When I casually suggested The Man took up life drawing classes, naïve though it sounds, I had no idea that I was going to be his model.
After all, at the time we had not had sex or been alone together for months. I had an eight-month-old baby so had been pretty tied up with that and felt my body was far from ship-shape (although I did feel rather ship-sized).
I had seriously seen a list of courses at a local community centre and life drawing was one of them and as well as his more obvious talents, I knew The Man was skilled in other arts. So, (sadly) having reached the point where I assumed I was no longer a pot where he wanted to dip his brush there wasn’t even a hint of duplicity in my suggestion.
I only suspected my fortunes were changing when he seemed extra interested in ‘doing life drawing’ with me. Even then I wasn’t sure whether someone else was modelling for us and gingerly went to his house armed with charcoal and paper…
The Man threw his clothes off and lay on an old mattress with the plan that we took turns in doing ten-minute sketches of one another. Still reluctant to unveil my post-pregnant body, I insisted he went first and hoped the ten minutes would somehow overrun and the stopwatch would fail to go off.
No such luck. He coaxed me to strip and I slowly peeled off my clothes, feeling like the closer I got to nakedness the more repulsed he would be. Nervous, rambling, stuttering and trying to make jokes about my appearance, I let him move me to the mattress where he wanted me to stand, leaning slightly to one side, with my hand out against the wall. I watched his eyes looking me up and down, taking in every line and curve, without a flicker of repulsion or desire.
We did a couple more sketches, our fingers blackened by charcoal, not showing one another our pictures until the end. But when I saw his, I was amazed, not just at his skilful work, but at the curvaceous, round-bosomed Botticelli-style goddess who graced the page. The Man isn’t excessive with flattery or compliments, so I knew this was how he must have seen me, even if I couldn’t get beyond the cellulite, saggy belly and slightly misshapen breasts.
And as we sat on the mattress, still naked, making our way through a bottle of red, he leaned in to kiss me for the first time in months. We slowly fell backwards as he turned his focus to my breasts and his hands moved downwards. As our movements became more frantic, and our kisses more urgent, his penis made its way inside me and felt as good as it had the many months before, back where it belonged, back home again. He came quicker than usual and we held each other, inhaling the natural smell and warmth of our bodies.