The Art and Design School was a sprawling maze of studio rooms and long corridors filled with sculptures, paintings, design projects, and the strong smell of kneadable eraser. Finding my Drawing I class took some effort but I eventually rounded the corner and walked into the room. It was full of benches, drawing benches I later learned, that were scattered around the room in no particular order. The other students were sitting or standing and facing a short man with long white hair, combed straight back. He was wearing biker boots, blue jeans, a blue shirt and a leather vest. “This guy is either our instructor” I thought, “or he’s going to flip us the bird and take off on a road trip.” He waited a bit, welcomed us to class and then started telling us what supplies we would need and where to get them. “Ah, he’s the instructor.”
After five minutes of listening and wondering how I was going to afford all this equipment the room brightened and she walked in, sunshine in a six foot tall body. She was dressed in a red and white checkered shirt with a white turtle neck underneath, blue jeans and brown ankle boots. Her hair was blond, very blond, platinum blond, and the lines of white mixed with yellow ran straight to the middle of her back with bangs that were cut short and curled under right at the brow. She had fair skin and and lots of freckles. The freckles were light, almost sepia in color and they looked as if someone had taken a fine bristled brush and flicked pale brown paint across the bridge of her nose. Her blond eyebrows were a sketchy yellow and sat above two calm blue eyes that stood out on that canvas of beautiful shapes. She was a picture and she was stunning.
She walked from the door and made her way to an empty bench about ten feet from mine. Her walk was high and straight and it made her seem taller than her height. She had a presence and I’m confident I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
She got to the drawing bench and straddled it and all I could think was “Meeeooooww…” If there was any doubt about that girl in the two and a half seconds it took her to walk across the room, they were gone now. Everyone else faded into the background and I focused on her. When I say focused, I don’t mean in the creepy stare way. I know that scoping a girl is a work of art. You want them to know that you’re checking them out without boring holes into the sides of their heads. I was a master at scoping. I would play the game for a bit and when I was about to get caught, I would shift my gaze about five degrees and pretend that that particularly green blade of grass, or distant building, or park bench was fascinating. With this one, I was a little out of my element and so I think I would have been dead if she would have turned to look. She didn’t.
Our instructor finished his semester preamble and she got up, turned toward the door and walked out without a glance in my direction. I resolved to get to know her better. And that was not going to be easy.
Let me give you a physical description of me at the time: 6′-5″ and 165lbs. Skinny. Long red, curly hair on the top of my head and short red hair on the sides (it was the age of Psychedelic Furs). Pale skin and dark brown freckles in a lot of places. I buttoned all of my shirts up to the collar and tightly rolled the cuffs of my jeans. I also wore Chuck Taylor high tops. They were ripped at the soles and I used duct tape to hold them together. I was a piece of work…or a piece of something. In other words, I didn’t have a lot going for me in the “hey hot chick, want to talk to me?” department. However, I do have wits and I planned my “approach” carefully.
My plan was to come to our next class a couple of minutes after class started and sit next to her. But not too late lest all of the chairs next to her be occupied by other potential suitors. I could then strike up a conversation with her, show her that I was completely charming and sweep her off her feet.
But, what I didn’t count on were two things: I was on time and she was late. I got there right when class started, looked around the room, saw two or three people getting their boards set up and picked a bench with open benches on both sides. People filed in, took up the empty seats (including the ones next to me) and she straggled in ten minutes later and sat on the other side of the room. My plan was failing right out of the gate. The only up-side was that we all sat in a circle with the focus of our drawing in the middle, so I had plenty of opportunity to observe. The downside was that another guy was sitting next to her and they were having a lively, fun conversation. Dang it.
Drawing I was a three hour class. We would draw for an hour, take a ten minute break, draw for another hour, ten minute break and then draw until class was done. During the drawing times, there was a lot of time to ponder a new strategy. At the breaks, most of the class would file out and smoke in the stairwell, the lobby, and outside the main entry. A lot of artsy people smoke. She, however, did not smoke and after getting a snack from the concession stand, she would end up back in our room to wait out the remainder of the break and sit and talk with “Baron Lively Von Conversation.” I figured that I still needed an “in” and by the time class four rolled around, I had made the necessary hops and moves and found myself sitting next to her. So it was me, her, and him. He had a two class head start on me and currently had her undivided attention.
I was going to have to find a way to break into the conversation.
[to be continued]