The Master’s Muse part 2
Catching sight of her form, Mr. M stopped, mid-stride, and stared. His face showed no sign of approval or disapproval. For that matter, his expression seemed blank. However, she did notice a pulsing vein in his right temple that she hadn’t noticed before. He seemed to snap back into the present, pointed to a stool sitting upon a small stage, and instructed “Here.”
She moved across the room and took a seat upon the small wooden stool. For the next four hours she sat as Mr. M frantically drew and sketched. Page after page was drawn, observed, and then shredded and cast upon the floor. She became more and more uncomfortable as the hours passed, but anytime she attempted to adjust and find some relief, he would brutishly bark, “STILL!”
When the clock struck one, Mr. M suddenly stopped, put down his sketch pad, walked over to her, extended his charcoal stained fingers and softly told her “Stand.” She did, and he again led her to the screen. He released her hand and said, “Change.”
When she stepped behind the barrier, she was surprised to find her clothes gone and a big fluffy white robe hanging in their place. Where are my clothes? Who took them? I didn’t see anyone. How did they get in here and where did they go? Her mind was racing with questions, but she decided to just slip out of the dress and into the robe. Everything about this day had been odd, so this probably shouldn’t shock her either.
When she emerged from behind the screen, Mr. M was seated at a table that hadn’t been there before. It was covered in a lovely white linen tablecloth, and adorned in silver and china dishes laden with the most wonderful smelling foods. Mr. M motioned to the empty seat across from him and said “Sit.” She did, and he waved his hand in a gesture that she took to mean eat, and so she did that too. Every mouthful was better than the last. The pitcher of simple strawberry lemonade was the best she had ever tasted. She didn’t want to make a complete pig of herself, but it was quite hard to stop eating. When she finally had her fill, she sat back in her chair, closed her eyes and reveled in the fullness of her belly. It had been a very long time since it had been this content.
She didn’t think she had fallen asleep, but when she startled and opened her eyes, she realized almost an hour had passed. Mr. M was still sitting in his seat staring at her. She quickly wiped her mouth, relieved to find she hadn’t drooled. She sat upright and asked “What now, Sir?”
He continued to stare for another moment, made a gesture toward the screen, and again simply said “Change.” She quickly rose and scurried over to see what was in store next. Behind the screen was a simple yet elegant black gown. When she slipped it on, it too fit like it had been made specifically for her. She slid her feet into the awaiting pair of shimmering black pumps, let down her hair, admired how pretty she thought she looked, and stepped out from behind the frame.
Mr. M was busy laying out boxes of beautiful pastels, when he looked up and saw her walking across the room. Fire flashed in his eyes and he bounded toward her in a ball of fury. “NO!” he shouted as he reached her and grabbed a handful of hair. She was absolutely terrified and frozen in place. He moved behind her and began using his fingers to yank and pull her hair back over her shoulders. He tugged, twisted and manipulated, and when his torrent of outrage was finally over, she could only tremble as he dropped her beautiful braided hair down her back. He pointed to a new stage and uttered yet another simple, terse instruction. “Stand.”
She meekly stepped up onto the stage, doing her best to hold back the tears threatening to fall over her eyelashes. She turned and faced him. He said nothing more to her and feverishly began drawing. Color after color, page after page, all shredded and discarded to the ground as before. She stood there for the next six hours. Her feet ached. Her back hurt. She was thirsty and tired, and all she could hope was that this miserable day would all be worth it when she finally got paid.
Finally, as the clock struck 8, he stopped, put down all his tools and extended his hand to assist her off the stage. She glared at him, stepped down and walked toward the screen without accepting his outreached hand. He walked behind her and offered another one-word order. “Change.” She began to take a step away, but turned back to him and incredulously asked, “Are we done now?” His eyes, those stunning, piercing eyes, stared almost caringly at her. He took in a deep breath and answered “No.” He turned and walked away. She inhaled deeply, and retreated behind the screen.
She emerged in the transparent white gown that had been waiting for her. There were no shoes, so she tip-toed out in her bare feet. She was self-conscious wearing this very thin, ethereal gown and tried to move her body to hide anything he might be able to see through the gossamer fabric.
Mr. M was seated at a new table that had appeared, again filled with wonderful foods. “Sit,” he said and she did. Silently, she consumed the bounty before her. She thought it impossible, but this meal was even better than the last, every bite melting effortlessly across her tongue. When she looked up from her plate, she saw Mr. M staring at her. She stared back for a moment and then quietly asked, “Will we be done soon?” He quietly observed her for a minute more and then answered “Soon enough.”
To be continued…