Friday, November 13, 2009

Jealousy 10

I don’t really have anything to put away, but I go to my room anyhow. I push the door so that there is only a small crack left open and sit on my bed. It’s already been made. I’ll still use tidying up as an excuse. Laura always says I am fanatical about this so she will believe it. It gives me a few minutes to collect myself before pretending to enjoy the treat. I wonder what variety of chocolate she has obtained for us. It’s her most common treat.

I look at the clock and am surprised to see that 5 minutes has passed. I know I only have a couple more before I evict myself or she barges in. I contemplate how I might escape so I can figure out what to do about the Wollensky’s ordeal, and more importantly, how to put myself back into John’s favor. Wollensky’s! Of course! I have to work this evening. I’ll just tell Laura that I picked up an extra shift and need to leave by 2pm. That will let me appease her for a while and then I will be free to worry about my next step.

Quickly I reach back for my plate and cup still sitting on the nightstand. I am relieved that Laura will provide a little distraction for the day. I leave to take care of my things. She is sitting on the floor of the living room in the middle of the carpet, having pushed the coffee table under the painting, doing what I assume is a yoga pose. Her bottom is in the air. Her legs are straight. Her elbows and forehead rest on the carpet. As I suspected, she is wearing leg warmers over her leggings and a long tie –dyed T-shirt dress, gathered with a bulky belt. Artist chic. Later she will add several bangles, a few long necklaces, possibly a crop sweater, and some kind of hair scarf to keep the curls out of her eyes.

I walk past. In the kitchen, I notice the cereal bowl and spilled oatmeal in the sink. From the color, I would guess she chose cinnamon apple. The milk is still sitting out as well. I put the cap on the milk and slide it in the refrigerator door shelf. Then I grab the kitchen sponge and scrub the drying oatmeal off the bowl and the little bits of cream cheese and bagel crumbs off the plate. Once rinsed, I dry everything and put them back in the cupboards. Then I take a moment and wipe down the counter. Meanwhile, I watch Laura move between poses, pulsating through the stillness in an effort to become even more flexible.

Her right leg is hooked under her body, her arms above her head and left leg extended straight out. It appears that her fingers are crawling across the floor. She has shown me this pose before. It is wonderful for really stretching my hip muscles. I don’t remember what it is called. With her face turned toward the kitchen, Laura says, “Hey. Next time you go to the store, can you pick up some juice? I noticed it was gone this morning.”

“Sure.” I say. “So, what is this treat that I am going to love?” I walk back into the living room and sit on the loveseat. Laura pops right up.

“Stay right there,” she says as if I am a puppy who will run as soon as she turns her back. She gets to her feet in one fast fluid motion. She crosses the short distance to her room and disappears. A couple of minutes later, she returns with a bag of candy, a small canvas, and some painting supplies. They are dropped without ceremony on the couch across from me. She returns to her room only to reappear with more painting supplies and her large easel.

I am wary. Laura is an abstract artist and she excels at it. Her work is beautiful. This arrangement doesn’t make sense. I really hope she isn’t on one of her kicks of trying a new form of art… especially if it means asking me to sit for her. Oh God. Please don’t let it be that. Sitting still as a statue is not in me today. Finally, Laura emerges for the last time.

“So, what are we doing?” I ask, fully aware of the skepticism already in my voice.

She doesn’t even glance at me as she lays the drop cloth over the hardwood floors and sets the easel and canvas up. ‘Don’t worry! This is totally up your way and I already have faith that this will be one of my better pieces. Besides, I bought Premium M&M’s to bribe you with. The Raspberry Almond ones. I hear they are to die for and I know how much you like raspberry and chocolate together.”

I am tempted. They sound delicious. “And what are you expecting me to do for them?” I am still skeptical, but warming up to the idea.

“Simple,” she says, turning to look at me. “I have cut a bunch of pictures out of some tabloids. I just need you to look at them and talk about what you see. How it makes you feel.”

“Okay. That doesn’t sound so hard. But how are you going to use this to paint?” Laura is rarely inspired to paint through conversation. She is inspired by color, texture, or the emotion she feels when surrounded by these types of things. She frequently tags along when I head to a fabric store or other specialty place where she is allowed to touch and play with the items.

“Well, first, it is going to be a series piece. Kind of like the ‘Criminal Ripples’ series of paintings in the kitchen. But this one I am going to call ‘Hollywood Glam’. I am asking a handful of friends to look through various pictures. I’m hoping to capture how the general public views celebrity status.” She is looking directly at me. I can tell just looking at her that this thought has inspired her. My gut tells me to say no, but my brain argues and tells me it will be fine. John is hardly ever in the tabloids. He keeps his life private. I have no real affinity to any other star. And as far as Laura is concerned, I don’t have a reason to say no. Saying no will only trigger an alarm that I prefer to keep silent.

“Sounds fun!” I say with a smile. “I’ll grab a dish for the M&M’s. You bring out the pictures. Let’s do it!” I get off the couch and half run to the kitchen. I try to steady my nerves as I reach for the bowl. “It will be easy. Just don’t relate every actress and actor back to John’s movies. Keep it general.” I am mentally outlining guidelines to follow. Already I feel my eyes mist over. “Stop it!” I tell myself firmly. “This is not what she wants to capture. She wants Hollywood Glam. Fun! I can do that. I do it all the time.” As the M&M’s tinkle into the crystal dish I hope that the longing I feel does not show in my eyes.

1 comment:

  1. I love how you describe things but I think the description of the oatmeal was a bit off. When you went ton to describe that the color made her think it was apple cinnamon it felt as though you were doing this as an after thought keeping the color observations that she has going just for the sake of it.
    Other wise I am anxious to read the next part and see if it is torture or fun for her....Right now.