I stood altogether close to the door, that one that led to the sculpture garden. That door that squeaked so distinctly you could hear it from your studio. It was a natural progression of sounds, those you would hear from your studio. First you hear that door, and it was a matter of six seconds or so before you heard that key card, swiping on the door lock. And then that click, immediately followed by the door opening. And then there he was. This was the progression I came to expect. But I was just standing in the hallway, just beyond the door to the outside. Outside was covered in a blithe of yellow, the faint outlines of the sculpture shed barely visible beyond the ochre sheath that the world was suddenly bathed in. It wasn’t so much sunlight as it was a cover of memory loss. I don’t know why, but the taste of the color of outside reminded me of October, when I was seven years old. I walked a few steps, standing in front of the door that led to the studios. I didn’t have a key. I turned around and walked the opposite way. I didn’t get far, as I had seen the opposite end completely inundated in black, as did the long hallway perpendicular to it. It must have been a Sunday, then. He must be around. I paced quickly to the double glass doors and went outside, into the yellow. Dusty sandstorms of yellow pigment swirled wildly around. I covered my eyes in futility, as yellow got onto every inch of me, including my eyes. I made my way to the window sill, the one which mysteriously remained perpetually unlocked.
You know what I miss? You drive to USD on a Sunday afternoon, it’s winter, but the chill barely breaks 60. There’s parking on that curb, and you walk across that lawn, hoping it’s not wet (but it is, and you walk it anyway). You walk into the sculpture yard, past Dan’s metal thing, and that shade of toxic ooze green always catches your eye (always). You can’t wait to hear it, but first you pass Joe’s car (not his truck, that cute small one with the sarape in the back). You can’t wait to hear it. You hear it: That obnoxious door. That door, that squeak, that wail. Why does that door make that sound? It does, and you love it, and the only thing better is that clicking sound the door to the studios makes when you swipe your card. And it almost makes you forget that it’s winter and that’s why it’s 110 degrees inside. Almost. But it’s too damn hot, and silent. And then there is that feeling, that first feeling you always get when you first step into the studios on a Sunday afternoon, that mixture of sanctuary and sorrow. Maybe it’s the sound of the ventilation system and that mousy metallic squeak above. I never did figure out what that feeling was, that perfect feeling of being alone and that feeling of being a little too perfectly alone. You walk out, and at the far side the office door is covered in dark blithe (It’s Sunday). And you notice those neon green exit signs. You wonder why that long hallway is also in complete darkness. You usually ignore it, but every other Sunday you walk down that dark hallway, slowly. You walk all the way to the other end, past the empty display cases, which you’ve always thought looked fetching just like that, empty and proudly illuminated. Out of nowhere that silence bites you again. That silence you came looking for and you found, and then could not figure out what to do with. Maybe you have a beer with it, and hope that silence will change into something else. But he’s always the same. And you know that. And maybe you secretly always hope it stays that way, even if it doesn’t make you happy. You get something done, or you don’t. Who can concentrate with all this damn silence? You walk out, that obnoxious door makes a sound so rich you’d almost think you took a hit off something. You walk out, and it feels cold, because it was so ridiculously hot inside. The sun is gone, and you pass John Halaka’s van on your way from the sculpture yard. And you feel sad, just as you hit the lawn (but it goes away once you get in your car, for some reason). That’s what I miss.