The phone rings and I am standing in the hallway just outside of the bathroom door. Robert hands me my cellphone, and the woman on the phone asks me if she can speak to me. I go into the bathroom to try and hear her, and she says to me, "Can I speak french? It's easier."
I agree, and she starts speaking trying to explain something, but I simply cannot hear her. The volume on the phone is down and there seems to be a bad connection. I keep muttering to her, "Un moment, un moment". I raise the volume on my phone, and in desperation, I put it on speakerphone.
We speak a little bit of french, but I don't really remember much of what we said. I said, "Tu me comprends?"(you understand me?) and she said "Oui." Even as I was saying it I was thinking how I should have said "vous" instead of "tu" because it is a more polite form especially because I didn't really know the woman on the phone.
I get off of the phone, and some time passes and the woman is sitting in my kitchen with a lean, average sized African Canadian man who is bald and wearing a pale blue business-like dress shirt and dark pants. The woman is white and has brown hair pinned up at the back that is kind of wavy, and with thick glasses giving her a secretary look. She is wearing a suit jacket and skirt.
There are no formal introductions, and I stand there to the side for a moment watching them both look at papers that are spread across the kitchen table. I sit down closest to the man, and I ask him, "So what is this about?" And I notice he is holding this thing that is essentially small glass-like rocks attached to white grid like wire wrapped overtop of a hollow half-sphere plaster cast. He explains that he makes these designer rocks that people submerge into their ponds.
I tell him that if he doesn't want to hire me for my french, he can hire me for my design abilities, and I tell him that I have some paintings he should take a look at. Humouring me, I take him to the wall that leads downstairs which usually holds my paintings on it. There are many more paintings on the wall of all different sizes and he picks one up that is mostly a blue background, a portrait of a man with blonde hair in sunglasses with random white lines incorporated somehow.
He takes a sweeping glance of all the other paintings and says, "This is the best one," staring at it for a moment. I tell him apologetically that this one is not mine, and I look for a painting that could be mine, but don't see it. Then he asks, "Why aren't any of these yours?" and I say something about the art teacher needing a place to store the paintings for awhile. I don't remember exactly what I said.
I ask Robert from the landing where he thinks my paintings have gotten to. I want to show him my work, but at the same time I feel anxious because I know my painting are not as good as the one he liked. I picture my nude painting with its faults-the too peachy skin, the background that seems almost too childish and not blended properly in comparison. Robert explains that they are probably downstairs, and I can show them to the guy down there.
Before we go downstairs we're somehow back where we were at the table and the woman and the man are talking, discussing. They might have even been talking in french, I don't know. The woman says that there is a woman in the office who is going to give me and them a hard time if they hire me, but I seemed to think she was meaning it in a kidding jokingly way as if it was this person's nature to pick on new people.
The man was talking to the woman and telling her that she shouldn't have decided so quickly to come here because I had chances of getting the job, but as he phrased it, "If she's the best she'll get it, not just because she's close." To me it seemed awkward why they had taken such an interest in me if they had not seriously considered me for the position.
I take the man downstairs and I look at the wall where my paintings are usually. They have been moved, and there are only old posters and drawings that are tacked up onto the wallpaper. I try to explain to the man again that I don't know where my paintings are, but I have some I could show him. It's as if there is some event that is about to happen soon because things have been moved, and in the basement along that wall there are three picnic tables stretched out in a line and fairy lights. On the side of the picnic table facing outwards I see books placed on the wooden seats as if marking the places where people would sit.
An unfamiliar brown haired woman in an old fashioned, flared, yellow and white patterned dress gently brushed the man as she set something on the table. Her hair was semi-fancy and she smiled broadly squinting her eyes slightly as people often do when they smile like that. After she left the man and I stared at the wall with its patches of white. There might have been more to the dream, but I do not remember. Then I woke up.