Stasya T. Canine

In Thoughts of You

Is this the end?

Do I want to start over--finally?

I raise the glass of wine to my lips and contemplate what was and what could be--if I tell him 'yes'.

'Do I love him?  Or am I trying to make sure that I have a future?'

* * *

"Corrine.  I won't try to tell you the risks you take every day, every time you invite someone new up here."

Nathan leaned over to lightly brush my lips with his.  I shivered at his reminder of how dangerous my work can be.

"Nathan.  You know what I am.  I never tried to be anything more, even to you."

"I know, Corrine.  Maybe that's why I'm admitting that I love you. You've never denied who and what you are.  Will you marry me?"

"Love?  Marry?"

"Yes."  He stood up and walked back to his easel.  "I'm an artist. I'd be a terrible one if I couldn't see the person that hides behind the poses.  I couldn't sell my work--of you--if I wasn't able to let others see just how special you are."

"I need to think."

He nodded and kept painting while I used my time to consider what he was offering.

Should I risk the comfortable life I now lived?  Oh, I know Nathan is more successful than most of the artists I pose for.  His commissions alone paid for this apartment.  He has to be much richer than the simple street artist he pretends to be.  His speech, his perceptions, his often barbed comments about collectors and fads have always told me that he spends time living a life I thought was far beyond my most ambitious dreams.

"Hold that smile!"

I froze while he captured it.

"Ah...  So you've decided to accept.  Take a look..."  He spun his easel so I could turn and see his latest painting.

"I did?"  I was confused.  I'd only been trying to decide if I wanted to ask for more time before I gave him an...  "That's me?!"

"Of course."  He walked over to the wall, took down the mirror and held it next to the painting so I could see myself.  "Smile that smile again."

I did.  "Oh."  We looked at each other with new understanding.  "How rich are you?"

"Does it matter?  All of the real riches in my life are right here, in front of me.  He pointed out the window.  My house, our home, is over there, in those hills."  He sweetened the deal.  "You could also work for artists who display more skill than those you usually deal with."

He smiled and held out a hand to help me out of the chair.  "So what do you think of my wedding gift?"

"I accept."

Stasya T. Canine January 17, 2003
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