I had forgotten all about that special connection to paper. The softness, the grain, the sharpness. The multitude of models. Draft paper, Arche, Moleskine, notepads, printer paper, the American yellow pads we don’t have in Europe. And the King of Paper, Steinbach. Preferably cut straight from the roll. Stashed always in the hidden space of the studio. Only given out for final projects. Not the low quality sketching paper we use for drawing nudes every morning. The bored models casually lying or sitting around. With their legs closed. A misplaced prudishness. One woman stands out by her candor. She lets her legs relax, bend sideways, take on natural positions that reveal her body. The hidden places, the creases, the shadows. All the interesting things to draw. They make me stare with disbelief. I have a body just like that but I would never dare to sit around naked and exposed and vulnerable. It’s even worse with the male models. Huge penises hanging in front of my eyes, waiting to be sketched. I know what they are, everybody does. But seeing them there like a hand or a foot, displayed without care, is making me feel uncomfortable. It gives me an itch. An urge to burst out laughing. A compulsion to touch. But the models are only there for your eyes, not your hands. They are objects. Except during smoke breaks. One of the women looks like an Amazon. Huge and fleshy and full of scars. Ugly, I thought back then. Battle scars, I know now. She is one of the people, the childbearing kind, the smoking, partying hard, life loving, maternal kind. I’m just a shy nerd, almost lifeless, with a stick of charcoal in my right hand, trying to grasp the meaning of her. Putting it on paper. Sketching paper. Or Steinbach, once a week, after days of practice. I have forgotten her name. How is that even possible? She was an Amazon. I have forgotten all the models names but three. The one with the huge penis, the one who died from AIDS, the woman with the pink hair who also worked in a shoe store. The year 1991. I’m exiled but also back home. It’s complicated. I am afraid of the city, it swallows me. It also brings me to life. It’s a paradox. My life has been full of paradoxes ever since I have been conscious. I’m experiencing an epiphany. The ultimate paradox is here now. I feel at peace, the world is just as crazy as I have always felt.

It’s the Coronavirus Paradox

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