Art In Me
by Kimberly Morgan
It was something out of one of my many stories. Or just my imagination that I had neglected to set to words and paper yet. There I was getting out of my black Corvette. Sun glasses in tact, curls properly placed, toes polished to perfection. Yeah, I was the bomb today. It was one of those rare days when I thought...no I knew I was beautiful.
And there he was. Hair uncut, clothes not matching and wrinkled, no socks. So why did I stop when he said something to me? Why did I even bother to take my sun glasses off and grace him with a glimpse of my beautiful light brown eyes slightly tinged in grey? Simply because there was something about him. There was something about the way his eyes shifted and his mouth moved in sheer confidence. Or was it conceit? Whatever it was, it seemed to be sucking all the oxygen out of this outside space. I was so erotically suffocated; I could do nothing but answer any question he posed with, "Yes." or "No." That wasn't like me. I was always the witty one. The "I'll see ya when I see ya," one. But here he was telling me, "Oh no, not today you won't."
I gave up my phone number without even thinking about it. Not that I ever stopped to think about it when an attractive, dark skin specimen like him asked for the digits. There was no shame in my game. And if I found afterwards that I didn't like the conversation he offered, I would simply not answer the phone anymore. Something told me, I would never have to worry about that with him though as I watched his beautiful swagger on down the sidewalk.
He didn't call. Not the next day or the day after that. Until finally I forgot that I had even met him. Don't get me wrong, he was not unforgettable by any means, but I knew that people came and went. No matter how extraordinary they were.
So I didn't think much of it when on a late night run to the grocery store, mostly out of boredom I caught the eye of a rather handsome gentleman. Hair cut closely to his head, nice and tall. Just like I liked them. I paid him no attention though. I was on a quest for spiritual maturity. But after I paid for my things and exited the store I noticed him right behind me.
"Don't I know you?"
At the sound of his voice I knew. It was him, the no hair cut, no calling man. He cleaned up nicely.
"Yeah you do."
"Why did you give me the wrong number?"
"I didn't give you the wrong number, you just didn't call."
"Well give it to me again."
Once again with no hesitation, spiritual maturity went flying out of the window. I rattled my number off only for him to ask, "Are you busy?"
I shook my head and said no.
"Can we take a ride? I have something I would like to show you."
Again without faltering, I found myself in his SUV. The thought of this man hurting me or even killing me never once crossed my mind as he drove at a steady speed, no more than forty miles per hour, down the winding back roads of neighborhoods. These houses were occupied by people who had probably gone to bed at least two hours ago. It seemed as if we were the only ones awake in the city.
I listened intently to how he was born in Jamaica, raised in New York and came to live in my city at the age of nineteen. He had a bachelor's degree in art, could speak Spanish and French fluently and owned his own art shop. He was divorced with two children and was one month and twenty seven days younger than me.
"We're here," he said bringing the truck to a stop in the deserted parking lot of large shopping center.
"What's here?" I asked looking around, hoping to see at least one person. But there was no one.
And what a shop it was. I was more than a little intrigued by the dark naked bodies that hung on the peach colored walls. There were sketches here and there of more naked people.
"Wow, naked people," I mumbled.
"Yeah," he said laughing. "I love naked people."
Being a lover of art (and naked people) also, I wondered why I had never noticed this shop before. It wasn't that far from my home. I tried hard to look nonchalant as I flipped through the sketches becoming more and aroused with each one.
"Hey, I got an idea," he said grabbing my arm.
"Let me sketch you."
I looked at this fool like he was crazy. I was not a size five like the other females in his pictures. And contrary to what some people who knew me believed, I was very self conscious of my wide hips, ample thighs, and DD's that fluctuated between 44 and 42 on a monthly basis.
"I don't think so."
He gave me a cocky grin that made his wide lovely lips seem even more luscious and slid onto the store counter. "You scared?"
"No. Of course not. But I don't look like that," I said pointing to a painting of a painting of a woman and man, his dread locks wrapped around the both of them like a snake.
"That doesn't matter. You're beautiful, baby."
Did he just call me beautiful? Not that it wasn't something I was already used to hearing. But damn, I loved to hear it.
"Here?" I asked instead of saying yes or no.
"No. I'll take some pictures of you and then I'll sketch it out."
"Pictures huh? If any of them end up on the internet, I'm coming after you."
He smiled again. "You don't have to worry about that." He jumped down from the counter and I followed him to the back of the store. I watched as he lay a black sheet over yet another counter. With his back to me he said, "Take your clothes off."
"Can I have something to cover up with?"
He turned around and his eyes did what he had just told me to do. I felt my cheeks turn hot. "Here," was all he said and he handed me another black sheet.
I was pleasantly surprised two days later as I sat in my room typing my great American novel when the UPS man delivered a large flat package wrapped in brown. I tore into it eagerly and was greeted by myself. The picture looked nothing like the five he had taken of me with his digital camera, but it was me none the less. Attached to the picture was a note that read:
This is just a copy. The original is on my wall. Come see it tonight. 6214 Westlake Drive. 7.
Of course I was there. Chiding myself all the way to his house. What had happened to my spiritual journey? Was I the church slut now? Was I going to hell? My answer to all of those questions was a loud and clear, "I DON'T KNOW." But what I did know was when he answered the door of his two floor home, shaded by bushes and trees, with no shirt on, my clothes wanted to come off also.
We sat down to the dinner he prepared of shrimp and pasta after he went upstairs to retrieve his shirt. I was relieved. We discussed his business, his future plans, my book and my future plans. We laughed and blushed as we delivered compliments to each other across the table, just preparing each other for what was to come.
The upstairs was not as big as I had imagined. His room sat right at the beginning of the stair way. Cluttered by African art books and clothes I found myself treading through the mess to get to the tattered couch that sat across from a floor model television. I watched with amusement as he tried to clear the clutter from his bed under the sketch of me. In the safety of his bedroom, he no longer seemed as suffocating to me. There was almost a sense of regularity about him. Almost.
"You're in Canada, I'm in Japan."
"You want me in Japan?"
So went my six months of celibacy, down the drain. At three o'clock in the morning, after sneaking out while he lay sleeping, I repented a hundred times in my car. Swearing I would never ever see him again.
My repenting and swearing went on for a month. Also in that month I posed for more nudes and gained an amazing respect for the art of love and the love of art. But like all good things, like sex, food, and church, it had to come to an end.
I often think about my Art man. Like when I'm not being fulfilled or when I look at myself in the mirror after a nice hot shower. I think about the word beautiful and all its connotations. At times, maybe even on purpose, I pass his art shop and want to stop. But some things, like sex, food, church and even art, are better left alone.