To Artina

“Life is like a movie. When the end comes for someone that we love, we dare not sully their legacy by dwelling on their conclusion. For it was known that it would come someday, as it will for us all. Instead we rest our thoughts on their beginning and middle. That is where their story is told.”- Stephen R. Freshley

It was her senior year at SCAD, a prestigious art and design college, and life had not been kind to Lucy at all. Lucy’s current worry was her senior project. She had no ideas. She paced her modest apartment in hopes of drumming up something good, something life changing, something that would leave a lasting impression and guarantee her graduation.  Like all artist, she shared the burden of being misunderstood. But there, at SCAD, everyone was an artist. It was an accepted part of the culture. She wandered into her kitchen and stared aimlessly into her fridge trying her best to deny the beckoning of the quarter filled light amber bottle of intoxicant. She was no match. She flopped down on her couch and stared at the bookshelf filled with shiny awards from film contest past. They were of no consequence. None of them represented who she truly was. None of them meant anything to her. As she sat, drinking and thinking, thinking and drinking, reflections of the sunlight beam from her numerous awards shined in her eyes causing her to squint and turn…

Hey Tina…Artina!

The young lady in the hall way slowed her pace and turned. Her pleated knee high skirt blossomed as she made the half revolution.

Where are you headed to?

Oh I was just about to grab some lunch before my next class. What’s up?

I was wondering if you wanted to be my partner for the upcoming assignment. I have a few ideas but I need help. I really liked working with you last year in the color print making class.

Sure…just call me.

Will do.

Lucy stood to retrieve the bottle from the fridge again. Her house slippers on the bare wooden floor sounded like the slow chugging of a train starting its journey. It immediately reminded her of her project she was trying so desperately to forget.

Well that sounds good…but I want to do something in black and white.

Black and white? For a color print?

Hear me out. We will shoot in black and white, then go back and colorize you.

Hmmm…that is hard.

I know, but the added degree of difficulty will make it better I promise. Just trust me.

Okay…I guess.

 The phone rang. Lucy was not up for conversation but she answered anyway. It was her mother calling to give her yet another preaching on sin and sexuality. She placed the phone down on the glass end table but could still hear her mother ranting on. “Lucy…Lucy! Say something. Can you hear me? Can you…

…hear me?

Yes I heard you.

Lucy was reluctant to take her top off in the middle of the field. The train yard men hadn’t paid them any attention until now. Although several hundred feet away, it was hard to mistake dark bare skin amidst a sea of golden daffodils. The slow chugging of the train seemed to match her heart beat. Speeding up and away with the loosening of each button.

Bra too…

What? I don’t know about that…

C’mon those horny men over there have seen tits before Lucy. They will look but it’s nothing. Hold on, I will do it too.

Artina stepped to the side of the camera and pulled her T-shirt over her head in one swoop. Her breast were already exposed as Artina mockingly stood in her best super woman pose, shoulders out and chest forward. Lucy laughed and continued to remove her undergarments. She unbunned her hair and her shoulder length locs fell across her back. The warm breeze excited her and her nipples became erect. Artina stepped back behind the camera with a smile. *Chacannnt* *Chacannnt* Chacannt*

Lucy relaxed. She was now laid on her stomach, picking daffodils and swinging her legs. She rolled over to her back as Artina came closer with the camera.  *Chacannnt* Chacannt* Artina stood over her. *Chacannnt* Chacannt* Lucy giggled as she brushed a picked daffodil under her breast. *Chacannnt* *Chacannt*…*Chacannnt* Chacannt*. Now straddling her, Artina moved steadily closer to her face. She stopped within inches from her nose. Artina’s breast lay on top of hers.  She pulled the camera to the side and stared at Lucy face to face.  Their gazes lingered momentarily.

I think we got what we need…

Artina stood up and extended her hand to help Lucy stand. Artina walked back towards her tri-pod without a word, head down reviewing the shots in the viewfinder on the back of the camera.

The blaring sound of the un-hooked phone awoke Lucy from her daze. Her mother had hung up. She picked up the receiver and placed it back on its base. She sighed still unable to shake her worries. She tipped the bottle up once again only to receive a few drops into her glass. She shuffled across the living room of her small apartment to flop down in her bed. Artina’s perfume filled the air and as the sheets resettled under her body. Lucy had loved the faint vanilla scent that until present. Now it only reminded her of the ugly the break up.

No, click right there.

Artina reached over Lucy’s shoulder as they stared at the computer screen. Her loose breast held tight by her midriff shirt only pressed against Lucy’s back as she pointed. Lucy thought to react but didn’t as she followed the direction.  When retracting her arm Artina knocked over a glass of wine that had been sitting too close to the mouse.

Ah shoot. I’m sorry. I’ll get it up.

It’s okay. It’s white wine. It’ll come out.

I know but you just got this place. I don’t want to mess it up already.

Yea know. There’s some carpet cleaner under the bathroom sink.

Okay…

Lucy continued colorizing the photo as Artina retrieved the supplies needed to clean the spot.  She returned and began scrubbing the carpet on her hands and knees. She bumped her head as she started to stand which caused the other glass to spill onto the desk. The pair laughed.

You are so clumsy today.

No, I think I am just sleepy.

We are so close to finishing though…

Yea I know. But we still have two days until it’s due. We can continue tomorrow.

Cool. Well you can sleep over if you like. I know you really don’t feel like driving all the way back home at this time of night.

Yea, sure.

Lucy went into her bathroom. She showered and placed on her night clothes, a plain long white T-shirt. She opened her bathroom door to see Artina’s head resting comfortably on her side of the bed. She stared confused at the scene but shrugged it off. She walked around to the other side and lifted the comforter to get in. Her eyes met with Artina’s backside. Her red shirt matched her boy cut lacy underwear. Artina’s inside-of-an-almond skin contrasted drastically with her apple red bottoms. She shifted momentarily to get into her sleeping position. The queen sized bed left more than enough space in between the two for them to get comfortable. Resting on her side, Lucy stared at the wall taking the day in. She reached out and tapped the top of her radio. The crashing wave sleep noise echoed softly through the room and she closed her eyes, confused yet comfortable.

Lucy awakened to the sun shining through the open shades. She sat up and swung her legs to the side of the bed. She looked over her shoulder to what used to be her side of the bed and just stared. Her head fell into her hands as she began to sob. It was all confusing. No one understood her. Even though she’d won many awards for her short films, and was being vetted heavily by several film studios, there was a hole in her. Something was missing. Her final filmography project was now 6 days away. She had all but given up. She picked up her cell phone to see if there were any missed calls. There were none. It had been two weeks now since she last spoke to Artina. She threw on some clothes and gathered her things to leave, suddenly inspired.  She walked across campus to the library. At the front desk she traded her student I.D. for a study room. Once there she set up her tripod and tinkered with her camera’s settings. She angled a long table in the room to sit catty corner to a single chair. She stepped behind the camera to make sure that both the chair and the table were in the camera’s view. She placed a sign on the glass door of the study room that read “6 males needed to complete filmography final. $5 for 30 minutes of your time and thoughts”. After an hour 6 males were seated facing the camera chatting. Lucy stood in front of them to get their attention and explain herself.

I’m going to ask you a few questions. Just answer them honestly as you please. I will be doing my own thing next to you. Just keep going. I am making a stop motion film. The camera is set up to take a picture every other second. Any questions?

The six males shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads no.

Alright let’s begin.

Lucy walked behind the camera and turned it on. The shutter began to flicker. *Chacannt*…*Chacannnt*…*Chacannt*…*Chacannnt* Lucy began her line of questioning.

What does love mean to you?

The male seated closets to her shot up in his seat ready to answer. His legs spread as he adjusted himself back into resting position and the pinky toe of his sandaled foot touched Lucy’s also sandaled toe. “I think my favorite poem describes it best…”

I’m sorry did I wake you?

No…I can’t sleep.

Me either.

Lucy’s long legs had caused her foot to brush up against Artina’s leg in her unrest.

So what does your name mean?

Artina comes from my dad’s favorite poem “To Artina” by Langston Hughes. He read it to my mom the night of their honey moon. I am told I was conceived aggressively”.

Lucy laughed at the thought of her parents telling the story of how she was conceived.

Do you know the poem?

Sure…it goes to Artina. I will take you heart. I will take your soul out of your body as though I were God. I will not be satisfied with the touch of your hand nor the sweet of your lips alone…

Lucy and Artina were facing each other on their sides. Lucy felt her nipples harden as Artina recited the poem to her. Artina’s faint vanilla perfume filled her nose. She felt her leg slowly fall from on top of the other as her pelvis region was now lubricated. She stared deep into Artina’s eyes completely unaware that their faces were inching closer to one another.

…I will take your heart for mine. I will take your soul. I will be God when it comes to you.

Artina closed her eyes and closed the space between their lips. Lucy jumped back after several seconds of kissing.

I’m sorry…I didn’t mean ta… I mean I was…

It’s okay.

Oh…well. I liked it. But I’ve never…

Me neither.

They sat staring at each other momentarily in silence as the crashing waves sleep noise continued. Artina propped her head up on her arm and smiled. Lucy did not move a muscle. She just stared at Artina waiting for her to say something. Artina turned her back to her as she readjusted her pillow.

Good night…

Lucy did not respond. Artina scooted her body back until it was resting against Lucy’s front. Lucy slowly wrapped her arms around her and closed her eyes.

*Chacannt*…*Chacannnt*…*Chacannt*…*Chacannnt* the males were debating amongst each other the meaning of love, almost unaware of Lucy’s presence now. She picked her phone up off the table and checked for text and missed calls. Again there were none. She sat back in her chair and reached between her legs up under her buttocks to retrieve a knife she’d hidden. She reached high her arms as high up as possible holding the knife in both hands and plunged it into her chest.

Ohhh Shit man!!!

Did she just stab herself???

What the fuck?

Hey go get help.

The male seated closets to the door ran a yelled out into the hallway screaming for assistance. Lucy slumped over in her chair blooding gushing from the wound. The camera continued *Chacannt*…*Chacannnt*…*Chacannt*…*Chacannnt*

The male seated closets to her jumped back knocking his chair into the wall behind him. The poster that had been taped to the wall behind Lucy fell.  The male picked up and read it confused… “To Artina?”

toartina

 

© Stephen R. Freshley and wordbending, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen R. Freshley and Word Bending a secret but not so secret blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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