On a grey Monday morning, Bryan stood in the studio doorway transfixed in a stare of uncertainty. He was leaning against the doorframe critiquing his drawing; at the same time watching Wanda glide around their figure drawing class. He wanted to talk to her, but whenever the opportunity came he froze like a possum playing dead near a predator. Wanda was not a predator, but a goal Bryan had yet to achieve.
Today, as he stared at the wrinkled skin of their model, he caught glimpses of her cola bottle contour staring up from her page. She was mysterious, beautiful and cool which was a magnet for suitors, though she never obliged. Apparently, there was a long-distance boyfriend. However, as he drew her into the background of today’s assignment, the light caught a sparkle on her ring finger. Bryan reckoned that boyfriend was now a fiancé.
She stopped at his drawing and stared down. The corners of her lips slid high on her face and as they did Bryan felt blood rush from his brain.
Wanda turned her head toward him, flicking her long brown hair around as she did.
“You have a wonderful eye. The proportion is...” Her words trailed off as her hazel eyes jerked down to Bryan’s pants and let out a short burst of laughter. She quickly put her hand over her mouth.
“What’s so funny?” Bryan asked.
“Your fly is open, genius!” one of his male classmates said in his ear as he walked passed. Bryan looked down to his open fly which had a white protrusion sticking out of it.
“I….” he said grabbing his crotch, turning quickly to zip his pants. He turned back to see she had moved on to look at another drawing.
Knowing break was almost over. Bryan reluctantly went back to his seat.
“She complimented me and look what happened. Just my luck.”
Everyone thought Bryan was weirder than the average student at art school. He was quiet, usually kept to himself and spoke to people when they spoke to him. Bryan could count his friends on two fingers. One of which was not human.
Now, Wanda would probably never speak to him again.
When class let out, however, he was surprised. She smiled and said goodbye.
For the next few days Wanda cordially spoke to Bryan more than she ever did. He was ecstatic and even gained the courage to ask for her number. He was floating on cloud nine when she gave it to him.
On Thursday, she came up to him and asked, “Hey Bryan, are you finished with your mid-term project? Want to hang out and grab a drink?”
“Sorry, I’m not finished.”
“Want to work on it at my place?”
“Well, it’s really big. Been working on it in the studio building and can’t move it. But go have fun without me, I’m gonna be up late. We can hang out tomorrow?”
She was looking down at her shuffling feet, then peculiarly looked up and smiled.
“Ok. Well I will see you tomorrow then.” She grabbed his hand, squeezed it, turned and walked away.
Bryan stood there staring after her. She was odd these last few days, but he liked it.
“She was actually hanging out with me tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow” was all he could think about while he worked. The cold, fluorescently lit room suddenly felt like a warm, pleasant dream. Finishing earlier than expected, he quickly packed his things and headed out the building.
When he walked out there was a small hooded figure, sitting on the stairs. Bryan joyfully brushed by with his supply bin in one hand and drawing pad in another. He shifted the pad to the other arm, not realizing the bin latch was loose. Supplies fell everywhere.
Just as he was bending to pick them up, a car came around the corner fast, swerved over the double yellow lines and back over to the curb exactly where Bryan was standing.
He was like a deer in headlights. The car's light brushed by him as he was pushed aside. Just missing him, the car swerved back into the street and drove on without stopping.
Bryan looked up in the direction of the car, then down to the dark figure that broke his landing. Sitting above the person’s red pouty lips nested a black costume mask. Dark brown hair peeked out the hood. There was something familiar about this person. He lifted his arm to grab the mask off the person’s face, but before he could the figure disappeared from under him and he was left lying on the ground. He frantically rubbed the concrete.
“Am I going crazy?!”
He stood and the only thing in the figure’s place was a large white envelope folded three times. He picked it up and opened it.
The first page read: Wanda will come to the the artist sale. Offer the drawing she picks up to her for free. Follow the suggestions on the list. Your life will be successful if you do.
Second page was a list of dates with names of people he would meet, the places, and time. The last page was a large folded drawing, which revealed the model from Monday morning. Sitting in the background staring back at the artist was Bryan.
“Wanda was sitting…” he said to himself. He gathered his supplies, rushed to his room and dialed Wanda’s number. Her roommate picked up.
“I’m sorry; she’s been out of town all week. Who did you say you were again?” she said kind of rudely.
“Never mind, I’ll see her tomorrow.”
Bryan’s “tomorrow”, however, did not come. He went to his Monday class and tried talking to her, but she looked at him like he had three heads.
“Was that really Wanda? She’s not wearing a ring…”
Disappointed, yet hopeful he decided to follow the life list. And with the two drawings of him and Wanda staring back at each other, he will remain optimistic about… tomorrow.
I am a visual artist that is evolving into 'painting with words'.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Death in a Dream'