181 Lincoln, NE: Something Going On

A younger couple wandered in next. She had blond hair and an elfin nose, making her seem very young. That effect might have been heightened because her boyfriend beside her was about six-foot-four, like Hopper. They seemed like a physical mismatch and for some reason I got the impression that they were an emotional mismatch too.

"I definitely like it," she answered without hesitation. "Just by the colors, you can tell it was the Depression time. It's like his other one, Nighthawks: you're looking in at night to bright garish colors but it's dark outside."

"Are you an artist?" I asked her.

"No," she said and gave a breathless laugh. "I studied art, but..."

They laughed when I asked if it could be titled 'Room in Lincoln'. "I think it's universal," the tall boy said. "It has a homey feeling."

"Well," she countered, "when you think of New York, you tend to think of people in their apartment. But it's not a regular apartment. It could be a room of a big house. I love the body language. Especially since it's male and female. It feels sad. There's obviously some kind of relationship or turbulence or something there. But you don't know what. Like he's dropped you into a story. You don't know if it's before or after, but you can tell there's something going on there. There's something she's upset about." She nodded goodbye, and they wandered off, leaving me wondering if her last line reflected her own situation, too.

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