12.13.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by David Douglas Duncan
Photo by David Douglas Duncan

December 13, 2014: It starts with a line.

One Reply to “12.13.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. He said I had something. He said it was like an inner light and that I was the most beautiful woman in the room and he said maybe the most beautiful anywhere. He said all men were fools and that’s why they couldn’t see it. But he could see it, he said. It was a line of course, but that’s how it started.

    He walked me home and he was excited like a little boy. I didn’t have to say a thing. He did enough talking for the two of us. He said he was going to be something in this world. One day he was. He said he had plans and they were big plans. The biggest. He didn’t take my hand or try to kiss me when we got to my door. He just looked at me, his head on one side and one eye shut, like he was examining me, which he was. He said I was the most beautiful in any light.

    The next day he called early. He had a cab waiting and he said I should hurry as it was costing him money for every minute. I wasn’t even dressed when he called. He said that didn’t matter, and he said not to fuss. He held up a coat for me to step into and I laughed and went with him.

    We drove to his studio. He called it a studio, even though it was a one-bedroomed flat up on Warrender. He’d cleared the living room and the floor was covered in a paint spattered dirt-coloured tarpaulin. There were unfinished paintings leaning against all the walls and an easel set up in one corner and a bed draped in a white sheet in the other.

    He offered me a drink when we got in. It was eight-thirty in the morning and he opened a bottle of champagne. He said it would get me in the mood. He put on a two bar electric fire and he said I should take my coat off when I was comfortable. I was in my bra and pants underneath and it felt sort of weird to be standing in his front room drinking champagne from a tea-cup and with the curtains pulled wide and the full white glare of the day on me.

    He started drawing straight away, scratching quick lines on a piece of paper he’d pinned to a board. He kept squinting at me, with one eye closed, as he had the night before. It felt a little intense, like he could see right through me. He filled several sheets of paper with sketches of me. I wanted to see them, but he waved me back.

    Then he was beside me and arranging how I should sit and he removed my bra and my pants, without a word. He kissed my neck and brushed my hair back from my face with the flat of his hand. The champagne had made me light-headed and I think I would have let him do anything with me then, but he retreated behind his easel and began painting.

    That’s how it was with him. The work came first. Every day for a month he had me pose for him, and he worked for seven hours, turning out sketches and rough paintings that looked like me and didn’t look like me, both at the same time. Afterwards he was tired and so was I. We went to bed together then, and we slept. When he woke his hands were on me, pressing and rubbing, and he was in a hurry and breathless quick, and it was over before I was fully aware. Then we slept again.

    He cooked me dinner in the late evening. Mostly it was some sort of omelette. And there was wine, red and dark and tasting of metal. And we sat without our clothes on, the plates on our knees. The paintings he had done were placed before us so we could evaluate them. He was never happy with what he had done and he kept saying how he would do better the next day.

    After a month, he grew bored or I did. He was sketching me same as he had before and he finished with a sudden flourish. I thought he had produced something he was pleased with or he had scored with a single line through the work he had done. He got up and said it was enough now. He handed me my coat and he said I should go. I took two of the paintings that were dry and I left.

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