English Major Model

At 16 Main Street, above Russell’s Liquors, on the second floor towards the back, there is an art studio where your typical middle-aged Amherst woman comes each Tuesday evening for a drawing class. The ginger tea brews as she rolls up her Lands End sleeves, fiddling with the charcoal pencil set her kids gave her for the holidays. She ties an apron around her back like a smock while speaking softly with four other neighborly women, including the teacher who is dressed like Park Slope, Brooklyn.

"It’s my birthday today so I brought in some banana cake, sliced," one of them extends, the napkins sweetly passing.  

At 5:25 p.m., the English Major Model blows in from the cold, says hello, and grabs the stool by the window, bringing it to the middle. Two heaters warm his knees as he thinks up authentic poses for these women’s pupils to flicker up and down at. Thirty seconds for this one, and thirty seconds for that one. And this one. That one. This one, mistakenly repeated. Twenty minutes in a position he has to fool himself into believing he can do in real life. When he is not on display. 

The 75-minute pose.

He sits there, thinking of everything he will forget to think about during a day. Shadows paint his body like zaps of sun on a cherry wood and floor boards squeak as Park Slope makes her way around the studio, telling each woman little secrets about English Major Model’s form. Measuring him with their short pencils in the air.

Now change, he hears.