My Life with Two Men

A house party prompts a woman to reflect on her search for a perfect house and the relationships that populate her life. 

by Luellen Smiley • Member { View Profile }

I left with resumed faith in my compass, and knowing we made the right decision not buying San Geronimo. Decisions about traveling, joining, meeting, and moving, drop me in the path of mental collision. Instead of applying academic analysis, calculations, or tried and true pragmatic reasoning, I try to beat the odds, because I am a gambler.

John and I headed up to Taos while Rudy took refuge in a friend’s casita. I suppose most vacation renal owners have alternate accommodations; but this is a work-in-progress, like a play that doesn’t have an ending yet. For the next six days, I wandered from the Geronimo pool, to the terrace, to Taos on foot, and during those hours, we rewrote the script in the privacy of our steadily silent working room, or on the second story terrace, overlooking the fields and the Jemez Mountains.

When Rudy called and said Mike, our renter, invited us to the reception party at the house, I called Mike to decline. He turned me down.

“Loulou, you have to come, everyone wants to meet you,” he said. Everyone is a lot of people; 75 guests inside the house when I am not the host stirred up my imagination.

When we arrived, the reception party was sprouting on the front porch, in the driveway around bistro tables, on the back porch at a buffet table, and in the garden movie theater.   

Suddenly, this face comes at me, up close: “Loulou, I’m Mike. Come-in. What are you drinking? We love it! Come meet everyone.”  Mike has a light bulb personality, 120 volts of unplugged warmth and sincerity. I followed him into the living room, and was immersed with questions and praise, at rapid fire. Within the hour, I wilted and tugged on John and Rudy to cross the street for dinner. “Why’d you leave?” Rudy asked. He was eyeing a pretty blonde in the driveway.

“I don’t feel it’s right; presiding in our house while it’s their house,” I said. “I’m afraid I’ll start cleaning.” 

I returned to the party when a vintage Galaxy pulled into our driveway, and I was abandoned because John led Rudy over to see the automobile.

By now, the party was surging, and as I recommenced my socializing the trepidation vanished. In every direction were handshakes and hugs, conversations zigzagging from Mike’s family to Erin’s, the bride and groom, and their friends, who came from Los Angeles. But these were not just friends; they were neighbors.

“Neighbors in Los Angeles?” I jested.

“Oh yeah, we live in the Hollywood Hills. We have parties every weekend. Are you THE Loulou?” he asked. I nodded. “I am THE Carlos, and you must visit us in Hollywood.”

“What do you do Carlos?” I asked.

“Everything! I sing, act, cook, and make trouble!” In every party there should be a Carlos. The evening crescendo curled into a wave of anticipation when Carlos took center stage and sang arias from Turnadot and La Boehme. His bravura tenor voice raised the guests from every cavity of the house. Strangers out strolling stopped to listen and guests from La Posada spilled out in the streets. The house was transformed, and in some ways it harked back to former visions of the artist salons I imagined were once held at Follies House.

There were times over the last two years when Rudy and I discussed selling Gallery LouLou, leasing it long term, and even renting rooms; options that occupied sleepless nights, and never materialized. Now we know it is a vacation home, a party house, a reception salon — all the things that I imagined came together here, even Rudy and John.

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