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2011-2012 Fiction

"Dreamers and Winners"
By Jessica Stafford

Gorge and Laura were talking at the bottom of the hill.  Laura’s lazy expression demonstrated her disinterest in the conversation.  His body language and care-free attitude told her he was going to be a typical guy who expected her to open her legs just because he might kiss her a little more gently.  There was no romance these days.  Of course, she had forgotten what romance even was by now.

“…like blue flowers?  I think I’ll grab it.”  Gorge said.

Before she could catch up in the intense tête-à-tête they were apparently having, he jumped up and quickly rushed towards the top of the hill.  Gorge crouched down and paused near his objective before zigzagging back down.  He lay next to her talking about the flower like he had never gotten up.  Then he revealed it and gave it to her.

It was a simple, blue wildflower, but whether it was the beauty of simplicity or the sentiment behind the gesture, Laura saw it as the most gorgeous gift she had ever received.  It must have been the first year or two of high school since a guy had given her a flower.  She was already making plans to press it into a bookmark.  Later, she would take out the bookmark to reminisce and discreetly daydream.

“Mañana?  Let us spend all day tomorrow juntos.  I want to be with you,” Gorge said in his smooth, Latino accent.

About two years later they were in Laura’s college apartment.  He was painting her playing the piano.  Mi Bonita, he sometimes called her.  Occasionally, before heading down to the art gallery, he would leave her a stick-it note that called her his Sol de Mi Vida.  He loved the flow of her beautiful voice, the flawlessness of her tone, the perfection in her elocution.  Her words were like the deep blues, reds, and oranges he painted with.  It was undeniable and everybody besides her cynical family would agree.

Her left hand flowed peacefully up and down the piano, softly teasing random notes on the B flat scale, her favorite.  Her right hand toyed with different variations of the chords B flat, D and F.  Her voice La Dee Ohed effortlessly with the music she painted.

He stroked the canvas with his brush in quick, staccato movements.  He was forever trying to capture her passion, her eloquence.  He could have painted her for the rest of his life, and in many ways, he did.  But then, she hit a minor scale.  Something was wrong.

“I can’t,” she said silently.  “I can’t live poor.  I can’t live solely off my music.  It just isn’t enough for me.”

She looked up with tear-filled eyes at Gorge who had stood motionless yet expressionless.  He had expected this, but visibly stayed in denial.

“I’ve decided to go back to school…aerospace engineering,” she finished.  She had a passion for music, and a talent for math.

“So, mi amor, you mean you don’t want me to come contigo?”

“I’m sorry, Gorge, but I really need to concentrate on my own future right now.”

Later he would take out the oil painting he was creating that day, and instead of fixing the long, think, black streak in the middle, he created a masterpiece with it, which he would never know hung up above her piano.

Ten years later, Laura, circles under her eyes, walked into one of her favorite bistros.  A new one had opened three weeks ago, and she finally had the time to go and try it.

A white baby grand piano was glistening in the corner on a stage just big enough for the piano and its master.  Laura had her grandmother’s black baby grand, but Gorge always painted it white in his works.

“Sí, mi bonita?”

Laura shot up, her pulse ready to shoot off into space.  Her eyes met… a stranger’s eyes.

She paid her bill and began walking out.  She aimlessly let her eyes dance over the wall decorations.  A painting of a baby seagull dashing across white sand with waves erasing the evidence of his playful whereabouts in a deep blue, red, and orange sky caught her attention.  She recognized the subtle music notes in the clouds lazily formed in the sky.

“I want this painting,” she demanded.

“I’m sorry miss, but someone has already bought it.  I can’t give you the name.  Buyer’s confidentiality,” the hostess said.

“Where’s the manger?”
The hostess sighed in defeat and went in the back.  The manager came out with her.  He was tan with a sly smile and sensual, pure, dark brown eyes.  His lips held a secret any woman would desire to know.

“Señorita?”

“Gorge.”

“So… painter turned bistro manager?” Laura asked, stirring her mocha around.

“Sí.  I am very happy.  Chasing my dreams may not have ended where I imagined, but… You are not so happy?  Are you not the successful engineer you set out to be?” Gorge asked, concerned.

Laura sipped on her mocha, not looking up. “What is it, mi amor?”

“It just wasn’t what I expected,” she finally answered.  “I mean, I like what I do, but something is always off.”

“You mean you wish you had followed your dreams?”

She looked up at him with a cute, little smile that made him sigh.

“I think I wouldn’t have been happier being a starving musician.”

“You would have succeeded,” he came back with, his expression lacking any doubt.

The college lovers walked out and joined the thick, salty air, dancing down the streets with the crazy wind into the unknowing night.

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