Last week, a young woman knocked at Window Studio’s door. As I went to answer it, she straightened up, grasped the folder she was holding a bit tighter, and took a deep breath as though gathering up her courage. I opened the door and she asked breathlessly what I was doing. I said I was painting people’s portraits.
“Oh, it’s so beautiful! May I come in?” She came in and quickly took a seat on the bench along the window. She looked all around the room, without taking off her red mirrored dayglo sunglasses.
“Wow, is this all your art?” she asked. She seemed to be looking at the party decorations that DL has left set up in the space as advertising – lavender chiffon curtains draped along the walls, pompoms of tissue hanging from the ceiling and vases of artificial flowers – as much as my paintings.
I explained that the paintings were my art, but that the space was also used for parties.
“Oh, that’s so wonderful. I’m an artist too you know!”
I sat down next to her. “That’s cool. What kind of art do you do?”
“All kinds. Drawing mostly. Painting…no, not really painting. I don’t have the music to do that kind of art, you know what I mean?”
I said I did, but wasn’t so sure. She pushed the sunglasses up on her head and kept looking wide-eyed around the room.
“It’s so beautiful! So beautiful in here!” She leaned forward eagerly. “And it’s so beautiful that you see them too!”
“Of course you do, you can see my honeys too!”
“Really? What do they look like?”
“Nilly and Silly, that’s the name of my honeys, I mean my nieces, aren’t they adorable?”
She put the glasses back on. Her hair was tied up in a knot, its caramel-colored waves rippling over the top of her head, glowing like haze in the sunlight. She straightened her cotton dress over her knees, brought her feet together and adjusted the folder in her lap, as though prepared to stay for awhile.
“I love color,” she said.
“I can see that, you have beautiful colors on.”
She straightened the rows of beaded bracelets and plastic charms on her wrists. “I do, don’t I…”
“Maybe you can come and pose for a portrait sometime. I need a new model soon, I’m almost finished this one.” I pointed to the picture of E. in her fur coat that I was working on.
“Really? I don’t know…”
“Sure, why not? I would love to paint you. What’s your name?”
“My name is Secret,” she said.
Suddenly she jumped up. “Oh and here I am keeping you, and you are with your tools and everything!”
She went to the door, opened it and hesitated.
“Come back sometime Secret, and I’ll paint your portrait.”
She skipped off in her flowered Converse sneakers, her thin cotton dress whipped against her legs in the sharp April breeze.