She reached for the glass of wine balanced precariously on a tall stack of books that was standing in for a coffee table. She had very little in the small apartment, but the books spilled from boxes and bags and infused a sense of purpose and prescience to the atmosphere. Soft sounds of her limbs sliding against each other and the pencil’s musical whispers created a quiet symphony of “shhhhhh.” Her hand, wrapped around the yellow wood, transferred secrets from her head onto the pillow of the paper.
One painting sat propped against the bare wall in front of her – six free-standing, ivory candles burning beside it.
Periodically, she glanced upward and rested her eyes on the colors in the frame. She’d cock her head to one side, hold it up with her left hand, and sip from the glass, letting the wine pool in the center of her tongue. She’d leave it there, until it warmed, and then swallow. savoring the bitter sweetness as it seeped down her throat, heating her stomach…reminding her she was still alive.
She’d suck in her lip, bit down just hard enough, and squint a bit, her brow furrowed. Looking up, and to the right, her thoughts would center. And, again, she’d write what came first to her mind, as if avoiding thought would somehow purify the ideas.
What spilled onto the paper was truth. And truth would later have to be revised. Modified. Tempered. Cut. Pasted. Perfected.
What left this room would be crafted.
But what happened now? This was the seduction of the muse…that temperamental temptress who came and went as she pleased and often had to be appeased. Her current alter consisted of a plain wood floor, two giant picture windows, and an abandoned life.
The muse was hungry. And she took what she wanted, being god and devil both.
And she damned.
But she would not be refused.
And so the woman in the chair, in the nearly empty room, sat cross-legged in a plush armchair, hoping that her offerings would be enough. She had left everything behind for this emptiness, praying for the muse to return.
She looked down at her own nakedness, her skin glowing as the shadows danced lazily across her breasts, her belly, her thighs. She offered nothing less than herself.
Facing the muse, she prayed. Her pencil halted, started, stopped…and waited….
So much was possible.
Looking back at the painting, she asked the muse to grant her the blessing of a few words.