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Hold On, Just So I met Suki in my life-drawing class, back when she’d already quit her job and had all that other shit happen, but still had both boobs. I figured she was working on improving herself — taking some classes, traveling, doing the things she’d always wanted to do when she retired. You really shouldn’t put those things off, that’s what I was always telling her. Because you never know. I wasn’t an artist myself at the time; I was working. You probably think you need to be pretty or skinny or hot to be a life-drawing model but that’s total bull. All you really need to do is keep still and hold it. Not everyone can do this. When I was first learning to model, someone told me: you don’t go to the art, you let the art come to you. I liked that. And that’s the hardest part: learning to hold yourself as you are, just so. Not that I’ve never had a problem keeping still. I once watched all three Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back with my boyfriend—Neal I think that was, or maybe Mark—and he had to keep getting up to stretch, saying his ass was numb, or his foot had fell asleep, but I was completely fine, no problemo. Suki wasn’t the best artist in the class, not by a mile. But she’d gotten her best drawings framed real nice and had them hanging in the hallway of her home like some kind of gallery, like some real artist had done them. There’s something about a frame that just makes art look more like art. People see some squiggly lines or blots of color all mounted and framed and they just think, well, that’s the real thing. That’s art. How much does that cost? I don’t think I’d really noticed Suki, drawing me, until the week she came up after class and went, “Hey, do you want to go for coffee?” I didn’t answer straight away because her smile was almost too wide, like her upper lip might split if it tried to close back over all those white teeth. Then she went. “C’mon, my treat.” We walked over to the Bean Scene, cold trying to shiver down FICTION | 15

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