"Repeat what ya just said, like slowly?"
"I want to take pictures of you. We can do it after my photo shoot."
Dolly blinks at the tall, beautiful young man in front of her. I recognized him from my class. Ji-Soo Hwang. He was a foreign student who can to study art history- or so it says on his file. I had to learn about all my students. But taking pictures of me? Didn't I discuss the class that all self-portraits drawn were to be from memory or pictures?
Self. A keyword that explained why I was so surprised that he wanted to take for pictures of me.
"Mr. Hwang, do you know the point of our current assignment. It's to draw how you think you appear in front of other folks... People." I make it known with my obvious grand hand gestures. His buck teeth and overbite leave him with his front set of teeth poked out, looking at me blankly.
Then, almost suddenly, he laughs to the point of passing students stopping to look at him. "How about we continue this discussion in my classroom, aight?" I say, almost dragging him in class; I didn't want anyone to get the wrong message here.
"I want to use you for my own reference. It's for Mr. Darwin's class. You know, the one on realistic painting?" Still. I urged and argued in my head. Firstly, I ain't a fan of photography at all. If it's of me. I hadn't taken a picture of since I was in infancy and early childhood. I was fearful of seeing my face on film or anywhere. Secondly, I wouldn't go out to experience social embarrassment. I never went to prom or walked during my college and high school graduation. I've had a thing social anxiety for a while. I try not to go out so much unless its for work or grocery shopping. I must have everything delivered.
And this kid wanted to paint me. And before that, he wanted to pictures of me for reference. He wanted to take those pictures of me.
"You must just need a model, right? I know a gal named Kat who does this as a hobby; she'll do it fa free, ya know? I can give h-"
"Is she you?" He asks. This was the first time a student asked me a question that the answer to was obvious, but it was difficult also. Was he trying to play with me, was he trying to sway me with his selfishness?
"Of course not," I reply with my voice with a squeak. Ji-Soo nods; he takes a sticky note from my desk. "You live alone right? Then you do this for me obviously Ms. Doll." This boy called me by my maiden name. I haven't heard it by itself in years. A decade. To me precise.
I think that's what suaded me to say yes.
He writes down his number in pretty calligraph type writing down on the sticky note. Feeling my soul escape me after he leaves the room, I get to grading some assignments.
When I was heading home, I sparked a conversation with Mr. Alexander Darwin. He was a year older than me; Alexander was a beautiful artist who specialized in scenery and landscape type painting. His washed out beige skin tone dulled against the dimmed lights. Nearly everyone had left and we were the only ones left as far as I knew.
I had to admit something to myself. I liked Alexander, a lot. He liked me a lot too. My dilemma was, I'd just gotten out of a 10 year marriage, for what? To be pulled in again? To be heart broken again? I wondered. I wondered if I wanted to be in marriage again.
Because that's what Alexander wanted. We slept together on the fourth date or so, I introduced him to the remaining childhood friends I had and he even proposed recent.
I wasn't sure of it, though. I didn't want anything long term relationship. I just wanted something to... Satisfy my need for intimacy. I didn't even tell me about my phobia or why I had public places.
I went out as Dolly Moore-Reids living in California, not Dolores Moore, the shy girl from Charlotte. "Dolly, since Valentine's day was soon, I was wondering if you'd want to go to that French restaurant by Melrose; I have the appointment already arranged so," I looked at him and smirked easily with my strawberry red lips.
"Sure. I'll wear red." Of course. It was his favorite color. I'd have to shopping for some clothes, though. I couldn't go to Macy's knowing I wore past the xxxl mark.
By the time I got home, I was exhausted; I took my wig off my wiped off my makeup. Finally, in my natural habitat, I stretched in my panties and went to cook dinner. "Oh my, look at my babies, you've grown so big!" I look at my tomato plants and water them. They've already ripped enough for me to cook them.
"Maybe Italian today?" Finally, deciding on cook pizza, I sat down and ate my masterpiece while I turned to look at my favorite gossip channel; Ear to Ear. Of course it was mindless garbage, but it was pretty accurate with their information.
I tuned in at the last for their last juicy story.
"And finally, the heir of Dai, a fashion empire, sports the cover of Vogue Japan. A fine ass piece of man! Especially those tattoos! Even one of his representatives say he's going to an art college in NYC baby! How you feel about this steamy shoot, T?"
"Lord, Tasha I'd eat that boy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner." When I showed the pictures of the photoshoot, my eyes bulged. It was Ji-Soo. The beautiful Ji-Soo in my Realistic Illustration class. The Ji-Soo who was going to paint me. I mean, I do recall him saying he modeled, but I thought itwas for the money; he was some rich, trust-fund baby, apparently.
Turning off the TV, I paced. I could just tell him something came up and take my week of vacation off. Yeah that's what I'll do. I grabbed my cell and I dialed the number he gave me.
"Kyung-Suk, speaking, who is this?"Kyung-Sook? Did I read the number wrong?
"I'm one of Ji-Soo's teachers at the University. I wanted to speak to him about a assignment. My name is Mrs. Moore-Reid." Hopefully he answers the phone.
"Ms. Doll," There is a slight pause before I answer. "I can't make it; my week for vacation is coming up and I want to take the time to relax, things have been stressful." There's completely silence and then speaking. But it wasn't in English. I actually wondered what it was.
"Sorry for that. It's too bad you can't shoot with me. But be sure to give Mr. Darwin my condolences." I flinched. No one at the university were aware we were actually dating; we were going to say something after Valentine's Day, if we were even still together by then but... This was odd.
“Excuse me, Mr. Hwang but my personal life doesn't concern you.” I say this but in fact I'm screaming inside. I felt a certain way about what he said and I didn't know whether or not bring it up later after school.