we are what we dream
(originally posted 12/5/2012)
As had happened a hundred times before, the model walked in and got comfortable as he arranged his canvas and paints. Her robe came off and he went to work. After about thirty minutes her rough outline began to take shape before him and he began to get the same creeping feeling he’d had a hundred times before.
Disappointment. With his subject. With his tools. With himself.
So he tried something that he’d never done before and said hello.
She unfroze momentarily and even allowed her eyes to move in his direction. There they stayed and watched him grab his canvas and hurl it across the studio only to come to rest noisily against the ancient plumbing that seemed to haphazardly poke out of every wall before disappearing back into the crumbling brick.
He smiled and apologized. She explained she was getting paid either way so it made no difference to her.
He laughed. She smiled. He asked her what her name was and where she lived and how old she was and where she was from and if she enjoyed being a model.
Katherine. East Side. 26. West Side. It was ok.
He asked her about her dreams. She laughed. He asked her about her last six dreams and then he got a new canvas.
She’d had a dream about travel and he painted her feet in their entirety. He thought about giving them little wings but in the end they were just implied.
She dreamt about building a house and he painted her hands.
She had an explicit dream where she was ravaged by a group of painters from the nearby college and he painted her hips and breasts. They simultaneously shimmered and simmered. He squirmed on his stool with a throbbing erection that threatened to knock over the canvas as she went into every delicious detail but he never stopped painting.
She watched his face carefully as that particular recollection drew to a close and he painted her eyes, and she listened to his nervous laughter and heavy sighs and he painted her ears.
She had a strange dream about how weird it felt to have something growing from her head. Almost anticipating each word, his brush swept and curled and her hair flowed down and around and over the various pieces of her that were already busy drying on the cloth.
She had a dream about connecting the dots and he busied himself with all the parts of her body between her feet and hands and swelling breasts. A tension was growing in the room and she felt something wonderful was going on just out of sight and she smiled.
And he sighed again and painted her lips and they flowed down and around and over the various parts of her that were still preoccupied with drying on the cloth.
Another dream and she started to have smudges, she was outside the lines but the painting remained perfect, despite all the movement that couldn’t help but insert itself into the portrait.
She dreamt that her mom died and she was forced to roll her up in a carpet and stack her with all the other mothers who had died. Thankfully he was done by then and only his signature reflected her mother’s feet, still wearing the pink shoes she wore around the house, sticking out of the roll of carpet. Some people will mistake if for a happy face.
She told him what a nice time she had then got dressed and left.
He began to stack all of his other paintings for the short trip to the waiting dumpster outside. He felt like the eager dumpster had been waiting and rooting for him a long time. Too long.