So last year there was a model who I started to fancy. (This story doesn't end well just so you know.) I had painted and sculpted her at the academy 2 summers previously and we remembered each other. This was early on and I still didn’t know much Russian but I had been listening to language tapes and I knew how to say “why don’t you have dinner with me tonight?”. I found myself walking to school with her as we lived close to each other and she was very patient with my language - even buying a small dictionary for me after a couple of difficult conversations. So one morning I figured why not and I used my one Russian phrase, “She looked shocked” which I thought meant I had made a mistake but she told me she would love to and complimented my accent.
A few days later we met in the evening and she looked quite beautiful with makeup and a nice floral dress. She took me to a club and on the bus there I learned through the dictionary that she had been married but was divorced and she seemed very happy to be out. She kept using a word I couldn’t find in the dictionary that I later learned meant deserve. She felt that she deserved a night out on the town. I also learned that she had been a dancer during Soviet times but after Peraskroika like many people didn’t know how to find a job and was now modeling to help make ends meet. It was actually rather easy to understand her and it slowly dawned on me that her training was not just dancing but miming. She was a bit older than me I think and had very light blue eyes and high cheek bones with short blond hair that displayed the curve of her well formed skull which I had already spent countless hours trying to replicate in clay.
We got to the club and I tried talking over drinks. I told her I liked her blouse but mispronounced it. She laughed and blushed and showed me the word I had said which meant chest. I told her I liked that too. I asked if I could “write” on a scrap of paper she had but put the emphasis in the wrong place which changed my verb from “write” to “urinate” which she couldn’t stop repeating and giggling about. Having proven my willingness to humiliate myself in the name of communication we began dancing. Now the club was filled with people younger than both of us, scantily clad and drunk. They dance as they do everything, without subtlety. Halter tops are very high. There are a lot of bad mullets and overdone poorly coordinated dancemoves from an MTV video. I tried to focus on her. Her moves were well executed and practiced but somehow anything but sexy. She reminded me of an extra from a Eurythmics video but with a sense of humor she kept breaking into mini mime routines and then laughing. I laughed too but was beginning to be a little horrified. There was something very sad about her. Her eyes didn’t smile with her mouth, they remained languid and made her look ill at ease. I later asked her what she did when she wasn’t modeling and she said it was a secret, but I think she was a stripper. I began having nightmares about her as a marionette and decided I probably shouldn’t see her again but she kept SMSing me on the weekends and when I finally stopped replying she stopped showing up to class. Everyone was very angry with me because they hadn’t finished drawing/painting her and she just one day didn’t show up and never came back which I was blamed for – perhaps rightfully so.