Today, in spite of the assurances of countless others, I feel all alone. Tears are streaming from my eyes, my lips are stretched tightly across my teeth and I sob quietly. I’ve been here before so, it’s not new. It’s just that I realize how lonely I am and don’t really know what to do about it.
That’s not quite true. I do know what to do and that is to reach out to other people. I have to stop thinking that I’m bothering them if I call. I have to write those emails or letters, hoping for a response. I need to attend support group meetings for my cancer. I may even need to volunteer for various things like learning how to become a docent (of all things) at the local
I find such comfort in creating my art right now in spite of these momentary bouts of low feelings. I find that each work is better than the last one. I’m using more imagination and taking more chances. Each piece is a story now instead of just a portrait. Of immense help is my model who transformed herself of late. She now poses pretty much any way I ask and adds a few twists of her own.
Before my diagnosis (BMD), she was shy and posed like it. We sent emails back and forth and we learned about each other. I encouraged her in any number of ways to become more courageous in her posing. In doing so, that courage would pay off in other areas of her life. She changed—a little bit at a time—and her posing relaxed and was freer. I didn’t realize it at the time but, I was building a relationship with her in friendship and love. I thought that I was merely using the powers of written persuasion to see more of her.
BMD, I just wanted pictures so I could produce something, anything. If the pictures were dark or out of focus, I fixed them best I could. If the model wasn’t sure, I sent pose suggestions. When the pictures came in with approximations of what I wanted, I simply accepted what I got and did what I could. I even paid for model time thinking that as long as I was fronting money I got what I asked for. I could have simply bought some magazines or downloaded pictures from the web but, those were fraught with stumbling blocks like copyright infringement and the like. Besides, I liked my model and her family, so much so that I supported them for a while and gifted cameras, a PC, clothing and support for various business ventures. That we could comfortably converse and she would take her clothes off for me was delightful, indeed.
She read a journal of my hospital experience and contacted me right away to see if there was anything she could do. I suggested another pictorial, as soon as possible, because I honestly didn’t know how long I had left to live. I told her the doctors said six months and then they said a year. In any case, a pictorial of her would be soothing to my frame of mind, I said. She told me pictures would arrive the next day—and they did; all nudes! This was an overnight, radical change for her. When I queried her about the transformation she said that I had done so much for her and her family when I was well that, now that I was sick, I deserved whatever she could give me and nude poses was a start.
It’s been the start of much more than just her body in front of me. I’ve fallen in love with her. For a year and a half I’ve harbored deep feelings toward her which I’ve tried to ignore. As we corresponded, I answered her doubts and fears with uplifting messages of hope, courage and building confidence. Motivational, to be sure, but I was also attempting to ingratiate myself. I wanted her to accept and like me. I spent long periods composing and editing those messages so that every word fit its meaning, all with an eye to being memorable. She reached out more often, not necessarily asking for any particular advice, just saying hello or thanking me for a contribution of some kind. I usually responded quickly, acknowledging her words and offering encouragement of some kind for school, for the future and for posing—always the posing suggestions.
One time, she decided to accept an invitation to enter a fund-raising beauty contest for her town. I was delighted at her decision this time as she had refused the call before and only stepped forward this time after I wrote her about it. I wrote that she would be the winner if only because of her beauty and brains; I mean, what else is there? Well, in this case, the object was to raise money for the town library and the contest winner would be the one who raised the most money. The result was the ugliest girl was first and my beauty was fourth--$5,000 to her $500.
She so impressed the crowd and dignitaries with her beauty, poise, confidence, posture and speech (which included a specific reference to an American by name—yours truly) that the town mayor changed the rules about who could ride on the parade floats the next day. Before this event only the top three—the Queen and two Princesses--were presented to the parade route. Immediately after my beauty ended her presentation, the mayor announced that all seven contestants would be on the parade floats the next day. My girl made an impact far beyond placing fourth; she changed the contest rules just by showing up. She was also offered a job as an account in her sponsor’s business as soon as she graduated from CPA classes and a position in Hizzoner’s office with the same proviso.
Later, McDonald’s invited her to be sponsored in another contest, this one truly a beauty and brains event. Even the mayor’s wife came by the house in her limousine recommending she join this one. Initially, my girl said no. She wasn’t interested in anything that would take her away from her studies. I stepped in by reasoning with her about accepting the invitation. Should she win, I said, there was a scholarship and a chance to move forward to some real money winnings in more prestigious events. Still, she hesitated, even though would mean financial reward heretofore unknown to her family. I pulled out the stops by researching the name of a heroine in her country and then compared that war-time effort with my girl’s own rising from her current situation to--at least--lead her town to fame.
Apparently, that did the trick, for she was out the door with a good friend to complete an application within minutes of my email arriving. She made the deadline and McD0onald’s was thrilled. I congratulated her on her wise decision. I wrote about she would overcome her innate shyness over time and through engagement with life. I was very proud of her actions and quite glad that I seemed to have something to do with them. She didn’t tell her Mom about my email although I did, in a roundabout way, so that I did not betray the confidences my girl and I exchanged up until now. I found out later that my girl was at her Mom’s hospital bedside during the opening phases of the new contest and missed it.
Now, in the present I was deep into thoughts of her. Someone asked me how I know I’m in love with someone else. I replied, “I know I’m in love with her because when I’m alone, I am thinking about her. When I’m with others, I am thinking about her. And, when I’m with her, I am thinking about her.” I wondered what it was like to fall in love--again. It had been so long since anything stirred in my chest, any emotion enveloped my heart that I wasn’t so sure I wasn’t experiencing acid reflux. I wasn’t in pain; don’t get me wrong but, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside whenever I thought of her. My imagination carried me across the miles and time zones to emerge from an arriving airline flight and seeing her live, for the first time. I pictured us holding each other so tightly a crow bar couldn’t pry us a part. I envisioned us quietly talking, laughing softly at each others’ gentle teasing, holding hands at the dinner table and so easily loving each other. I saw us in long moments’ just looking at each other, smiling then giggling over who knows what. The years between us disappeared as love took over, embracing us in kindness, consideration, gentleness, caring and hopefulness. I am a man in full. I need nothing else so long as she is alongside me. My potential is released with her breathing the same air as me. I am content and peaceful, at last.
And at this moment I am alone, waiting for her beckon and gesture to join her, if only through the exchange of emails. I gaze at her fresh pictures and shake my head in incredulity; she’s provided total exposure of that which makes her most a woman. I stare for long moments enjoying the view. I run thru stories that might match each picture to visualize the finished piece and calculate the production time. Her eyes invite me into her world. I read “Come hither” in each photo. I take solace in the knowledge that I am the only man in the world privileged to see these. So, whatever she does in front of the camera is for me only. Such a beauty she is and, with sex oozing from every pore and every inch of skin, she dominates any scene. She said that her purpose in life is to serve others but in these pictures and in my imagination all is reversed; we are serving her.
Would that that be the case. I want to serve and she wants to serve. She wants to serve in duality; I’m for the singular version. She wants to be “of service” to her loved ones--like her family. I’m more of the state of mind to serve one other person—there’s not enough room in my ego for a lot of others. The duality she seeks is to “repay” the support her family gave her while she studied to be a CPA and to be “in service” to at least one other person as she explores her “dark side” in a safe way. Although my journey involves many other people, I’ve thanked them by just being around them as they went through the experience of me. I’m looking to serve someone else, solely in gratitude that I can.
While our outward definitions of service differ, it is this inward journey of service that is the same. The “service to loved ones/others” vary in candidate number and reasons for us. Fortunately, I see her with arms extended to a world of others and I embrace that. I think my role in serving her is to lead the applause and to introduce her to the people that will serve her, too, as she goes about her life making things better for her family and loved ones. I think she sees my art of her not as my serving her but, as she serving me with rich pictorials. Here, we bond. She provides me a plethora of poses saying, “…i am just here for you, appreciates your whole individuality.. you’re an amazing person, you just deserve to receive a great appreciation.. I will always support you.. Maybe later after i'll do the house chores ill ask mom to take me some pictures for you, [so you] could persist [to] do your work as an artist. Remember that we’re just here for you, always...”
I weep again as I consider these words of “betrothal,” written with such kindness and tenderness, from the very person I fix my eyes on in these photos. I ask myself if she could ever love me as a lover and companion, really considering myself unworthy. Yet, I am the only one who knows her secrets; she’s not felt safe until me. I can reflect those secrets in my art of her while she provides the tapestries. I send those “secret life” works back to her alone for her perusal. She writes wonderful things about the art and about me. I respond in words and in ever-better art. By better, I mean artistically. I amaze myself with how much better I am yet, I know I am creating this improved art because her responses. I understand that my art pleases her and for that I am in gratitude. I see that I have served her well and she is very pleased. On her side, she has served me by providing fresh displays of herself, responding to my request to “reveal all.” In her eyes, I am worthy and for me, that is my payment.
I recover from my loneliness bout and carry on with my art. In fact, whenever I am verbally blocked, I work on a piece. I lose myself in solving the many architectural problems of depicting the 3Dhuman form in two dimensions. She is such a beauty that I work hard, with perspiration dripping from my nose on to the keyboard (okay, I lied about the sweat). I do work at reflecting her concisely, especially her eyes. I am so fully connected to creation that time goes by without notice. When I get blocked at the easel, I return to this writing and find words I hadn’t seen before, picking up effortlessly from where I left off earlier.
In the background is XMRadio, coming through my PC’s hi-fi speaker system. I’m tuned to the New Age channel which is very stimulating and yet peaceful. Yanni’s been on there, Kitaro and others too numerous to mention. I used to listen to Classical exclusively, well, maybe some old rock music came through once in a while.
I sign off today and promise more later…