved her hand over the room.

"Oh, God." Nicolai groaned and as he shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose.

I almost spit as I tried to hold back laughter but I failed, and it came out in a very loud snort.

"This piece is called Fountain."

"Fountain?" I asked not sure I had her correctly.

"Yes, it is on loan from a museum in Pittsburg."

We fell into an awkward silence. Now there were four things standing and gazing at each other-the innocent urinal, the overwhelmingly friendly guide, Nicolai, and me.

"Well, there's a café on the first floor. You may have seen it before entering the elevator."

Thank God-someone has rescued us from the embarrassment, but this is for Nicolai's mother.

"You know, Nicolai, now that we're here, why not we try to enjoy it? There has to be something inspiring on display. You shouldn't miss out." I say trying to persuade Nicolai into staying.

"Alright, but if there's anything in here from my sister's time at Camp Love Yourself, we are out of here."

"Camp what?" I nearly gasp.

"Don't ask." Nicolai rolled his eyes as he shook his head.

"How may I help you? Are you in need of a tour guide?"

"No!" Nicolai exclaimed to the docent.

"Alright then enjoy your time.

We wandered the space casually, stopping by from time to time appreciating the artworks. At first Nicolai was slightly intimidated by the bizarre items on display, but he gradually relaxed and became completely absorbed by them.

A photograph that was hanging on the toilet tank caught my eye. I stepped closer to see it clearly and then became engrossed in reading the art brief. It's not until I'm about to share my thoughts with Nicolai that I realize he was gone.

I walked around the exhibit space looking for him and it took me a while to find him standing at the urinal work, reading the artist's introduction.

"Find anything new?" I asked as I came up behind him.

"Not really. How much can you interpret from a toilet facility?" He replied as he shrugged.

"You're board right? I'm sorry. I shouldn't have made you stay. It was just that this was for your mom and I really thought that maybe there could be something we could've enjoyed."

Nicolai then bends down from six foot four height and looks me in the eyes. "Is this the girl who told me in a firm tone that here must be something inspiring here?"


"If you ask me, I have seen a fine piece of art that has inspired me."

"You have? Which piece?" I asked as I searched the room.

"This." He replied as he took my hands.

"Me?" I gasped.

"Mmm-hmm, I may not know art Alina, but I know what I like."