The rest of the day they pretty much left me to it. I made a list of meals I could prepare and ingredients. I ransacked the kitchen to try and find enough materials for that evening meal. That didn't take me very long. They were going to order out again, but I convinced them that I could make a good omelet. I was getting really bored and I had only been here half a day. I would need to talk to them about things to do. I wanted to go for runs and maybe join a library or something. A cleaner came in twice a week and the place was spotless so I didn't need to do any housework. Although I had left school early, I had been on top of all my homework and missing the last few weeks of term had been authorised without giving me any extra stuff to do. I needed some kind of part time work for when they didn't need me for modelling.
I spoke to them that evening, trying to get a feel for how I was going to fit in. They liked my cooking at least. They set me up online so that I could order the groceries and they would be delivered. Then we got into a discussion on art and how they were hoping I would fit in. Mark disappeared upstairs and Jean continued chatting with me.
“We have offered profit share a few times because I wanted to try a few things, but you are the first one to take us up on it. What do you know about my art?” Jean asked.
“Not a lot. All I can say is I like it. I couldn't tell you why.”
She took me to an amazing photograph of a pier with the sun setting. “This is one of Mark's. What do you think?”
“Beautiful. Truly beautiful.”
“But what emotions does it evoke.”
“I don't know, maybe, wonder at the natural beauty.”
“Mark and I always have this debate. He has this great ability to find the beauty in the world and capture it with his photographs. For me as an artist, I feel like it is missing something.” She then took me upstairs to her studio and showed me a picture of the same pier with a similar sunset but this time it had a boy at the end hunched over swinging his legs and next to him was a man holding a fishing rod casting it out to sea. They weren't a huge part of the picture but somehow that added to it immeasurably.
“I feel that you need human presence to give a perspective on a piece. From Mark's photo you can see a beautiful scene. From my painting, you can imagine being the boy at the end of the pier or the man fishing and that gives the whole thing more warmth. For me you need three things to be a great artist. You need to have the talent and skill to be able to paint what is in your mind's eye. A character flaw, being a perfectionist, and inspiration. You are going to be my muse, my inspiration. When I saw you, I immediately had ideas and that is why I wanted you here.”
“Umm. Thanks.” I think she was paying me a compliment.
“The problem with models is that getting paid is what it is all about. I am hoping that by doing a profit share, you can help me get what I want out of my inspiration with a different attitude. Sitting still for hours is not going to achieve that. No, what I wanted to try is to use Mark to help me capture my ideas, then print them life size and then paint them.”
“I will do my best. That does sound like I will have a lot of free time. I was thinking, maybe, I could get a part time job.”
“At the moment, I am just finishing a commissioned piece, then I will need your assistance. Hmmm. I will want you when I want you, but at the same time, there will be a lot of time when you are not needed. I will think about it. Maybe discuss it with my sister tomorrow.” We wandered back downstairs to the open plan area. I had heard Mark in his own part of the upstairs studio. He was clearly busy doing something else. “Tomorrow I have booked us in to my sister's salon for those pedicures. Marie wanted to give us the works, but I want that just before I am ready to paint you. I want to start with a portrait. I half want her to play with your make up. It will give me thoughts and get my creative juices flowing. The problem is, I need to get this commissioned piece finished first.”
I didn't really know what to say, so I went with “I'm in your hands.” She seemed a bit frustrated, but I think it was mainly that she wanted to get started but had to do other stuff first.
Mum phoned me that evening. I had texted her when I had arrived so she knew I had arrived safely, but now wanted the gossip of how my first day went. It wasn't a long conversation. I could report on the great living accommodation, but little else as yet. She was taking Lilith to the grands tomorrow, so she was unsure when or if she would be phoning me tomorrow. She was a bit worried about talking to me in front of granddad.
Today she had packed up as much of the house as she could. She had been assigned a one bed flat which was part of a retirement community and would be moving in in 2 weeks time. She had contacted the landlord and was trying to do right by him as much as possible. He had agreed to waive the fee for leaving the tenancy early if she kept the property in good condition. I think he was worried that she would trash the place, if she had nothing to lose. The bond would then be split between us and him depending on the arrears. When that happened she was hoping to put some money into my account. I reassured her that I was doing fine and there was even the possibility of getting a part time job.
The talk was pretty positive until the end when it was time to say goodbye. Then came out the 'I miss you' and 'I love you' and I am sure I heard crying before she put the phone down. We had arranged for all of my friends to Skype on either Saturday or Sunday morning, around 11 am so I had nothing further to do. Getting bored again I decided on an early night.
I had spoken to Jean about running in the morning and she had given me a key and suggested the track by the harbour bridge that went to Luna Park. So when I woke up early that is what I did. The sun was only just evident and there was more than enough light to see by. I started concentrating on where I was going, to make sure I knew the way back. When I got to the harbour bridge, I paused to enjoy the iconic scenery. Despite the early hour on a Saturday morning, I was not alone. There were other joggers, mostly with earplugs in and total focus on their running, and dog walkers. I stretched my legs and pushed myself until I had caught the runner in front of me. Not because I was interested in him, just because it was a challenge. Once I had achieved my goal, I slowed down, turned around and started heading back. I think the man thought I was playing with him. He turned shortly after I did and started chasing me down.
Then I was in a bit of a quandary. Did I let him catch me? I didn't mean any harm by catching up to him, maybe he would understand that and not make an issue, or do I increase my speed and not let him close. He looked a fit young man, maybe I didn't really have a choice, he would probably be able to catch me anyway. Whilst we were on a fairly frequently travelled track, I thought it best to stop and catch my breathe and see what he was going to do. I had been hearing the footfalls get closer and closer and didn't want him to chase me to an unknown part of the track.
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