Our first encounter with Anna was in the preliminary days before we officially opened AlteArte. She was walking down the street with her suitcase in tow, on her way home to her little house just opposite and one door down from AlteArte. This sighting came to be a frequent occurrence through the years as somehow we were always there to welcome her back from France or London or some other further off place. After greeting us with kisses and accepting help with her suitcase, she would disappear inside her three story stacked house with its overflowing plants.
An avid traveler, Anna has always been on the move. 75 years old, her life has been rich with passionate relationships, exotic travels and elaborate stories – lots and lots of stories that she tells with sophisticated articulation and a theatrical voice that makes you almost feel as though you’re on Broadway watching a play not in Altea sitting at a bar. She’s strong willed and stubborn and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but she’s also gentle, regularly leaving flowers from the Tuesday market in our flower pot outside.
Anna’s life experiences are a measuring stick of the passing of Time. It has been hard to keep up with Anna, but it seems as though Time is finally catching up with her. Over the past year, she has been suffering from declining eye sight and increasing dementia. And perhaps the hardest consequence of all of this is that she can no longer work which means that she might have to stop traveling. She suffers internally for this reality does not mesh well with her jet setting lifestyle. But she stays strong as a rock on the outside as she pats my hand and tells me not to worry. But I see how Time is taking its toll on this dynamic woman. And then on Tuesday a couple of Tuesdays ago, I noticed with sadness that there were no flowers from the market waiting for us in our flower pot. Once a world traveler, now it has become difficult for her to even go to the local market.
And it has made me think a lot about my own life. At one time, Time was on my side. I have taken it for granted, thinking that I had all the Time in the world. Why stress? What I didn’t do yesterday, I could do tomorrow. But I understand and see things differently now, and, just as our double layoffs in New York in 2009 taught me that I can’t plan or control things, the passing of time reminds me once more that the moment needs to be seized, for some things just can’t be planned. When once I had too much of Time, now I feel it slipping through my fingers.
And perhaps that’s why David and I started to get nervous last year when the reality started to dawn on us that we were already more than halfway through our 5 year lease at AlteArte. And we found ourselves facing the pressure to stay one step ahead of Time and anticipate and act accordingly. We had worked so hard and put so much of our heart and soul into AlteArte that it paralyzed us to think that we could lose our lease just like that, that our time could be up even if we weren’t ready.
So, after about 8 months of standing still, caught in limbo as we decided what it is that we want and falling into near depression as David had to rein in all of his ideas in case we should need to move AlteArte or stop or change course, we’ve finally made decisions and we’re moving forward. We’re taking another leap, hoping once more that we land softly.
There will be more details to come. Just give me some Time…