Richard Milact had set his easel up in the center of the room. His canvas had been gessoed and his pigments were prepared. His pallet today would consist primarily of deep blues and verdant greens.
Missy was in the room, watching him. Richard hated painting with an audience. Today she had begged to be in his studio and he had finally relented.
He was beginning to regret his decision.
Richard preferred soft jazz playing while he worked. Missy liked hip-hop and had changed the station on his radio. She was also talking incessantly today. It was almost like she was nervous, edgy about something.
It stroked his ego that she was here. She was so much younger than he. At first he thought she had been attracted to him for his money but that didn’t seem to be the case. He was beginning to believe that she might actually love him. He knew he didn’t love her, but he liked her, and could probably grow to love her with time. The sex was good and the companionship was better. He had grown tired of living alone and she had brought a sense of vitality with her when she moved into the house. The energy of youth.
Richard liked to work every day. He would let his subjects, or the sunlight that streamed through his studio windows, and the weather dictate the time of day that he worked but once he began – he continued until he had either completed a canvas or collapsed from exhaustion.
She had set up the still life on the stool, across the room and he was ready to begin but the music bothered him and Missy just wouldn’t shut up. He wasn’t listening to her really but the constant chatter interrupted his creative process and he was having difficulty beginning.
Finally, he heard what she was saying.
“Let me pose for you Richard. Let me be your subject today. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, I’ll change my clothes. Or take them off. I would love to pose nude for you. I’d look better on that stool than that fruit bowl. If you really want the fruit I’ll hold the grapes while I’m posing.”
That was it then. He understood why she was here. She didn’t love him. She wanted to be immortalized on his canvas. Why not? He thought, I care for her and she’s not asking for much… But if I do this and give her the painting she’ll leave. I’d miss her incessant talking, I’d miss her annoying habits, and the little messes she makes in the kitchen. I’d miss the new life that she has breathed into my home. Our home.
“Go put on that green Victorian dress, you’ll look good in it and it is the best fit for the colors I’ve already chosen for today, and pin your hair up, but be sure to leave a few wisps loose.”
She smiled, turned and ran back to the house to change. She was happy. He was going to miss her.