"Not convinced of what?"
"If it was worth it," Gerard nodded. He looked at me suddenly, a smile on his face. He touched my cheek and ran his hands through my hair. He looked at me as if I was a painting myself, and he began to run his hands all over me. "I can paint you because I've touched you. I know how your skin feels so I can paint it. I can paint Vivian for the same reason. Everything else feels fake."
I felt even more youthful and full of life under his touch. He went to my March - Like Lions 5 страница neck and pulled me down to him and I pressed my hands against his chest. We kissed for a bit, but we were both still pretty focused on what was in front of us. I looked down at what Gerard had been sketching along with the Degas book, and noticed one of the first photos I had taken of Jasmine.
"What about when you draw her? Will it feel fake then?" I asked.
"That's why I was studying Degas. I want to draw her because she's beautiful and I've never done her before, but it becomes March - Like Lions 5 страница difficult, to me at least, to convey accuracy and feeling. I do not want to be a fraud. I want it to be genuine, but I'm so used to touching bodies as I work with them."
Gerard lamented for a bit, and in spite of the playfulness he exhibited with me, I knew when he talked of touching bodies he meant nothing sexual by it. He was very literal, so he did want to touch in order to get the feeling of skin, but his words were never really thinly veiled euphemisms. I could tell by March - Like Lions 5 страница now, and I knew that he had respect for Jasmine, which is why he was trying to find alternative ways to draw her. He didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable by insisting on touching her back, her legs, and her stomach when she got larger, merely so he could draw an accurate depiction. He would just have to settle for mimicking Degas’ style, but I assured him as best as I could that he was not a fraud for that effort.
"You know, Jasmine says that we're all irrevocably linked. It was one of the reasons she March - Like Lions 5 страница stopped eating animals. If we were all linked, animals included, then eating them doesn't make sense anymore. It also hurts, too. She told me once that she could feel their pain. Once the concept of pain is understood by us, then we could empathize with others who felt it. Maybe it could work the other way. But with better emotions, between all three of us," I suggested. I wasn't sure if Gerard would buy into a philosophy like that, but he considered it.
"If I felt you, then I could begin to know her? If she March - Like Lions 5 страница felt you, then she could begin to know me?" Gerard asked, and I nodded. He began to touch my chest again, and I touched his. I wondered if as he tried to understand Jasmine, I could try to understand Vivian through him, and then if I could understand Cassandra through that touch, since at one point Cassandra and Vivian had been in the same body and a part of the same cells. Maybe if Gerard and I touched one another, we would begin to understand the entire world, every person we met by virtue of the next person after March - Like Lions 5 страница.
Until we got to Degas, of course, and then it would be a dead end.
"Maybe that was how Degas drew his subjects?" I suggested. "Maybe he came to know himself so well, and then drew his subjects from that first emotion?"
Gerard considered it, but ended up rejecting my idea. "That doesn't seem like the type of person he was. He was too into perfection, and if he had really come to know himself and the world then we would all be flawed in his pictures. Instead he made these women into dolls. Humans are not dolls, and March - Like Lions 5 страница humanity is far more ephemeral than objects. You cannot know individual things, people, and distinct attributes when a crowd forms, when people merge, and multitudes are reached. Feelings are multitudes, and yes, I think I agree with Jasmine, though I do want to consider this more. What I know is that Degas was not a part of that crowd of feelings. You cannot be when you are alone. That, to me, is a wasted life." He began to touch me with more urgency, and put his hand up the back of my shirt. "I'd rather paint from March - Like Lions 5 страница experience. I'd rather just have experience."
His voice had that quality to it that I recognised. He nudged me to get up, and we both did, walking towards the bed. I laid down first and Gerard began to undress me. I had no idea if he was going to draw or paint me, but he kept his own clothing on. When I was completely naked, he looked down on me and smiled. But he didn't end up getting his sketchbook. Instead he used his hands. He started from my feet, and touched each and every last surface as he March - Like Lions 5 страница began to go up my body. He got to my mouth, and kissed me quickly. I wrapped my arms around his neck and tried to pull him, still fully clothed, on top of me, but he resisted. He kept using his hands, on my chest, my arms, my neck. "Even if I never paint another picture," he said, "I will know every last part of you. I will remember every last bit and keep it with me forever."
He began to kiss where his hands had been, still fully clothed. It was hypnotic and my mind began to wander. I March - Like Lions 5 страница remembered the dove box that he had given me, with the banner that read I Will Never Forget You. He had already immortalized me in several paintings, and that was what I had first thought he meant by the dove. I thought it was a dedication to that giant neon painting of me he had had in his gallery, the one that I still did not know the title of. But his words came out differently now, and as his hands and mouth moved all over me, it seemed as if he was breathing me in March - Like Lions 5 страница, taking me into him, and making me a part of his memory forever. I Will Never Forget You wasn't a plea for immortality with art; the art was never what was important. Not the perfect item, the wondrous mastery of materials, but the bodies. The touching of bodies - my body - me. He wanted me, he wanted to remember me, every last inch and every last imperfection. He would catalogue it into his memory and then that would be it. His life as a painter, he said, could end. He would have all he needed.
I knew that his March - Like Lions 5 страница career as a painter wouldn't end, but that he was making a point. His character study of Degas was as much about him as a person as it was him as an artist. He spent his whole life alone, mastering his art. And we were spending that time together mastering our bodies instead. There was no container for memory or multitudes; it was fleeting; nothing. All I had was that dove to remind me of this moment. It sat on the bookshelf where our clothing was still stacked, on the top shelf, looking down and watching as Gerard finally undressed too March - Like Lions 5 страница, and I could begin to commit him to memory.
We lay in bed lazily after. Although I was tired from work, I could not sleep. Gerard said that he had consumed too much coffee earlier and neither could he. We didn't bother to put our clothing on when Gerard pulled out some of his art supplies from before and brought them to the bed. He playfully began to wipe charcoal on my nose and then asked if I would pose for him. I said it was fine, and he pulled over the orange chair to the March - Like Lions 5 страница bed and began his work. I never knew what to do when he was drawing me. Sometimes I'd let my mind wander, some days I even fell asleep, but right then I was a little bored. He gave me the book he had been reading once he was done his outline of my general body shape, and worked on my lower body while I flipped through the pages of Frida's biography.
"Our conversation about Diego Rivera remind me of this book. I dug through some boxes, but I found it. It's good, but not enough March - Like Lions 5 страница to reread. I like to open to random places and see what I remember," he said, and then went back to his work.
I thanked him and then tried to balance the neon orange cover in my hands, above my waist, as Gerard sketched. It was an immense book, and I had been so busy recently that it had been a while since I had had the dedication to delve into a narrative that long. I was used to reading poetry or small stories of myth. I read Jasmine's magazine at work a lot of the time, too. My March - Like Lions 5 страница attention span was shot from all of the things that had happened around me, and all of them were so important that I almost didn't even want to distract myself from them and go into another's person's life.
At first I just looked through the pictures that were in the middle of the book. There were lots of self-portraits, with her and her husband Diego and his work, some of her in bed with her body cast, and family photos. One of them, with Frida dressed like a man, caught my attention. I was March - Like Lions 5 страница surprised because I had first thought it was her brother, only to be corrected by the text underneath. There was something about that photo, something so quintessentially Frida, that made me linger there for some time.
"The dove was called Frida," Gerard said, as if just to himself. I looked up from the pictures and met his eyes, but he didn't say much else. He laughed to himself. "There were so many names for that poor bird. I hope when she got out, she was able to find one she was happy with."
He was murmuring to himself now, something I March - Like Lions 5 страница noticed he did when he became really involved with his work. It was one of the reasons he sometimes listened to music as he painted for long periods of times, or began to recite poetry. It broke up the monotony, he told me. It was something I had noticed when I first came back to him, though he had insisted it was a long-standing habit. His horrifically bad French opera was the only example I had had of this habit in the past.
I went back to the book and saw that Frida had painted herself March - Like Lions 5 страница with a lot of birds. Parrots, mostly, but not doves. There were passages in the book that talked about her fascination with birds, mostly because of the life that she lived in pain all the time. It was easier to envision flying than walking. It was easier to think of herself as something so beautiful just on its own, than to sit in bed with a mirror above herself and paint whatever she saw.
Now, I was interested. I began to read Frida's life very slowly. I couldn't move very much with how Gerard was drawing me, and March - Like Lions 5 страница he said he had decided to make the book part of the picture. It suited me, he insisted, and then went on. It would take a bit longer to do the portrait, but that was okay. I was beginning to realize we had plenty of time.
Frida's life spilled out before me, and as I read about her I thought of Degas. I thought about Jasmine and the conversation I had just had with Gerard, about Cassandra inside of Vivian and about our child inside of Jasmine. It wasn't the works of these painters that March - Like Lions 5 страница captivated me and it never had been. It was their life. Stieglitz's photos of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands were only beautiful because they had been in love and he had touched those hands. Frida had three hundred pages before me, and I wondered how long our lives could be written. How much there would be to say at the end of it and if I would remember all the little details, like Gerard scratching his own nose and getting charcoal there, like the color of the bruise on my leg from moving boxes, like the disarray of the March - Like Lions 5 страница pale blue sheets that we slept on and the come stains that I had left behind. We all left something behind, no matter what, even Degas who had a life filled with nothing but fake images and himself. It was still a life; it still mattered.
I read and repeated every word of Frida's book in my mind and I captured all of the words I had said to the people around me. About the people around me. It was the people that mattered. It was always them, never anything else. I could live to be one hundred March - Like Lions 5 страница with them, and I would never feel old.
Gerard had taken what I told him about us all being linked to heart. Like all good theories he had not come up with himself, he knew he had to test it. He wanted to go and see his brother as soon as possible. He needed to try and draw him from afar - with his clothing on - to see if it could be done. They too were the same cells and had shared much of the same childhood. Gerard may not have touched his brother like he had touched March - Like Lions 5 страница us, but there had been a prior intimate space between the two of them. He wondered if this connection could extend outwards to the children, too, but decided to focus on that another time. One of the advantages of adult bodies was that their features were bigger. And they sat still longer. He had been visiting the kids somewhat regularly, but he wasn't familiar with them yet. He still couldn't name the oldest beyond "the tall one that wears red a lot" and the "young girl who has glasses like Mikey." The younger children were a blur March - Like Lions 5 страница to him the most, especially since he had been in Paris when they all grew up. He did mention the baby quite a lot, though, but never named him; always The Young One or The Baby.
"Jonah," I told him. "The young one's name is Jonah."
He looked at me, surprised I had remembered since Mikey had only mentioned him in passing at the December dinner. I couldn't recall any other names but that one. Maybe my subconscious had stored it away for future reference, or maybe I had latched onto it specifically when I recalled it March - Like Lions 5 страница again. Jonah was the baby, and hearing Gerard talk about his brother's children made me want to come along. I envisioned myself as Mikey temporarily at the dinner table in December, and realized that I would be able to tell my own story about a birth next time we all met during that month.
"You should come, too," Gerard said, seeming to read my thoughts. "That way, we can drive there and someone can watch the kids while Mikey is off with me. He gets really tense sometimes about supervision and I'm sure it will be good March - Like Lions 5 страница for you to be interacting with them."
"Yeah, I guess," I said, my smile spreading all over my face. "You too, you know. You're going to be helping us with the little person too."
Gerard did an over-the-top eye roll and exasperated sigh. "I know, I guess I will have to get my head around the noise."
"And start to learn names."
Gerard bit his lip. "That too, that too. I'm trying. It's just - five kids! Wow. Frank, you can't have that many, all right? One is fine, maybe two, but five and March - Like Lions 5 страница I can't keep up, and they really will think I'm their grandfather."
I laughed. The thought of five kids seemed absolutely overwhelming to me. The idea of one, as much as I was growing into the idea, was still tenuous most days. It was easy to configure because it wasn't right in front of me; it was more an idea than anything, an abstract concept, and a large part of my pride. I still didn't want to think of the material realities, but that was, I tried to convince myself, only because I had not been March - Like Lions 5 страница exposed to that yet. I was working with the unknown, so of course it became scary. Seeing Jonah today worried me a little, but I also couldn't pass up a chance like this.
Gerard and I began to gather our bags and put art supplies away. He insisted that I take my camera, and I was hesitant. I still hadn't gotten around to developing the jazz photos, and I never left anything undeveloped sitting around away from the camera. If I hadn't done them before I did the next roll, it was less and less March - Like Lions 5 страница likely that they would get done. I still had to figure out when to go to a dark room. My work schedule had finished for the next four days, so I made myself a mental note to get it done soon and hoped the deadline for the magazine wasn't already past.
"Alexa wants to meet you, too. She's been insisting upon it each and every time I go. Let me tell you, she's an utter joy to meet," Gerard informed me as we began to leave the house. There was a touch of sarcasm in his March - Like Lions 5 страница voice and I tried to find the source. As I drove to Mikey's and he gave haphazard directions (he was even worse in a car than when he was walking; we nearly got lost a few times), he told me little bits and pieces that he had gathered about Alexa, and I began to form a strange image of this woman in my mind.
Alexa was a spiritual advisor. This was her job title. Gerard didn't know how anyone could do this as a profession, but hey, there it was. "Proof that anything can happen in life!" he March - Like Lions 5 страница quipped. She dealt mostly with occult symbols, like Tarot cards, astrology, and numerology, but she also did motivational speaking and general, non-descript and somewhat secular life-coaching. She was big on herbal teas (which she would then read the leaves of) and herbal remedies for curing illness, focusing more on prevention than anything else. I liked that part and saw nothing out of sorts with it, especially given my experience as of late and with Jasmine's rhetoric still in my head. I didn't go to the doctors because I was sick; I went because I was preventing March - Like Lions 5 страница being sick. I understood that, even if the other stuff sort of was a bit over my head. I began to picture this woman as a major hippy and typical free spirit from the 1970s. But she wasn't a relic and neither was her profession, apparently. She was living and breathing proof that people actually spent money on this and a fair amount of it. I was sure that Gerard was more upset with the customers for buying into this, than he was with Alexa for providing the service. At least what she was doing was a creative March - Like Lions 5 страница act, to a certain degree. If it was all 'real' science, then she had plotted and studied for hours and deserved to be rewarded for this. But if it was 'fake' and completely illusory, then she still deserved something for it because she managed to do it convincingly. All art, he was telling me, is a series of lies in one way or another. Art is never what it says it is literally, and it never portrays things as they are.
"Just like that poem by Wallace Stevens. Things are never as they are, even when we think March - Like Lions 5 страница something is one way, it then changes as quick. In a blink, and nothing is literal anymore....I'm not quite explaining myself properly," he said, putting his face in his hands and growing a bit discouraged.
"No, I get it. You are. Ceci n'est pas une pipe, remember? This is not a pipe. It's just like that. It may not be the actual thing, but the painting is real and how it got there, the emotion, is real."
He nodded and then he seemed to feel a bit better about the discussion. He was acting a little more March - Like Lions 5 страница reserved today, and I couldn't quite tell why. Part of me worried that he was nervous about the off-handed remarks we had made about our own kids and having more than one, or maybe, he was worried about something that Alexa would say or do. Then again, our sleep schedule was completely eradicated and switched so much that it could make anyone irritable. We had been up that night, gone to bed for only a few hours when I got back from work, and were now awake in the afternoon to visit Mikey. It March - Like Lions 5 страница was enough to drain anyone, especially Gerard. We probably made perfect sense to ourselves, but it became hard to convey our meaning to one another.
Alexa's spiritual advisement came in the form of an online business. Out of all of us, the relic who embodied a lot of the 1970s attributes was actually one of the pioneers of the new technology. Other than Vivian and Jasmine, who used the internet and computers for their job requirement, Alexa thrived on it. Since they did have five kids and she was never really trained in anything formally, she spent a lot of time March - Like Lions 5 страница at home. Mikey had a good job and they could afford to do this, even now, even with five kids. But Alexa despaired at the happy-housewife routine and read books through most of her pregnancies and her life. Gerard said that all the memories he had of Alexa, she had a book plastered to her face in some way. It had only been within the last few years that she had finally taken all her knowledge and put it to good use and opened up her internet business.
"And she makes money!" Gerard marveled again March - Like Lions 5 страница. "I still can't believe it. But then again, if people pay for my paintings, anything is possible."
The more he told me about Alexa, the better I felt about going over there. The fact that she apparently read "everything" made me link her to Jasmine. When I also remembered that she had lived there for some time as well, it began to make more sense. Jasmine with her vegan diet was probably utterly fascinating to Alexa, and Gerard mentioned that she was vegetarian now as well. Mikey still ate meat because he traveled a lot with his job and he could March - Like Lions 5 страница never guarantee anything, but for the most part, he cooked vegetarian meals for Alexa and all of the kids.
When we pulled up into the driveway, Mikey came out from the garage. It was the first time I had seen him outside of his work attire. He was no longer wearing fancy collared shirts; in fact, he had no collar at all. His white shirt was still tucked into his jeans, however, and this somehow made his informal weekend clothing suddenly become better than what I was wearing. He waved his hand as he saw us March - Like Lions 5 страница approach and greeted us with hugs. His body was so warm in spite of the cold temperatures coupled with not wearing a jacket. It was the middle of March and the weather still flirted with us. There were times when it would suddenly be absolutely the warmest day I had ever remembered, and then it would disappear just as quickly the next and it would feel like we blinked summer and fall away and were back at winter. Today was one of those winter days and all the thaw from the day before was frozen solid. Mikey had been out salting his March - Like Lions 5 страница driveway and the backyard where the kids played when he heard us pull up.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, Mikey told us he was going to take care of a few household things outside before coming back in to be sketched. "I'm excited, though, Gerard, so don't think I'm avoiding. Just head in, Alexa is already there and has probably made tea." He turned his attention towards me and patted me on the back as we began to walk. "I'm glad you came, Frank. Alexa is very excited to meet you."
It seemed like March - Like Lions 5 страница such a strange comment, and as Gerard and I walked up the twisted-stone path (which had thankfully already been salted), Gerard sighed and then leaned over to me. He whispered in my ear just before we stepped foot in the door: "I'm sorry. That was another thing I should have told you. Alexa thinks we're going to save the world."
He was not kidding. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed anything different in the way that Alexa stared at us if he had not said anything, but there was a definite sense of veneration exuding from March - Like Lions 5 страница her. She opened the door before we even knocked and then hugged us - including me - before we had even considered taking our shoes off. Her voice was strong and determined; I had been suspecting airy and light from the description Gerard had given me and given the topics she was interested in. She proclaimed lucidly that it was wonderful to see us both and even better to finally meet me. After the hug, she clasped my hands and stared into my eyes and said, "Frank. What a wonderful name. Do you know the origins?"
I shook my head. Her March - Like Lions 5 страница grasp on me was not strong, but it was a little bit overwhelming. "Um, no, I never really considered my name before."
"You should! Names are very important. I think the importance of names is the one thing that Gerard and I agree on. They have a legacy just like you will have a legacy," she smiled and gave a small glance to Gerard, who pretended to be annoyed, before looking back at me. "Frank. Aramaic. It means double or twin. There is another part of you, wandering around somewhere. I hope you find them."
I nodded slowly and then March - Like Lions 5 страница she let go of my hand. She began to usher us into the kitchen, stating that she had a kettle ready to boil and we could pick the kind of tea we wanted. They were all in mason jars lining the bottom shelf of her cupboard. "I know all of them by smell and I tend to have my clients pick them out that way. But if you absolutely must know what you're getting yourself into, I can help out."
Gerard went over to the cupboard right away and slowly stuck his nose inside. He began to March - Like Lions 5 страница smell, and humored Alexa, I assumed. Her name reference had gotten me curious, and as I continued to watch the artist pick our tea, I asked, "What does Gerard mean?"
She laughed and then answered: "Big brave bear. If you ask me, it has never really fit Gerard. I don't see him as a bear. Especially not now after he has lost so much weight."
Gerard rolled his eyes as he unscrewed one of the jars. I could tell he wasn't putting much stock into any of this, but it did make me curious. I March - Like Lions 5 страница could see why people were buying it, for sure, even if I knew that there was no way that names history could be that important. I was my own person, and that name had been chosen by other people. I didn't really have any strong connection to Frank at all. I thought about it for a little more, and then it occurred to me: maybe I didn't like my name because I hadn't found my twin self yet.
Damn, I thought. She was good. She was convincing and she made you wantto believe her. I wanted to March - Like Lions 5 страница believe I had a twin out there, and that there would be a legacy behind me. Didn't everyone want a legacy? She was just telling the majority of people what they wanted to hear, but she managed to do it in a way that made them feel unique and special. Even Gerard, as he finally found the tea he wanted, had fallen for it a little bit. He let his senses guide him, and even though he probably would have argued that he always did that, Alexa made him feeling special for letting that happen. She took March - Like Lions 5 страница the tea from him with a large smile and got the pot ready. I decided to keep an open mind when I was here. She was already not what I had expected at all. Maybe things would change, but if not, I got to see a great artist - a different kind of artist - at work.
She even looked different than I had expected of her, though I couldn't really articulate what that was. Like the high and airy voice I expected her to have, I expected her movements and dress to be similar. But she was as solid and March - Like Lions 5 страница strong as her speech, especially as she moved around her kitchen. I had supposed she would be a hybrid of all these occult and folk elements that had been bastardized on television and this would inform her fashion choices. I expected her in bell bottoms or a large dangly skirt, with braids in her hair and a large peasant shirt. I expected her with a witch's hat and carrying a broom or just dressed as a high powered evangelist. But no: she was dressed like any other mom with five kids, except with a younger sprit. She was March - Like Lions 5 страница wearing dark purple sweat pants that actually looked niceand not like clothes you just wore around the house on Saturday. She was barefoot, but her toes looked manicured. She had on a plain navy blue shirt that said something about a local sports team and was probably something, Isaac, the oldest, had lost his use for. She had long dark hair but no braids were present. She just looked like a normal mom; wearing sweats and some of her kids clothing. She was small - about my height - but her loud and determined voice took up the room. No March - Like Lions 5 страница black cats or brooms or bibles followed her.
Their house as well was something I was not expecting. Mikey was so orderly and proper when it came to his business, I expected his house to be the same way. And it was, but only in some areas. The front hall closet that contained our coats was neat and meticulous. All of the shoes were lined up from smallest to largest and people's names were right above them. The hallway was clean and the kitchen was too, but as soon as we stepped inside of it, Alexa's whole presence March - Like Lions 5 страница overwhelmed us. As soon as she had opened up any of the cupboards, especially the one with tea, we were besieged by sheer option. That was the best way to put it. Although the house was orderly and neat, labeled and precise, it nearly had to be because there was just so much crammed inside this two story house with a basement and back yard.
"This is a fine choice, Gerard," Alexa complimented on the tea. "It's been interesting watching you pick them. I know you don't want to know the properties of your tea, but I March - Like Lions 5 страница do find it interesting that even guided by smell, you pick something different each and every time. Most people use smell for comfort, picking the same. I would say you probably have a lot on your mind now."
I looked at Gerard, wondering how he would take that. He did seem to have a lot on his mind lately, but I had written it off. "We all have a lot on our minds. I'd be worried if we didn't," I said, jumping in when the silence became too long. Alexa nodded quickly, and then, being able to March - Like Lions 5 страница read her own interpretations, moved on just as fast.
"Would you like to smell, Frank?" she asked, and I made my way over. As the scent reached me, the tension in the room went out. There were tiny gold balls in the loose tea, and it smelt of almonds and orange peel. She told me her children called it the Christmas tea as she poured out our drinks. Their kitchen had a large breakfast nook and as Alexa positioned herself on one side, we took up the other. The living room was next to us and spanned around the corner. I March - Like Lions 5 страница took a quick peak in there and noticed the toy boxes, but no toys on the ground. They were labelled too. I wanted to go over and look inside, to see if I would see the same neon awash that Jasmine and I had seen at the one house we looked at. I wanted to go through their entire house, actually, and see how they kept things running smoothly. I knew that Jasmine and I would not mirror Mikey and Alexa, but it was helpful to see images of healthy couples with kids.