La version française est en cours de traduction. Merci de votre patience.
But just when you think you got this one, you discover that life had another plan ….
As I’m still twenty feet away, I see him: he has been waiting impatiently for my return. No time to wait until I get closer, he stands up and starts gesticulating wildly for me to show him my sketchbook — what’s going on? how does he know? I’m baffled.
And it dawns on me: tourist = snitch! This is the tiniest national park in the whole wide world. Not on any map. Mostly empty of visitors. But of course ONE damn tourist has to be there when we are, watch me sketch and report back. Agh, how aggravating! Calmly I follow my plan: I sit. I pull my sketchbook. He is beaming. He points towards himself. Oh you paint too? I point at him. YES. Show me! He doesn’t move. I-want-to-see-your-paintings. He smiles. YOUR paintings, I point at him. YES. He gets more excited. Your paintings, where? YES he keeps nodding and pointing at himself. I’m not so sure about anything anymore but I go on with “the plan”. I open my sketchbook; show him the sketch. He glances at it. Then he looks up at me and points to himself. Again. I rip the sketch and give it to him: for you I say proudly. He takes it – kind of casually I might add – puts it down on the bench and goes back to pointing eagerly at himself with a smile wide enough to engulf the entire world.
What I had feared might be happening IS happening: while I was busy gallivanting through the Croatian forest, he decided on his own that I would do his portrait. I kind of had thought that might be the case but was in denial. I have done tons of portraits in my life, and some damn good ones, but truth be told, none recently!
I get situated and do my little prayer to the Portrait Gods – oh please please please be with me, I can’t screw that one up. My admirer is now trying several positions – hmm should my arms be crossed? Maybe take off my little purse? How about removing my hat? Should I be looking at her straight on or give her a ¾ view? That one he answered all by himself: straight on because I want to look at her the whole time. Told you: love at first sight! He looks so so so SO happy, it’s unbelievable. And I start my drawing. Unlike him, I’m feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. First the hat. Okay I got that. Now his right ear. Then the eye. The moment I see that the eye captures his expression completely, I regain all my self-confidence and the rest is easy. Two of his buddies materialize out of thin air and plant themselves behind me to check on progress (and comment back to him). Fifteen minutes later I hand him my sketchbook. He looks. Grave. Silent. Then breaks into a huge smile and without a second thought rips it out of my sketchbook! At that moment, he jumps up, lunges on me while I’m still sitting and deposits a tender kiss on my cheek. It was as delicate as a feather brushing by. But he wasn’t done yet: we had to seal our connection with a special ceremony …
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