Monday, 11 April 2011

The Model

If the cold ever gave me goosebumps, the artists didn't say. It wasn't a hardship, the Sunday sun through the window. Some wondering whether to draw my tattoos, others who much preferred vases of flowers made them the subject, me an incidental shadow.

The sun lent me favours, I let my thoughts wander around the room. The warmth turning the circle of people to smudges as sleep tempted my eyelids. Dreaming myself a Parisian from one of those novels I liked to read, where the model would be seduced by the artist. Awake to the reality of the faces in the room. No dark and stormy Parisian there, just secondary school teachers and Dads with a hobby kept secret from the mother-in-law.

At the end of the pose behind the screen I'd go to put on my robe in private. A young woman in a towelling bathrobe, drinking tea barefoot with people in jeans. No one mentioned my strawberry birthmark, just concerns about the cold and whether my back ached.

Eventually curious, I looked at their pictures. One drew me as a flapper caught in the nude. Another as if I was sitting on the toilet, my face wearing a worried look.

A new pose and I was an object again, just lines and shade. Jimmy put on a classical music tape, reminding me of when I was at college and we'd listen to……it might have been Mozart, for all I could tell. My ears were more in the shape of The Cocteau Twins. But someone believed classical music would focus our eyes on the proportions of the model, when we were all wondering if our bodies would be like hers in middle age, well the girls in the class anyway.

Wriggling my toes felt cheeky, but licking my lips? That felt almost obscene in the situation I was in. So as a distraction I thought back to last Thursday, a man spoke as if he knew me well, and I had to ask who he was. He replied that he drew me on Sundays. So I glanced at each face, not staring too long. It often happened, being recognised in real life. I never recognised them.

As I was perched on my pink blanket throne, Land of Hope and Glory pounding out of the cassette machine, Angry Young Andy strode in. He who invited me to his meetings to save the country, I had a roll of excuses not to attend. A surprise, instant, blush, and, 'hello Lisa,' like he'd say in the outside.

My laughter I somehow swallowed to my knees. As Land of Hope and Glory staggered off, Andy had me on paper. I never knew he was an artist, I don't think he did either, He didn't show me his drawing, I didn't ask.

Dressed again, a neutral grey man and his olive green wife offered to drive me home. I accepted, it saved a bus fare.


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