The Art of..
We set up a tripod facing the edge of the bed with no footboard. There was a conversation prior to this, and some tumblers with a splash of whiskey. Your hair was in the stages of growing out from its short crop and always stuck to your neck in the humidity of the small apartment. You grab some bobby pins and tuck pieces of blonde strands toward the base of your skull so that whisps hang down and touch just the right peripheries of your face. You wear a man’s white undershirt and nothing else. You are olive skinned and dotted with freckles as if you got in the way of a paintbrush working a canvas.
“I though of you the other day, looking through your photographs,” he said, faceless over a phone line, a soothing voice like aloe on burnt skin. You smile and look at your feet, a reflex even though you are alone. You push the button for speakerphone and set it on the dresser.
“Come over. I want to recreate the photograph I told you about recently.” You say this to your reflection, pinching your cheeks, biting your bottom lip, swiping lip balm over them. You have no makeup on, the muted violet circles a bit more apparent near the slop of your nose. You are indifferent because it’s him.
We sip whiskey over melted ice and you touch the damp glass to your forehead.
“I don’t think I have a slip.” He runs a thumb a crossed her bare knee.
“I think the t-shirt will be fine. Think of it as a modern take on the necessities of touching.” You look at him fully clothed with sweat near his hairline, resembling the tumblers left abandon on the coffee table. You nudge him with your bare foot, nail polish chipped on a few toes.
“Not fair. I’m the only one with minimal clothing. This has to be a joint interpretation.” You turn the laptop on the floor toward him, click and swipe the mouse a few times until the photo takes up the whole screen. “See, his legs are as bare as hers.” You tap the screen with your pinky and he shrugs and pulls his t-shirt over his head, leaving his hair sticking up in tufts. You do not move from your position on the floor to fix him. He pushes himself into a standing position, unbuckles his belt, unzipps and unbuttons his pants and lets them fall to the wood floor. You looks up at him.
“That’s more like it.”