The night was clear, and the stars filled the sky like a Van Gogh painting. They lit up the night sky, twinkling and shining like a storybook filled with magic and happy tales. Joshua and Olivia were putting the finishing touches on the gallery and were calling it a night. The morning would be here soon and a new chapter in their lives would begin. Long-held dreams would be realized, new memories made, and a new chapter unveiled.
Joshua, Olivia, and their two dogs, Vincent and Helena, took a morning walk as the rising sun painted the ocean with pastel colors. They had time for a quick breakfast before heading to the Hammock Shops for the grand opening of Olivia’s Art Gallery, Creative Escape Oasis. It would be an exciting day filled with artists and writers. Pawleys Bistro was catering the food and Saint Frances Animal Center would have an adoption event. The local news station would be there for the opening and the locals would be out in force.
They stood before the door and Joshua handed Olivia the keys to unlock the door to their new gallery. Both held their breath in anticipation and awe. Olivia’s paintings filled the gallery with colors, bright blues, pastels, earth tones, and brilliant golds. In a moment all her dreams were realized, her hopes delivered, and her heart was filled with love and joy. After such a hard life she embraced the gifts that love brings and the awakening of a life where dreams are real so much so that she could touch and feel them.
The smell of shrimp and grits, homemade buttermilk biscuits, BBQ sliders, and desserts filled the air, all catered by several local lowcountry restaurants and bistros. Christine Thomas Doran was setting up her book signing table and anticipated many children coming for Storytime. Olivia and Joshua both loved books and they had handpicked books from lowcountry writers from as far away as Savanna and Saint Simon Island. Saint Frances and Ed Ritchie were outside setting up for the dog adoption event and to raise money for the shelter. All of this was beyond anything they had hoped for. Joshua and Olivia had this gift for making things happen and getting a diverse group of people together for a common cause.
The people were lined up all the way down the path going to the general store truly the day was a significant success. All the local artists and writers came by to give their support. The children’s Storytime was so successful that they did the reading several times. Teachers from the local schools came by to see if they could do Storytime at the schools. Olivia sold many paintings and received requests to do commissions for several people that had beach houses. The event surpassed anything that they had hoped for.
The day was winding down when a gentleman from McClellanville came up to Joshua asking him about restoring his family home. They set up a time for Joshua to go and give him a bid. They locked the door and basked in the good feeling of the event. It was time to head to Pawleys Bistro for a good meal and to unwind. It was a day of energy, good friends, and the community embracing their new adventure. It was inspiring to be part of a community that comes together to give back. Vincent’s highlight of the day was seeing all the dogs get adopted in forever homes. They had come a long way from that rainy night in Charleston.
There had been so much excitement throughout the day. Olivia took a moment as things were winding down to stroll the new gallery and bookstore. It was indeed a creative oasis, the escape from the corporate ladder that had once entrapped her. All the titles she had been, in her wildest dreams, she would never have believed that the title of Artist would be who she would become.
Without Joshua, Olivia would never have found the completeness that came with the new gallery and bookstore that they conceived and collaborated on together. It was like their baby, born out of their dreams to make the world a better place. Each idea was processed and incorporated in the overall concept or decided that it would not be a piece of this particular puzzle, something to perhaps be tabled for a later project.
Joshua was brilliant in getting people to attend the opening. She had art exhibits before but never with the local news covering it. All the people lined up down the block to be the first to cross the Create Escape Oasis threshold was beyond anything Olivia ever would have dreamt of.
Of course, the name was something that both Joshua and Olivia stressed about. They wanted it to be just right. They thought of all the ways they could try to incorporate their names into the store. Still, in the end, it all went back to Olivia’s semi-obsession with initials. With the initials of OK for Olivia Klien, she was always conscious of how things are shortened. Acronyms are everywhere and almost become the language of the corporate world they were escaping. Then it came to them both, Creative Escape Oasis, CEO. Yes, they would become the CEO of making the world a better place. Both Vincent and Helena barked as they laughed. Yes, the name fit. Yes, it was their escape. Yes, they would provide an oasis to those that visited, and so the name was born, and the new adventure had begun.
Olivia turned one last time to take in the Oasis they had created. She reflected on the time that seemed a lifetime ago that a man said hello through a pane of glass, and he and she shared an umbrella in the rain for the first time.
Fiction meets facts. Parts of this story are of real people making the world a better place.
- Author Christine Thomas Doran Book Series: Christine Thomas Doran | Barnes & Noble®
- Saint Francis Animal Center: Saint Frances Animal Center (sfanimals.org)
Path leading to present
- Midnight Reflections – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections/
- The Artist – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-the-artist/
- Artists and Angels – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-artists-and-angels/
- The Healing – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-the-healing/
- Pawley’s Island – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-pawleys-island/
- Saltwater Marshes and Memories – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-saltwater-marshes-and-memories/
- New Beginnings – https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/midnight-reflections-pawley-island-new-beginnings/