"You should let me shoot you."
His voice pauses. "Uh, wouldn't that be a little painful?" He laughs.
I lay back on my comfy sofa, cell in one hand, a stretched piece of hair twirling in the other. I've got to learn to keep my hands out of my hair.
"I promise to only use paint guns." I say, going along with his joke. "No, but seriously, my professor has been breathing down my neck for some original stuff. You'd be perfect. Ever modeled before?"
"Nah, I've been approached by those mall scouts, but modeling is not really my thing. But for your degree, I could try." His voice feels like a warm summer day.
This is only the third conversation I've had with Abram Montgomery since our initial meeting. It's been a week, but our conflicting schedules have not let us go on a proper date yet. The good thing is that he's passed the initial crazy test.
So far I've learned that he is 26 soon to be 27, no children, has been playing piano since he was 4 years old at the insistence of his grandmother who passed away last year, reads the online version of 10 different news and music papers from around the country everyday, and thinks Stevie Wonder should teach a course on how to make 'real' music to those that think they know but don't.
He's funny too. Doesn't curse, at least I haven't heard him. Doesn't smoke. Only drinks socially. And that face. Whew. And that body. Double whew.
The poor strand entangled on my finger spins faster.
"Well, thank you. Really it has to be more of an editorial piece, so you'd have to channel your innermost thoughts and convey the 'deep' Abram." I respond.
"Isn't it the photographer's job to make the person look 'deep'?" He jokes.
"You can only add so much depth to a puddle. If you're an ocean, you're an ocean. I think you're an ocean. You just have to make whoever is looking at the picture want to dive in and swim."
"I think you've just inspired a song my dear. If you were my ocean.." His singing voice is even better. Mmmm.
I smile. I've been doing that a lot the last couple days. It's late and I've got an early class, but I don't want to disconnect this line.
I curl up on my beige sofa, pull my soft chenille throw over my bare feet. This apartment is a mess. A very artsy mess, but still, a mess. 8X10 photos I've taken this week cover the mahogany wood table my step-brother crafted for me. The matching bookshelf to my right strains against the wall, hundreds of books fighting for space on it's overcrowded shelves. I've got to call Jake and get him working on a bigger one ASAP.
The rest of the tiny apartment looks like a study on organized madness. I've got a large plastic bin for everything; photography books, inspirational magazines, photos I love, original vinyls of old-school musicians and performers I love, an unfinished book of poetry, a CD collection that spans the spectrum from Aerosmith and Pink Floyd to Mozart to Common and Tupac. They're all spanning the living room floor as well. When I have an important decision to make, like today's all important one of which photo to submit to American Photography for their student photo contest, I have to have music. The right music. John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald aided me in my mission today.
"Make sure you name it 'Ode to Ata'." I joke.
Silence. I was only joking, I hope he knows that. Suddenly a soft beautiful sound wafts into my ear canal. He's on the piano, the phone in speaker mode. Wow. I guess he was serious.
"Sorry, when inspiration hits I have to record it right away or I will lose it. What do you think? Beginnings of a good song?" He asks when he returns.
"Definitely. It's beautiful. Glad I could provide inspiration." I offer.
"Oh, you definitely have Ms. Ata. You definitely have."