This week she's painting me.
She takes this very seriously, so we're not bantering as we often do. Her eyes flick back and forth between me and the canvas. For my part, I just sit still. Which is difficult, and I'm unreasonably tired when I go home.
Tomorrow is the same. The only words that pass between us are her curt instructions - "lift your chin", "look to the right". And I'm even more exhausted when I leave.
If this wasn't so obviously important to her, I'd blow it off. But she's my friend, so I keep coming back.
"Ondine... I think I'm sick."
A quick glance from her. "No, you're fine."
"I really don't feel well." And I was starting to feel worse. Vague and muddleheaded.
She dabbed a last few strokes on the canvas and turned it around. "See? It's you!"
It was a remarkable likeness. Not just of my face and my body, but truly of me, my mind, my personality.
She smiled. "See? You're just fine. You're right here."
I was too ill to respond. All I could do was watch her as she set my picture on her desk to dry. "Hi, Doug," she said to it, with a secret smile.
And she looked at me. "Bye, Doug."
Current total: still $1,406.
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Want to hit $1,500. Please. Please. I know my writing sucks at this point, but still...
Two hours. Two hours.