“You want me to what?”
My question was directed at Mrs. Champagne and I want not being angry so much as shocked.
“I want you to pose for my life class. I have an awful time getting male models for it and the women in the class are starting to complain.”
“Listen I understand your plight. I mean the men around here spend more time looking at naked girls than thinking to be naked themselves but why me? I have told you ‘no’ before.”
“I know you have. The problem is that if you do it other men will follow your lead. I need you to take the plunge and do it so the others will not be so shy.”
I frowned. The unfortunate thing is that she was right on this one. Most of my guys were fairly shy. I mean only Professor Bourbon and Mr. Champagne were nudist part of the time. The others might go buff at our beach party but other than that they preferred to stay in character instead of shedding all their clothes.”
“You know I have writing to do for NaNoWriMo?’
“I also know you haven’t put a word to page in five days. You’re stuck and the break would do you good. It might inspire you.”
“Ok. Ok. I can see your going to pester me until I do it. When do you need me?”
“Actually right now. I have a class in five minutes and we need a model.”
Mrs. Champagne looked at my with her lovely yes with that please could you help me look. She had actually come down to talk to me naked so that added even more pressure.
I followed Mrs. Champagne upstairs which despite my personal nervousness, it was a good view I had to admit. Mrs. Champagne modeled for her husband a lot and the paintings were pretty popular for obvious reasons. I kept my lust where it belonged though she was married after all. The thing is that according to all I had heard their marriage was an open marriage as far as sex was concerned although neither of them had used that option in a few years. That being so, I am pretty much mourning over my lost wife right now although I imagine some days a woman might take advantage of that too and I wouldn’t have the strength to resist.
The studio loft was pretty typical of artist studios. There were six students getting ready all facing a central wooden stool in a half circle with their easels and it looked like charcoal and pencils. Most of them were women except for one guy. Mrs. Champagne handed me a robe and told me to disrobe and put it on. I hesitated for a few moments then stripped down to my skin and through the robe over my shoulders. I waited as Mrs. Champagne did some introductory remarks that I don’t remember and then she introduced me. The girls looked delighted and I walked over to the stool.
‘So what to you want?”
“Hmmm. With you something classic. Try the Thinker pose.”
I hesitated again for a second and then dropped the robe from my shoulders. I took a seat on the stool. The girls in the room looked on with an approving look. I put my feet up on the cross-bar of the stool and then bent over putting one arm on one leg and then the elbow of the other arm on my knee and then put my chin on my fist. Mrs. Champagne made some small adjustments to my posture. Then went back to instruction.
“No remember this is a drawing and a 20 minute drawing as well. You all can do this. If you remember what I taught you all of you should have a good solid drawing when were done. Begin.”
The studio was pretty well heated so I wasn’t cold. I was however nervous as hell. Not that I haven’t been naked in front of people before, I just didn’t want to be the center of attention when I did so and right now six people had me as their center of attention. I as happy that this was going to only be twenty minutes but sitting still that long is a real trick let me tell you. I could hear the scratching of pencils and charcoal on paper as each of the students tried to capture my likeness from six different angles. Thankfully the thinker pose is somewhat restful. You are sitting after all.
With that much time I began to think about the story I was writing. The pastor character was stuck in making his decision about changing his career. He had made some decisions involving other things but his mind kept drifting to his fantasy world. I was having him start to struggle with the fact that his real life was dull and pointless but in the fantasy world he had already saved the heroine twice now and she had saved him once. They were getting close but did I have him take the plunge and actually make love to her? Would that affect his relationship with his real world wife which was rocky already? I was looking for something different but I was unsure how to twist this. Maybe him discovering that his fantasy world wasn’t all that fantasy but there really was a real world affair going on. Do I let the reader know that now or later? Lot’s of questions and no good answers.
The only thing I could note was that I had focused on this novel so much that I mourned less over my wife. I mean the other day I found myself naked much like I was now. I had taken a shower and after drying off I had gone to the center of my living room and fell to my knees and wept for a while. I got like that particularly when I would run across something of my wife’s. Tequila told me eventually I would have to dump everything of my wife’s. Cleaning out the closets and all that but right now I was just not into doing it. I still had to the end of the year according to my time of mourning. I just didn’t know if I could do it even then.
“Ok, time is up.”
I was stunned as I didn’t think I had been sitting for twenty minutes. I looked up and to my surprise it looked like all the artists were done.
“You want to see?”
I nodded and got up.
The first artist had gotten my right side and it was pretty well done. The second was much f the same but more of a three-quarter view from the right although it seemed rougher than the first. The next one was a full on front view and the artist had put in a lot of detail in twenty minutes including the part of anatomy that you normally don’t see in the Thinker sculptures. I blushed slightly but the middle age woman who did the painting just winked at me. The next one was the same but being done by the only man in the class skipped the manhood part. The next was left side three-quarter view but the artist had focused on my head and shoulders and basically my legs were only sketches. Then there was the last one on the left. She had only done my face. I was almost a perfect likeness but it had a tear streaming down the cheek. The woman who drew it was a young thing maybe twenty at the most.
“Why did you give me a tear coming down my face?”
“Your face was so sad. I felt a tear was what you were expressing. Why would you be that sad?”
I walked away without answering the question. I dressed myself in an automatic sense of purpose. Mrs. Champagne came over and said thank you.
“You know I liked the last one best. She is a good artist.”
“Too good. She read me too well.”
“I know it hurts. Mr. Champagne was not my first husband. He died some years ago. Eventually time heals the pain, mostly.”
“Yeah, still too raw for me. Can I ask you something? Could I get that last drawing?”
“Let me talk to her. Sure you don’t want the third one?”
“No. Let her have that one if it helps her fantasize before going to sleep. I just want the last one.”
I few minutes later I was dressed and Mrs. Champagne came up to me with the drawing rolled up. She put it in a cardboard tube.
“Did she ask anything for it?”
“Yes, she asked you to come back every month so she can do that profile again.”
“Ok? What for?”
“She says it will help you.”
“What’s her name?”
“Great, the muse of astrology and astronomy. Is she the real muse or is that just her name? It is a legitimate question around here.”
Mrs. Champagne shrugged her naked shoulders which perked her breasts slightly and then turned and walked away.
Welcome to All Things Rabyd, your friendly neighborhood ‘clothing optional’ theology pub. I, the Rabyd Theologian and your bartender, thank you for stopping by. Please drink your theology responsibly or have a designated driver to get you home. Please tip your waitress and they might give you a kiss on the cheek. Just remember life is short so enjoy it. Blessings and Cheers!