"I did it. You know what I mean."
If ever there was a cryptic e-mail, or a clearer statement of fact, it doesn't immediately come to mind.
It was a friend's way of letting me know that we needed to talk.
My only plan for the evening was the opening of "Summer Solstice," a group show at Reynolds Gallery, so we agreed to meet up afterwards.
Like any Reynolds show, the galleries were full of Richmond's old guard art elite, both on the walls and milling about.
The array of artists on display was a who's who of known names: Heide Trepanier, Sally Bowring, Richard Carlyon.
The late, great Theresa Pollak was well represented with four pieces in three mediums, a mini-retrospective of sorts spanning 1960-1992.
I was immediately taken with Jennifer Lauren Smith's "Untitled," an archival black and white pigment print done in triptych form showing an upside down beach umbrella floating on the waves.
With one glance, Janet DeCover's "Lola" struck me as having been created by a woman.
The lipstick-colored background, the white lace doily-looking object and the delicate and feminine robin's egg blue ovals all seemed to have come from the hand and heart of a female.
Much time was enjoyed in front of Bill Fisher's "Untitled," an abstract-looking piece that seemed to me to resemble a houseboat floating on a background of beautiful blue water.
I'm sure the artist had nothing like that in mind when he painted it and I'm equally as sure he'd have no problem with whatever I saw in his oil and wax on panel.
And speaking of, Jack Wax's "Tum-tree," an enormous 80 by 50" was done with ink and coffee on paper, surely the most unlikely medium used in this show.
The tentacle-like roots of the tree extended up and across the enormous work pulling the viewer closer to better understand the visual.
By the time I finished the upstairs gallery's "Almost Famous" show of VCU MFA students, it was time to meet up with Mr. I Did It at Six Burner.
You know, at the corner of Main and Wine.
The place was bursting at the seams when we arrived.
The participants of Plein Air Richmond were meeting nearby at Brazier Gallery and between that and the Reynolds opening, there were lots of thirsty people on Main Street.
The Ghostlight Afterparty's personable host was tending bar and practically knew to pour me some Stefano Massone Gavi before the words came out of my mouth.
My accomplished friend arrived and got the same before I insisted he spill the beans.
Technically, he'd been right; I knew what he meant when he said he'd done it, but I wanted to hear how he'd put on his big boy pants (his words, not mine) and taken care of business.
And while I wanted to hear how it had gone down, mostly I was just happy that he was finally out of a situation that has been highly unsatisfactory for him for many months.
Let's just say he no longer has to lock up the breakfast cereal or the booze and that's as it should be.
What made me rally happy, though, was hearing that that was only one of several good things happening in his life since we'd last met.
He's found a studio interested in putting his many talents to use. He's started online dating and has an out-of-town date this weekend. He's moving back into the city where he belongs.
But my favorite piece of news was that he's decided to be more adventurous in his eating.
A long-time vegetarian, he's decided that if he doesn't start widening his diet, he may never. And he doesn't want to be that person.
Wasting no time, I got a menu and looked for something new for him to try, deciding on the grilled quail with roasted marinated plums.
It did my heart good to see him stepping out of his usual comfort zone enjoying a bird he said he couldn't identify in real life.
Now that's eating.
I always enjoy our discussions because in many ways, we see the world through the same romantic glasses.
Who else I know would bring up Lord Byron as an example of how to live a passionate life?
Or have the patience to explain a Fairlight synthesizer to me and how it impacted 80s music (hello Peter Gabriel)?
Or be excited abut his first floor apartment because in it his piano won't disturb those below him?
Only someone with a romantic soul, that's who.
When he said that he admired me for the way I choose to live my life, I assured him that he has all the necessary parts to do the same thing.
As he put it, "When I read a book, I think to myself 'That could happen" but other people say "It's just a book."
Not so, I told him.
When you stop thinking "That could happen," it stops happening.
All it takes a romantic soul to know what I mean.