The characters in this story are inspired by the novel’s beloved characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Kulay, Maria, and Dean arrived an hour past lunch time at the Art Fair Philippines which was held on the two floors of a former car park in a building in Makati. It was the second day of the four-day event, and Dean was tasked to attend all four events, which he greatly accepted. Luckily, he was not preoccupied with commissioned work at the moment. On the first day, he was accompanied by Gelo and Maria. Liz, Rina, and Mayi, along with her husband would join him there on the third day. The last day was a promised double date for the two guys, Dean with his girlfriend, and Gelo with a female friend.
“Okay, guys, let’s start!” Kulay said, as she gestured for them to start touring to keep to their schedules.
The art fair exhibited contemporary art in various media and styles. Some of which were made by artists known to Kulay and her colleagues while most of the artworks were either memorable or forgettable. Undeniably, the group’s favourite was Daniel Dela Cruz’s Alice in Wonderland depiction in metal sculptures.
While touring the entire floor, Dean saw a fellow from an organization roaming around. They greeted each other and introduced his friend to the two ladies he was with.
“I’m with my friends, too,” Jo, the artist friend, replied to Dean when asked if she was alone. As she said this, a group of three approached her. Dean and Maria knew one of the guys of the group, so they exchanged their hi’s and hello’s. Dean easily supplied the names of his female colleagues.
“Oh, by the way, you guys went to the The Tagalized 19th Century Literature exhibit last month, right?” It was Allan, the acquaintance of Maria and Dean. “Our friend Keith had one of his artworks in that exhibit,” he paused, “wait, where is he?”
“Oh, he excused himself a while ago. I think he saw something at the previous gallery that he liked. Didn’t you hear him?” said Tori, one of Jo and Allan’s companion. Allan shook his head as a response.
The three of them went on with their tour. Their next stop was the Silverlens Gallery. They saw familiar names that label each mini art installations. But it was the Nona Garcia miniature artwork that initially captured Kulay’s interest.
“Oh, here is Nona Garcia’s Before the Sea!” she exclaimed to Dean who was standing next to her and peered closely to it, “Wait, what’s it called again? This tiny version?” she asked.
“It’s a maquette,” an unfamiliar voice replied.
Kulay looked up and was surprised to see the owner of the voice. She stood up straight and quickly scanned around her to look for the friend she thought she was talking to. She saw Dean just standing behind the guy, talking on the phone.
“T-thank you,” she smiled at the stranger. “Are you the curator?”
The guy stared at her as if she said something offensive. She managed to get a good look of him. No wonder she thought she was talking to Dean, he was also wearing a black shirt; their heights were quite distinct, although now she noticed that this guy is taller and has fuller figure than Dean’s.
“Oh,” she suddenly exclaimed, “you’re that guy from the Tagalized exhibit!” she said, suddenly remembering him as the mysterious guy who took and shook her hand. The guy blushed and looked away, and without a warning, left immediately, leaving Kulay with her withheld speech.
“Kulay, look!” it was Maria. She automatically turned to her friend, as if to forget what has just happened. “It’s Nona Garcia’s mini version of—wait, what is it called again?” she asked.
“A maquette,” she said and smiled, “maquette of Before the Sea,” she added quietly and kept her thoughts to herself.