There was a polished oak table in the center of the room with a large expensive floral arrangement in the center. The vase was ceramic with paintings of wood nymphs, sylphs on it, but the colors were muted. Grays, lilac, periwinkle, a strange green color with what looked like light blue. It was a scene I was familiar with. I carefully unbuttoned my sweater and draped it over an ornate chair. Then I walked soundlessly in bare feet across the clean wood floor to stare at the painting I could never get enough of.

It had a $600 gold frame and inside were the answers I was looking for. He painted it when I was away visiting my sister in L.A. Except for the obvious representation of my figure the painting had nothing to do with me. It was a constant reminder that I didn't understand his perception of me. There were white and red rose petals at my feet and the arch of my back was so meticulously painted I realized it could be his favorite body part. The strange thing was that he had covered my hair with a silver net and the blonde was showing through. I couldn't remember him preferring golden hair.

The background was specifically that of a forest on a sound stage. Some of the trees were done as a backdrop, yet others looked real and reminiscent of bay trunks. The light source came from several professional spotlights, allowing him to control where the shadows and highlights fell. I winced when I noticed how small he made my waist. I was born with genetics that meant I had few curves, I was built mostly straight up and down. I couldn't see my breasts, because a goldenrod yellow shawl with purple flowers was draped around my neck concealing them.

The symmetry of the painting brought your eye not to me, but to a broken flowerpot with bright red flowers of no known genus. The unfinished clay pot was shattered and the soil and the plant seemed to be crawling away. My face was turned away, another thought that he didn't want me to appear to "see."

I was a mythical figure in the painting filled with much more intrigue than I knew I had. That could have been precisely the point. He didn't want me to reveal myself the way I did in the beginning when I answered all questions directly and truthfully. He wanted to dissect my expressions, intonations, and most importantly my physical appearance. It meant I valued him if I wore the right outfit, the right jewelry, and minimal yet accentuating makeup. Because most important of all was not what I contributed in conversation, rather how many other men desired me. Love me he seemed to say, but what he really wanted was something I was trying to figure out.

He took it slow in the beginning, treading lightly, but once he tasted me he wanted to possess me in front of people. In the painting I wore flat shoes, and the unspoken rule was that I shouldn't increase my height at all. Yet he coveted me more for fitting the height of a print model. A runway model would've been too tall and angular. There was a bench in the painting and resting on it were teapot, saucers, and a sliced apple. The temperance I was expected to keep after the initial debauchery. And there was a camera in the crook of a tree pointed at me. I was always to be watched, in part for pleasure, but mainly for the audience of mute witnesses watching my every move. And the more they watched the less I said and did.

The banality, perhaps the only banal aspect, was the ground which looked unfinished, not like the floor of a stage but also not of earth. I wondered if he stood me on stone to ground me since I was always trying to take flight.

Please contact the writer who's afraid I'll get knocked out by my flagrant disrespect for authorities who could destroy me with no pause. Tell him I made a deal with the highest authority and the monitors and the savior strangers so I could see what would happen if a writer of fiction came to town and secretly thought no one would be the wiser. He thought a simple call using all his discretion couldn't possibly belay any of his intent or location. The truth was he wasn't far because he felt like maybe he could have her, the woman in the painting.

I didn't bother about the dance going on around me, because my remote viewing was paused. I was quite blind. So I looked at the painting to see how he wanted to capture me. I read a book called "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin and I saw the brilliance and the flaws. It was about the art world and a woman in it and a painting. But was it the art that made the woman or vice versa? To call to mind rote memorized facts and put them in order wasn't enough, there had to be a plot twist.

What made the painting entitled "Philomena" special was that it was a work of art and a house of horrors when viewed from certain angles. The premise was that the woman was taken, but she stood alone without vision, she was hobbled and tame. The wild side she lived with for the first quarter of her life proved inconsequential. It was the justice of a God who listened to her small tones, her quiet requests, and her patience. But the painting would never be sold and as she stood staring into the tiny leaves of a tree she realized the price on her head had been lifted and it was only because she was still young and strangely attractive. In others' desire to possess her she was never sold or sacrificed after all. She sacrificed herself before the higher powers took that away from her, like so many things.

I stared in between the leaves and saw lights of a city, I was lost in a trance. I didn't notice him come into the room. I realized it when the fine blonde hairs on the back of my neck stood up, but I didn't turn. Instead I used my willpower to remain motionless, because one clumsy move would ruin it. When I thought of how many times I was saved as a teenager by my ability to go too far I lamented that it was no longer an option.

Finally he walked over and grasped me from behind in a gesture of taking ownership. I had no choice but to bend to him and it threw me off balance. I pretended not to care so much about the painting, but I didn't use my sexuality to sway him. Instead I did what was expected: the man protected the woman and that turned him on. I was useless as anything other than a motionless figure, finally with nowhere to run.


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