I drive to Riverside City College to give Dr. Lamoreaux my Life Drawing I portfolio. I imagine her sitting in her office, the citron light shining on her face just right. She’s pretty even with the porcupine hair. I’m meeting her when campus is dark and lifeless because her night class, Art History II, had a final. I park and think about how when I move out of this city, I’ll be a cinematographer, not pornographer like my idiot brother Randall says. I’ll create the good lighting in movies, make everyone shimmer like Dr. Lamoreaux.
After Dr. Lamoreaux takes my portfolio, which looks like my dad’s garment bag, I say, thanks for the extension and I hope you have a good Christmas, my stomach tingling. She smiles at me. My face is hot, and I freeze. I exit what feels like the set of a ‘90s teen movie silently, still wearing my Baskin Robbins apron.
Later, when I’m wearing my too-big Mandalorian t-shirt as a nightgown, and my mom is sleeping spread out on her bed because my dad is on a trip, and Randall is playing video games in the next room with his headset on talking to his made-up friends, I touch my breasts, thinking of when Dr. Lamoreaux’s friend modeled for us: how the two women joked like friends who have seen each other naked a lot joke. I think about what it would be like if Dr. Lamoreaux modeled for me—how I think about the curves of her body when I’m drawing. Last time, Randall started banging on my door, and I had to put the vibrator away.
I open my nightstand drawer but grasp only underwear, lunging from the bed and launching contents like confetti. Then, I remember sandwiching the vibrator into the portfolio bag in a moment of panic, Randall’s stupid voice getting louder outside my bedroom door. Now, the panic doubles inside my mind, inside my belly, as I turn on every lamp in my room hoping to find the vibrator even though I know that’s not the plot of this story.
I swallow the nausea crawling up my throat and imagine Dr. Lamoreaux, in a home office that looks like a Picasso, steeping some fragrant tea and flipping through my drawings of nude models. When she finds it, I imagine her smiling wide, her cheeks rose-gold, and her stomach tingling just like mine.
Should I say something about the accident when she returns the portfolio after winter break? I decide I’ll strut into her office and take the portfolio into both hands like it’s an award. I’ll practice confident facial expressions in the mirror until we both believe it. Later, when I win my first Oscar, I’ll thank her for showing me Le Rêve.