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.I don’t know if he used the phrase “character building,” but I assume that’s how he was thinking.My life had been too easy, and it was time for a little resistance.This was one of the few things Mama and Papa agreed on, that my life had been too easy.Much easier than either of theirs.I had a hard time understanding how that could be my fault, but now I would be punished.Mama was ecstatic.Papa arranged a position for me the very next day, and we drove off to meet the director of the hospital.Perhaps I don’t need to say that I was against the whole thing.I was dating a chaffinch who thought a nurse’s uniform might be pretty, but that was the only amusing thing about the proposal.I believed, in my stupidity, that Papa would think better of it when he realized what all this would entail.I thought it was still mostly a threat, and if I promised to stop shopping I could get out of it.The director of the hospital, a doctor whose name I forgot the moment we left, went over the work duties.As I understood it, it was at least as much about being some sort of maid as it was about taking care of patients, and in the car on the way home I tried to get Papa to change his mind.That this was, as it were, beneath our dignity.But he thought exactly the opposite, and he truly enjoyed the thought of all the scrubbing and cleaning and laundering and dusting and carrying and toiling it involved.Then I started to smell a rat.Then I started to get that this was really going to happen.That I would start working.I protested wildly the whole week.Stopped talking, stopped eating, and screamed what idiots they were, but nothing helped.I think this was the only time Mama and Papa were actually on the same side.Then…Waiting.Now, perhaps?Yes, now it’s finally my turn.It was still a waiting room.Inside the door, where I believed Dr.Sharm would be found, there was a smaller room, still with the same green wallpaper, but now with a single couch suite.In here two nurses sit behind a low reception counter, and there are only two of us animals who are waiting.It’s me and the lion, who is still pretending not to see me.It must be lovely to live so completely in your own little bubble.To be like her, filled up with herself to such a degree that she doesn’t need to concern herself about anyone else.I really wonder what she’s doing here.Perhaps it’s a real disease? But Dr.Sharm doesn’t see the sick, only us: the vain.The lion knows that I’m looking at her, she must feel it, but she twists her head a little to the right and looks out through the window.That profile…I know her! I recognize her from somewhere, but I can’t think of where it is.It will come to me.All good things come to those who wait, but it comes faster if you do something about it, as Papa always says.The two nurses in reception are shuffling papers.One is an ostrich, the other might be a hyena or a dog or possibly some kind of bear.I’m not good at types of animals, I never have been.There are some newspapers on the coffee table.I pick one up and leaf through it.This is waiting.I hate waiting.A large painting is hanging on the wall behind the nurse in reception.Expressionism, or whatever it might be.Brushstrokes in an explosion of color.I’ve never liked art.I don’t know how I came up with the studio.A little white lie that led to another and then, presto, I was an artist with a studio.It was just perfect.I avoided making up pretend friends, I avoided coming up with false explanations about real friends who might have revealed me afterward.I’m not the housewife type, never have been, and when the studio was really there I realized that it was exactly what I needed.I was free.I could come and go as I wished.I avoided a lot of demands, always had a valid excuse if Papa wanted to see me or if I wanted to see someone.Life with Eric Bear was, and is, perhaps not the world’s most exciting, and the fabrication of being an artist gave, and gives, me every possibility.The first time Eric was going to come by and look there were a few hours of panic.First I was forced to acquire an apartment.Papa had several, all around the city, I don’t want to know why or what he used them for.But he let me have one of them, it was good enough to serve as an artists’ studio.Then I rushed around up in Lanceheim an entire morning, buying paintings in every single antiques store I could find.They thought I was crazy [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]