The Artist – August 2009 Part VIII

Jack gave me a light sedative to allow my body to rest, while Brian drove me and Nathan to my studio. I have to admit, it was still taking me some getting used to being inside someone else’s head/body. But, I convinced Nathan not to close me out of feeling what his body was experiencing as we drove. After all, once we were in the studio, I knew where everything was that I would need and the more familiar I was with how his body worked, the better. 

Luckily, he was a very good sport, albeit and smartass one. “And what if I need to use the facilities?” he asked me mentally, at one point. “I don’t want to hear any giggling or running commentaries inside my skull.”

“Put on a blindfold,” I told him.

“Okay, but don’t blame me if I miss the target,” he shot back.

“Try leaving the seat down and sitting, it’s worked for women for years,” was my reply.

For a moment there was silence, followed by, “Okay, that makes sense. In fact it makes a lot of sense. Oh my God, I finally get it. These bad boys are hard to aim to begin with. Hell, who came up with the idea that guys had to relieve themselves standing up in the first place?”

Thank God I got him thinking about something else, otherwise I think that train of thought would have turned into a running monologue with me as the only member of the audience. 

Finally, we reached the studio and Brian let us out. “Can I take it from here?” I asked Nathan.

He/we nodded. 

I’d had the good sense to remember we’d need the keys to the studio, before we left my hospital room. Reaching into the right pocket, I found myself feeling envious of how roomy men’s pants pockets felt. Because fashion declared women had to look curvy and sexy in pants, our pockets were so tight, we were lucky to fit a single playing card into one. I quietly swore to myself to try getting some pants from the men’s department next time I went clothes shopping. 

“Make sure you get a shirt and tie while your at it. And a hat, you’d look really cute in an outfit like that. You could make it your ‘artist’ look,” commented Nathan somewhere in the background. 

“Hey, don’t I get some privacy in here?” I shot back

“Sorry,” Nathan apologized and then explained, “While it is big and roomy in here, kind of like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, I could arrange an area for you to have privacy. But when you’re also controlling my body, I kind of have to be around. This body has reflexes and abilities you might not be able to react to without some help.” 

That made me curious. “How do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, shortly after I was ‘altered’ I thought about wanting to get a bird’s eye view of a situation and next thing I knew, my arms were flattening and turning into giant wings and…”

I cut him off. “OKAY got it. I definitely want you around!” 

Without further ado, I inserted the key into the door of the studio and opened it. Immediately, a rush of familiar smells greeted us. A wave of emotions swept over me as we entered. Everything was exactly the way I’d left it.

I felt tears filling my eyes. Until Nathan had made his strange proposal, I’d had no idea when or if I’d ever be back here.  For a deep dark part of me had wondered if I’d never be able to bring myself to return, for fear my damaged hands would never be able to create beautiful things as they had before. But here I was, with a set of hands that could mold even the most stubborn of clay. And while they weren’t necessarily mine, they were exactly what I needed right now.

I looked down at them and felt a tear of joy falling from my face. It landed on one of those wonderful hands, and I screamed. The drop wasn’t a tear, it was BLOOD!

“Sorry, my bad, I should’ve warned you,” came Nathan’s hurried thoughts. Inside his mind I felt a strong pair of arms hugging me reassuringly. “I didn’t realize you’d get so worked up coming back here, otherwise I would’ve warned you whenever I cry my tears come out that way.”

“You cry blood?” 

“Yeah, that kind of came with the Sangui-Sapio. A lot of people find it kind of disconcerting, so I try not to make a habit of crying in front of others,” he explained. 

Looking around I found that I was no longer seeing through his eyes. Instead, we were surrounded by whiteness with the occasional fleeting image passing by. Even more importantly, I had my own body. So did Nathan and he was holding me close. I looked at my hands and saw they were normal. Immediately, I tried my mouth and found it was working too. 

“Where are we? Are we still inside you?” I asked, pulling back slightly.

Nathan nodded. “We’re inside my mind. And yes, those images that you see are glimpses into my memories. I was hoping not to have to bring you here, but considering the circumstances, I thought this might the best place for us to talk face to face. I really should’ve prepared you better for dealing with my ‘unique’ physiognomy. I’m sorry.”

“No worries,” I replied without looking at him. Instead, I was studying some of the images flashing in and out of existence. I caught glimpses of celebrities from long ago, as well as a few from modern day. And places, so many places. Some were familiar while others were like something out of a prehistoric documentary or a science fiction movie. I was also picking up more than a few emotions attached to these glimpses, and more than a few were very tender and strong. 

Finally I pulled my attention back to Nathan. Those were his memories and I had no right to intrude upon them, not after he had been doing so much for me. Luckily, he didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to be glad. “You don’t get to share a lot of these with anyone else, do you?” I asked after a moment.

He shook his head. “Not really. You’re one of the very few who I’ve ever let in this deep.”

“Can you see inside me, in this place?”

“Only if I really wanted to, but that would be intrusive and unfair to you. So I choose not to,” he replied.

I began to feel like and insect compared to him. “You have so much power…” I began.

“Please don’t make me out to be something more than human,” he cut in. “I have all the faults and desires of anyone else. I just had a good upbringing and made a lot of mistakes over the decades, that I’ve learned from. And I prefer not repeating any that might cause someone distress or harm.”

I smiled at him. “I was going to say, and yet you do your best to just be a good man.”

“It takes a bit of effort some days,” he admitted. Then he asked, “Do you still want to move ahead with the plan? I mean, I’ll understand if all this has been too much for you to take in.”

I shook my head. “No, I want to finish what we’ve set out to do. I’ve seen a bit into you. Now let me share some of myself with you. I want you to experience what my work means to my and why it makes me feel the way it does.”

He smiled back at me. “I’d like that, thank you.”

A moment later, I was seeing through his eyes once more. Brian was holding out a handkerchief, with a worried look on his face.

“Are you, all right?” he asked anxiously. 

“We’re fine,” I answered, in my own voice, which surprised the heck out of both me and Brian. I mentally thanked Nathan, who responded in kind saying, “I thought this might be easier for Brian so he’d know who he was talking to.”

“Good,” Brian coughed, obviously adjusting to this new development. “You both had be worried for a second there.”

So only a few seconds had passed while Nathan and I were alone together. Again I marveled at his odd existence. But now wasn’t the time to think about it. He had allowed me to share his body and I wanted to share my gifts in return.

Glancing over to a far corner of the room, we spotted a tall figure covered in plastic. I smiled, it was time to get to work.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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