Monday, August 24, 2009

The spring rains had given way to the Paris summer and stability was finally settling into my life, a small but light filled apartment in a safe, though poor neighborhood, a roommate who I really liked and a beautiful boy in pursuit of my heart, who wouldn’t be dissuaded, no matter how I warned him that I was a dangerous girl. The world’s oldest profession provided a comfortable income, allowing me to focus on a public career and not worry about falling back on my family for financial support. The uncertainty and fear that I was failing that nagged me since my arrival in Paris was fading and I finally felt I was an adult who had gained control of her life.

Through happenstance I’d gained a contract position with a marketing company, mostly grunt work, but partly cultural translator to help the agency’s relationship with the client and the supervising ad agency in NY. That led to a second assignment, the client, a manufacturer, who would be launching a new product line and marketing campaign.

In those early meeting I mostly listened and took notes, my job would be to execute not necessarily to plan. At such a meeting I was sitting at with a small group at one end of a large conference table discussing the in-store and trade show events when I heard my name mentioned by those at the other end. The art director and is assistance were reviewing a batch of photos. One would pass it the next and finally to the director who placed them in two piles, one with most of the photos and the other with just a couple. When all had been reviewed the art director picked up the photos from the small pile and looked at them again and then tossed them into the larger with a look of frustration. It was then someone said “What about Kim?”

I looked up and the three were looking at me and I began to wonder if I’d done something wrong. The director interrupted our conversation and explained that they were looking for a ‘face’ for the marketing campaign and wondered if I would sit for a photo session. Hell yes, I thought but modestly replied “sure”.

A time was set for the following afternoon at his studio, the releases were reviewed with me and the model fee for the shoot was provided with the explanation if I were selected a contract would be entered into. The shoot took nearly three hours and I must have changed a dozen times. They wanted a face that would be a pretty version of an every woman, who they could use with backdrops ranging from glamorous, to professional to mom and baby. In the end they found someone else.

When the shoot was over, the director asked me I’d stay around, curious I agreed. When the others had left, but his assistant, he asked if I would be interested in doing some nudes. I agreed and another couple of hours were spent in the studio and attached offices. Some were arty, others Met Artish, a couple made a gallery show he had a few months later and are available on his website. The others were sold off into insatiable maw of the internet. That in turn resulted in several more modeling requests that I turned down as I wanted my life to go in a different direction.

Several of those photos, among others were in a portfolio leaning against an end table that Paul asked if could look at when visiting last fall. Paul had come to one of last years beach house parties, he was a friend of a friend’s, friend and went along for a party hosted by a group of chicks. I didn’t know him, but given a context I knew who he was, the front man for a popular, but not quite successful band. That weekend Elyse was here with Mike and their baby and Mike and I reprised adolescent renditions of old Nashville songs. Paul joined in on a harmonica and later borrowed a guitar and filled in the background.

I’d forgotten about him when he texted me in mid-September and asked if I would meet him for coffee. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I thought and he seemed nice, so I agreed. We planned to meet by the fountain in the park at the Rue Saint-Denis & Rue Des Innocents. He was there when I arrived holding a small bouquet and looking adorable. We found a café and when I left with the flowers my heart was all a flutter and I floated home. He so sweet I gushed to my friends, so romantic and vulnerable. I wanted to just wrap in my arms and take care of him. Those maybe nice qualities in small amounts, but with Paul they came with insecurity, neediness and enough neurosis to keep a therapist in Jimmy Choo’s. The pictures should have been a cue, after looking at them he was confused and a bit hurt about something I’d done years before. It was an early indicator that the relationship wouldn’t last, but he was a nice presence around the apartment, noodling on a guitar while I worked. Every now and then he’d interrupt and play a work in progress for me, or sing a verse or two and then we’d go back to our own projects.

It was over before Thanksgiving, he took the news well, he seemed to have expected, even wanted the break up. I joked to Anne Marie that I’d probably be fodder for a song and sure enough, the wife of one of his band members, emailed me one a couple of weeks later. It would make the girls swoon I thought and the fan boys nod in empathy, but while listening I acknowledged it was good and that maybe I was missing my calling as muse.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

4:54 PM  

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