A Secret Grave 49: When Fate Intervenes

.

After the party in October, I saw less of Mercer. Even though his parents thought he needed a break from school, he started taking classes at Austin Community College and his mother pushed him to look for work besides my little studio job to help pay for a car. I didn’t see anything of Caroline at all. From Mercer I learned that her very elderly father was dying and she’d gone to Bolivia to be with him. I pictured her in the beautiful city of La Paz, high up in the mountains, and I pictured her the last time I’d seen her – rushing out the front door and down the steps of my house after viewing Victor’s portrait at my party.

.

caroline

.

No question that she was very upset. My friend Peter Martino, who also attended the party, approached me with the news that he recognized Caroline from the painting I’d done of her, and that to his certain knowledge she’d had an affair with Victor many years before. Well, that was shocking (though I’d suspected a connection after noting the similarity between Victor and Mercer’s faces). I badly wanted to follow up with Peter on the subject, but it was awhile before I saw him again.

.

mercer-portrait

Mercer

victor-portrait

Victor

.

And then a week ago, Peter came to Austin for a jewelry event and took me out for a bang up lunch at the W. It was just the two of us, so I was able to question him at some length about Victor and Caroline. Here’s what he told me:

.

peter-lunch-3

.

In March, 2000 Peter and Victor attended a neuroscience conference together in New York City. Victor, fascinated with neurotransmitters and human behavior, was always attending conferences, and Peter, interested as a jeweler in the areas of the brain that recognized beauty, decided to join him. This particular conference was held at the Marriott on West 44th Street. Victor stayed at the hotel while Peter commuted from his home in New Jersey. On the first day, Victor pointed out a dark haired woman seated a few rows ahead of them and said: “See that person? I’m going to get to know her.” By now Peter knew that if Victor set his mind to something, he would achieve it, and so he wasn’t surprised to see Victor chatting up Caroline during one of the breaks.

.

amparo

Caroline, sixteen years ago

.

She was beautiful, big dark eyes, dimples, a regal bearing. She wore an extremely well-cut designer suit and her shiny black hair hung in thick curls around her shoulders. Victor couldn’t keep his eyes off her. The conference was divided up into different panels and he began to sit in on the ones Caroline was attending, mostly having to do with the areas of the brain associated with creativity. “She’s a composer,” Victor reported back to Peter. “I think it’s really admirable that she wants to learn about how the brain generates that kind of activity.”

But there were many other things Victor found admirable about Caroline. That first evening he was supposed to have dinner with Peter, but blew him off in favor of his alluring new acquaintance, something Peter never forgot.  

.

To be continued…

.

Cover photo ~ http://images.freeimages.com/images/previews/0ff/lovers-silhouette-1619286.jpg

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *