Short Story Series 1 – Part 2 (SSS1-2)

[…continued from Part 1]

With a welcoming arm motion, Lydia indicated where Kathleen was located within the house. Of course, having visited numerous times I knew the house well.

I continued, “Hello, Kathleen. I brought you a gift of olives from my trip to Greece this past summer.”

“How nice – thank you! I’ll open them now. They’ll compliment the hors d’oeuvres perfectly. Martini,” she asked?

“Please.”

“If I may ask, were you in Greece on vacation,” Lydia asked?

“Not really. Though it was quite beautiful and relaxing. I was there to meet a client who wanted to familiarize me intimately with the location where his house would be built – I’m an architect.”

“Fascinating! I studied architecture for several years before committing to a Master’s Program at the Art Institute of Chicago.”

“Is that where you studied architecture,” I inquired?

“No. I studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe just before he died.”

“Oh my God! How fortunate for you! I’m envious of that opportunity,” I said, astonished.

She continued, “I had a thesis in mind ever since I was in high school concerning the benefits to a society that lives with artful intention; that domiciles, office spaces, institutions could all feel like home when art and proper design is used as a catalyst. So, I obtained a BA in Fine Arts primarily as a sculptress, with degrees also in Art History and Sociology first. After a good foundation in architecture, though, I shifted back to Art History for my Master’s.

“My…how old are you,” I blurted? “I’m sorry. That was rude of me. It’s just that…you seem in your early 20s… you’ve done triple duty as an undergrad, and you’ve finished grad work?”

“Yes, well, I’m 27. It’s not rude at all. And thank you for the youthful compliment,” Lydia said and smiled demurely.

“Before you two immerse yourself too deeply in conversation about art and architecture,” Kathleen interjected, “please help yourselves to a plate of hors d’oevres and sit by the fire. I’ll bring your drinks in just a minute.”

Just then the phone rang. “Dammit,” Kathleen whispered, “I forgot to return a call earlier today and now I have to take this. I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll finish the drinks,” Lydia offered. And she swiftly moved behind the bar to take care of two martinis. “Olives,” she looked at me?

“Yes, please. Thank you.”

I was impressed with the comfort Lydia exuded, seemingly having little reserve and no trepidation with a stranger and total comfort as if this was her own home. I may have been misreading her body signals, but she seemed as though she really wanted to talk with me, so much so, that I wondered how much thought Kathleen put into this evening. Was she setting us up? Did she talk me up to Lydia, so to speak? Because the telephone invitation that afternoon was the first time I heard about her niece.

“Patrick, please tell me about your work – is it mostly residential?”

“Mostly. I’ve done a small town library, but the work I’ve been getting for several years is thanks to my older brother, Thomas, who has been a successful general contractor for decades.”

We walked over to the living area by the fireplace. I sat on the couch and she sat on on arm chair directly facing me. She set her martini on the end table, slipped off her shoes and sat with her legs crossed, put her hands together, as if she was going to meditate, and then looked at me most inquisitively.

“How did you meet your Greek client,” she asked.

“Through Thomas. I designed a Greek man’s sprawling lodge in Vail. In Greece, he’s planning to build a home out of which he can host large gatherings, private film showings, concerts, etc. His foyer will be 1000 square feet of gallery space. For once, I am excited about a project, but he hasn’t contracted my services yet.”

“What do you mean by ‘for once’,” she pursued?

“Well, residential work has been less than satisfying. Granted it can be challenging, but…I don’t know how to explain it. In favoring the requests of my clients, often their own imposing visions – which they are certainly entitled to demand – leaves my soul wanting. I suppose it is more that I craft solutions to problems for money rather than create spaces. It is just not fulfilling. This project, however, has the potential to be a work of art.”

Lydia said excitedly, “Oh, I know exactly what you mean. And, you see, this project of yours falls within the scope of making an institutional building feel like home.”

“How do you mean.” I asked?

“Adrian Michaletos,” she said assuredly, as a light bulb clicked on behind her beautiful eyes! Why didn’t I notice them before – her eyes – a dazzling emerald green.

“How do you know my client’s name, Lydia?”

“I believe he’s my client, too.” She laughed. “He purchased twelve sculptures of mine last year. He had them crated and stored awaiting display in his future home in Greece.”

“This has to be more than coincidence,” I muttered.

I forgot about my martini and the ice cubes had nearly melted. As if Lydia were not intriguing in her own right, her rapport with me was deepening the allure and mystery of what kind of soul was at the core of this young woman. I knew nothing about her except for the brief introduction into her academic education. I needed to find out more and sincerely hoped I could spend the rest of the evening talking with her alone. I wondered if Kathleen would get off the phone soon and interrupt this magic that was happening. I also wondered if Lydia, too, felt something between us, a resonance with me.

To be continued…

© 2018 Michael Armenia

Short Story Series 1 – Part 1 (SSS1-1)

I think it’s important for me to write every day, or as often as time allows, and that is not something I have ever done before. So without further ado, I will begin writing here the first installment of the first short story in  a series of short stories. (These are works of fiction. Therefore,  any resemblances to persons living or dead are merely coincidental. Just kidding! Or am I? No, it is. Or is it? Hmmm)

Short Story Series 1 – Part 1 (SSS1-1)

Snow had not yet fallen, but it was a chilly winter afternoon just after Thanksgiving in 1972 when I first met her, the one that got away.

The ringing of my olive green phone was muted from its resting spot on the coordinated orange and green, speckled shag rug that lay just in front of the glowing fireplace. It was my neighbor, Kathleen Thompson, a slightly older lady calling to invite me over for cocktails. Her niece was in town, didn’t know anyone, so, Kathleen thought I might like to make her acquaintance. We settled on a time that evening – six o’clock. When I put the receiver down, I was a little flushed for not really being in the mood to meet a young woman. But, Kathleen was a good friend and neighbor and I was happy to oblige. I could make small talk. I’d have a martini, try to smile and pass the time cordially.

Our houses were actually quite far apart. The region of the Colorado Rockies where we lived was laid out in parcels of five,  ten, even twenty acres and a visit to a neighbor was likely a walk of several minutes. But, it was always a beautiful one in any direction. Kathleen lived to the left and her roof was about 50 feet below mine. I could see it from my back deck. To the right lived Harvey Kettleman, a retired banker. The windy road we all lived on was paved, though you wouldn’t know it in the summer when the winds blew. After a tumbleweed race, it would be covered in reddish brown dirt. It actually looked kind of nice against a backdrop of blue spruce trees.

I was an architect. I say “was” because after Lydia “got away,” I quit the business and devoted myself to the fine art of painting, oil, tempura, and mischteknic. That was her name Lydia Talbot. Talbot was the married name of Kathleen’s sister.

Six o’clock nearly came and went without my notice. But, when my late grandmother’s grandfather clock chimed six times, I made haste and jumped in the shower for five minutes. I figured that as informal as this was, I could be a little late.

Kathleen’s house was a typical mountain A-frame house with four bedrooms and three and a half baths – something I notice, as an architect. I rang the doorbell expecting Kathleen to answer, but when the door opened I was just enamored by the beautiful young smiling woman who answered. I think I was in a trance. Her naturally colored lips seem to move in slow-motion, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I heard a few angelic harmonies in the ether all around me and she was glowing. I don’t know how many seconds it took for me to snap out of it, but I felt a strong magnetic force emanate from her when I extended my hand and introduced myself.

“My name is Patrick Kendall and I live next store.”

“Yes, Patrick. I’m Lydia Talbot. We’ve been expecting you,” she unhesitatingly countered.

I was tingling all over when, rather than let go of my hand immediately, she gently pulled me inside slowly releasing her grip as she shut the door with the other hand.  Then I was in the grip of her perfume, a fragrance unlike anything I’ve ever known. Only I’m sure it wasn’t perfume – it was her. At once subtle and potent. Fate was serenading my senses.

“Is that Patrick,” Kathleen shouted from the open kitchen in the center of the house?

“Indeed it is,” I replied! I needed an opportunity to break free from this debilitating enchantment. I mean, it was quite sublime but I had to maintain some decorum, keep my senses well-grounded. I did not know anything about Lydia or just why she was so absolutely alluring, but I was certain I would quickly grow addicted to her. I clearly would have my chance to know her this evening, if not ever again.

To be continued…


© 2018 Michael Armenia

What I’m reading this week…

Several years ago, a friend of mine asked if I had read the Ringing Cedars Book Series, suggesting that it would resonate with me regarding its spiritual qualities and back-to-nature theme. I had never heard of it let alone read it. Since among my library of reference books there were hundreds of books still awaiting a thorough read, I thought I would probably never get to them. However, when the nine-volume set (there are now ten) appeared before me in the flesh several weeks ago as fodder for an upcoming library book sale, I took it as a sign that I should read it now – and not just read it, contemplate and meditate on its substance. Despite setting aside a dozen non-fiction books which I should read over the summer of 2018 which would foster one my major writing projects, I committed to reading this series by Vladimir Megré first.

In brief, this is a book about nature and spirituality, a philosophy of living, loving and co-creating. It is portrayed by the author, a simple Russian entrepreneur, as his true and faithful experience of meeting a recluse in the Siberian forest. This most beautiful and goddess-like woman whose name is Anastasia is so fully actualized, she exhibits the wisdom of all the ages as well as apparent supernatural abilities, all of which she says is present in every human and actualized once we raise our awareness.

At the rate of reading one book every other day, I’ve just finished the fifth book out of the nine and I cannot wait to document the potentially life-altering material presented so far. I’m not going to review the series which has been published for nearly two decades now, first in its original Russian and then distributed worldwide in other languages including, of course, English. I will not write with respect to what I like about the books – which is most everything – or what I don’t like, only a few criticisms, mainly with regard to language, translation choices. What I mean to express here is why and to what extent this series is important to me.

Much of what she says resonates deeply within me, affirming my heartfelt intuition about so much. Regardless of what happened to the author, he was divinely inspired to share all of this information which I feel is of utmost importance for human beings to ascend spiritually before plundering themselves into material oblivion. Nature provides everything we need while our technocratic endeavors drive us further away from who we are – our true essence.

When I finished the fourth book, I was inspired. That volume had some remarkable revelations for me regarding my magnum opus, a work in progress. It  will be instrumental – inspiring to say the least – for dialog in the first few scenes of my epic historical drama which is under development.  My play which takes place in Renaissance Europe contains the most fascinating blend of historical characters.  The relationships between the characters has been fleshed out, and moreover the connection of their ideologies was firmly cemented in my mind after reading this book. There is amazing synchronicity at play!

Suffice it to say that the series has made such an impression on me that I intend to read this series next year in its original language, Russian. I studied Russian as a senior in high school. Because I’ve I pursued other languages since then, my reading comprehension in foreign tongues has spread quite thin. So, I intend to begin studying Russian online in the fall to establish reading fluency. I’ve the necessary textbooks at home as well. This will be fun to say the least.

It has been the most inspiring journey so far. Changes are afoot and welcomed. I am immersing myself in nature again and for all my family has been going through lately, I needed this spiritual grounding, a serendipitous and relevant follow-up to the last book I read, Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi.

So, if you are curious, pick up the first book titled Anastasia and absorb it cover to cover, for it is a very easy read. What you get out of it depends on how open your mind and heart are. Your potential is truly infinite!

Official Web Site for the Ringing Cedars Book Series