They saw awkwardly on a couch in a house that belonged to neither of them, she tugging on her dress, making sure nothing was showing, he eyeing his cigarettes.
“We could watch Jon Stewart,” she said. “They have DVR, right? I bet they have last night’s Daily Show.”
He selected two remotes and began pushing buttons. The TV turned on, but there was no sound; only a scrolling menu. Another push of the button and there was black and white fuzz.
“Fuck it,” he said, then turned the TV off.
“What time should we get there?”
“How long will it take to get there?”
It wasn’t four yet.
“So.” She pulled at her dress. “We have some time to kill.”
“We could make out,” he said.
Looking at what should have been Jon Stewart’s face, she shook her head. First friends then lovers, now friends again, they hadn’t seen each other in two years. That was when she’d broken up with him a second time. The last time, she’d decided. Another minute passed.
“Let’s draw a still life!” she said. “I’ll go to my car and get my sketch pad, you set it up.”
She had bought the sketchbook for herself that morning and pens and a sk
r him. She returned with her pad and took one his new pens. On the coffee table was his right shoe. It had once been mahogany brown but was now speckled with paint from years of landscapes, still lives, and abstracts, a fraction of which would be on display that evening.
They each opened their pads to the second page and began slowly tracing the contours of the shoe. She glanced back and forth between the object and its imitation. After mapp
ing the shoe in black ink, she began drawing cross-hatches to shade the darkest parts.
He glanced over. She held up her pad to let him see more clearly.
“That’s good,” he said.
“You think? I’m out of practice. Can I see yours?”
“Here’s my first drawing”— it was a quick study of the shoe and its shape—“and here is the shoe monster.” He smiled and flipped the page to reveal the same basic shape, only with eyes and teeth and personality.
“I like it,” she said. She looked back at her own picture.
“I’m going to step out,” he said, fingering the pack of cigarettes. He put his right shoe back on.
“Ok,” she said, then propped up her left foot on the coffee table. She turned the page and began drawing her sandal. By the time he returned, she was filling in the contours of her toes.
He sat down and flipped the page in his own pad. He began to draw.
The foot was harder to draw than the shoe. It had fewer lines, and the black ink was too harsh for her pale skin.
“I don’t know,” she said, holding her finished drawing for him to see. He nodded, set his down on the floor, then stepped out.
She glanced at his picture. It was her, slightly hunched forward, right hand extended, and a dress too big for her slight frame.
She checked her phone—it was about time to leave. He came back in and sat next to her.
“You can get a ride back?” she asked.
“That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I’ll need to get home, and this isn’t on the way.”
“My brother should be able to take me,” he said. “You ready?”
She nodded. Moved on top of his sketch pad was one of the remotes. It covered his drawing of her. “Let’s go.”