the art class (excerpt from Get Lenin) 2016
The following spring semester brought Theo Kassinski. He asked her to model for him, assuring her he wasn't interested in anything aside from her being his contract model. At the desk he had scratched out a quick pencil sketch of her to prove that he could draw. She merely glanced at the sketch - it didn't move her in any particular way - and agreed with the briefest of nods. On the back of the page he wrote out the address of his studio and handed it to her. That Saturday she went to the address.
The studio, a reconditioned garret above a warehouse, contained a cold-water sink, a brass bed and basic kitchenette. Trestle tables lined the far wall with the paraphernalia of his vocation. The room had a co-ordinated chaos about it, where food, drink and clothing lay piled amid oils, canvas, brushes, reams of paper and sheets of hardboard. For Theo, this arrangement was perfect. Eva never uttered a word, nor sighed, nor complained about having to stand still. The months drifted slowly and she watched herself appear more life-like as Theo developed and honed his skills on paper and canvas. Crude charcoal outlines disappeared; shadowing and light became subtler until he produced a piece unlike anything else he had done. He had captured her perfectly.
Eva was lying naked on the floor, her legs together but twisting away from her torso, one arm draped across her breasts and the other arm behind her, cradling spilling, lush auburn tresses. It was if she was caught in mid-leap across the sugar paper. He had fashioned a smile on her features, telling her that when she did so, which was rarely, she was a radiant. He opened a bottle of wine and, for the first time in a year, she smiled briefly and Theo was duly mesmerised.