You know what it’s like, right? Moving in with a roommate, having to decide what comes with and what can’t fit–the usual.
So I decided my round kitchen table wouldn’t fit. I asked the Ukrainian movers (whom we nicknamed Jay and Silent Pavel) if they could bring it down to the basement of the gorgeous old Brooklyn house that would be my new home. I followed them out of perhaps a misplaced sense of hospitality. In no time, they plunked it on the cement ground and headed back up.
I lingered at the bottom of the stairs, trying to find the light switch. And that’s when I saw him.
Leaning back against a beam, glistening slightly in the shadows.
My roommate was an artist. And I guess he hadn’t made the cut. A charcoal nude. A sketch. A sleeping man reclined on a sofa, a book on his lap.
He was… beautiful.
I stood in awe and gaped.
Finally, I stumbled back up. I staggered to the studio, bathed in light, where my friend was chatting with my new artist roommate.
I didn’t bother with preambles.
“Who’s the naked guy in the basement?”
My friend’s face was a canvas of Gobsmacked.
Within a few months, The Naked Guy in the Basement–for thusly was he renamed–made it out of the basement and, with much fanfare, onto the living room wall. By the time I moved away, packing my few belongings into J’s car for the long drive south, he was a mainstay for all of us. My roommate endowed him to me as a goodbye gift, although I wouldn’t see him again until I finished with Peace Corps.
That day, the day I moved out, I saved loading the art until last. Turning to grab the last few pieces, I saw he was missing. Him and a Dali sketch another friend, Ev, had given me years gone by. Saint John of the Cross, it’s called, and it’s my favorite Dali.
I stifled a squeak and ran about the house looking for them. Through a window, I saw J make her way down to the car. I ran to the front door.
She turned, cocking her eyebrows.
“Do you have Jesus and the Naked Guy?”
Her expression told me she wasn’t the sort to yell the answer to that one on a Sunday morning.
Now that I’m moving into my own place sometime soon–months after moving back from Peace Corps–I need to unbury my art at my parents’ home. I think Jesus and the Naked Guy might just be under my bed, but I’ll find out for sure soon enough. 🙂