I ate lunch with the kids from my art class today. I do this every Monday after art because I get to spend more time with the kids, because by the time I finish the class I am starving, and because Monday is grilled cheese sandwich day. Real grilled cheese. With butter.
Today I did not sit down to eat right away. Though I was eager to wolf down the grilled cheese that was waiting for me in the kitchen, I still had some cleaning up to do in the art room. As I was picking up bits of string and paper, I heard one of the teachers tell two boys to settle down and keep their hands to themselves. This is not unusual. It is something that we say to the kids at least once during each meal. I kept cleaning.
I heard the teacher tell the same boys not to touch each other’s plates or cups or bodies while at the table. Then I heard another teacher tell them the same thing a minute later. This got my attention. Not because of the amount of times the teachers had to repeat themselves, but because there were no accompanying screams, whines or sobs. I walked over to where the kids were eating, expecting to see the beginning of a fight or some sort of antagonistic behavior. Instead, they were each grinning and bouncing with excitement in their chairs.
I grabbed my sandwich and sat on a stool directly across the room from the boys. They were facing each other and giggling. One teacher asked the boys if they were finished eating. This calmed them down and they returned their attention to their lunch. I watched them closely. They were eating quietly, smiling, chewing. They were happy. Really quiet, and really happy. I kept watching. It was weird. Why were they suddenly following directions so well? Then I realized that they were holding hands under the table.
One of the other teachers noticed as well and we just sat there looking at them in awe. She whispered to me that one of the boys had been gone on vacation and this was the first time these guys had seen each other in two weeks. Needless to say, they were overjoyed at having been reunited; so overjoyed that they could not contain themselves. They soon forgot about their grilled cheese and proceeded to touch each other’s arms, pull at each other’s sleeves, and touch their heads together.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
Maybe today Jenny will say yes. It has been “no” two days in a row now, but I have a good feeling about today. It’s Friday. Who doesn’t want to go out on Friday? Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one asking. I don’t usually go for the fatties, but it occurred to me a few days ago that if I lower my standards, I can raise my expectations. I’m hoping for some kind of sex soon. Preferably free sex.
You know how people always say prostitution is a win/win situation? Well, I have spent most of next month’s rent on hos and I don’t feel like a winner. I’m going to have to ask my mom to lower the rent again. I don’t really see why I have to pay rent anyway. If she didn’t make my food, clean my room, and do my laundry, she wouldn’t even know I was here.
It wasn’t always like this you know. I didn’t always live with my mom and spend my money on hookers. I used to go to therapy. I went for years. But then one day my therapist told me I was addicted to sex. I decided that if I were addicted to sex, it didn’t make much sense to spend my money on talking. That’s when the hos came into my life. And now I’m basically broke. I have just enough money to take Jenny to the movies if she says yes. I hope she says yes.
Today I had my first class in printmaking and I had what I can only describe to you as an epiphany: I was born to make prints. It is the perfect combination of everything I love about every art form I love. We draw, we carve into wood, we paint the wood with big rubber rolling pins, then we run it through the giant metal printing press onto beautiful paper. Then, we do it again. We can use the wood carving over and over and over (pretty much forever), and with any color imaginable. We can mix and layer colors to make our own rich combinations. We can fuck everything up and use too much paint and still create something amazing.
I love the attention to detail in the original wood carvings mixed with the trial by error method of adding color. I love the smell of the thick gooey paint we use, and the smell of the chemicals we use to clean it. I love the wood, the paper, the metal. I want to live in the print lab. Really, it makes me happy just to be in there. The room is huge and well lit. Two of the walls are just windows with a fantastic view of the city. There are three big printing machines, and a beautiful japanese paper making machine. There are big wooden tables everywhere covered in acrylic. Everything is big and heavy and indestructible. While the work being created is so delicate, subtle, and precise.
My teacher is John P. Overton, the same guy I have for my Experimental Storytelling class. He is just great. He loves what he does and he loves art. We looked at a bunch of slides of Japanese prints from the 1800’s. They were so beautiful. I saw way too much today. It is becoming a blur- albeit a fantastic one- in my mind. I am sure I will have to do everything a bunch of times just to be mediocre -and I can’t wait. There is another girl in my class that is almost as excited as I am. Her name is Taylor. We stayed after class today hounding John with questions. We quickly learned that the best way to form a question to him is: What happens if…? He wont just answer you, he will always show you. My teacher encourages us to experiment and fuck up. Honestly, how much better can it get?
She seemed normal enough. Well, she was the only one behind the counter and I needed my super-fit makeup so she would have to do. She matched my color on the first try and I forgave her for wearing blue eye shadow and red lipstick. She recommended a good face wash for me and complimented my skin. Her name was Melissa.
It was only upon checkout that we started to chat and things got out of hand. I told her I was a painter and that I had an art show coming up. I showed her a flyer with a painting of mine. She said “Oh that’s nice but could you change that fish to a rat? I have two rats. Do you think you could paint them for me?”
Up until this point my mother was standing beside me picking at her nails, gazing absentmindedly around the department store. I did not even think she was listening to us but before I could respond to Melissa’s question my mom whipped her head around and yelled “rats!” and then a little softer “rats? like rats?”
“Oh yes” answered Melissa, “they are like mice but smarter.” Trying to compensate for the about to vomit look on my mother’s face, I quickly added “they’re not sewer rats mom; she got them at a store.” Melissa nodded in agreement as my mom shook her head in disbelief. “You paid for rats? Why?” I stared down at the floor and tried to hold back my laughter as Melissa explained why rats made for great company to my mom, whose opinion of rats is greatly influenced by the black plague.
By the time we left the store, Melissa was offended, my mom was disgusted and I was just happy to get out of there. We went to drop our things off at the car to continue shopping. It was not until a few hours later that I checked my purchase and saw that Melissa had given me the wrong color foundation and I would have to go back. Rats! (That’s right. I went there.)
At 9 o’clock this morning I woke up in a panic. Daniel was going to kill me. I had been unfaithful. Last night I had sex with Barack. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time. I was trying to convince him that my boyfriend and I were really good artists and we just needed a little exposure. I thought a good word from Obama could help us. Spooning on top of his red silk sheets with gold fringe, I felt like he really understood me. But what if he hadn’t? What if it had all been for nothing? I wondered if Daniel would understand that I had done this for us — so that we could get ahead in the world. I doubted it.
As I rolled over and saw Daniel laying in bed next to me, my panic turned into confusion. I did not remember how I had gotten home. How had I managed to make it to my bed in Mexico City before morning? Had Barack given me a turbo speed lift on Air Force One and I had forgotten? I guessed that was entirely possible. Barack was after all a gentleman. My eyes, just beginning to see through their morning haze, landed on Daniel’s smiling face. I cautiously half smiled back at him, thinking his smile might be fake and he was waiting for a good moment to kill me. After a few minutes my fear dwindled. I decided that his pleasant mood was genuine. Daniel did not know and I, the adulteress, was overwhelmed by guilt. I could still smell Obama on my skin.
I was ready to tell Daniel everything when a little thought formed in my mind and began to nag at me. I couldn’t understand how Daniel had not noticed my being gone all night. Being that I work at home and we never go out at night unless we are together, he should have been really bothered by my absence. What a shitty boyfriend! What kind of a man doesn’t notice when his woman is gone all night? Maybe he doesn’t even care. I decided to tell him nothing. If he had wanted to know where I had been, he would have asked.
After spending all day being pissed at Daniel, I have decided to forgive him. I figure we are even. What happened between Barack and I will stay between us. It was a one time thing and I think we both feel that there is no need to make a big deal out of it. I have faith in Barack. I believe he will do everything in his power to help further my career as an artist. But just in case he fails, I have decided not to quit my job.