I took it to be an unwritten rule, so I never spoke to the model in class. The drawing class met weekly at 6pm and although we all knew in advance that nudes would be part of the deal, it was still odd for some of us. Samantha would come in wearing an old gray robe, sit on a stool or a chair, the teacher would lock the door and then would make a quick motion and Samantha would drop the robe off. The first couple weeks I heard a couple of shhuuuu sounds, but more recently-nothing. Most of the class was female, and if there were guys who had a reaction to her body unrelated to the assignment, they never said anything to me.

Samantha looked like an athlete; strong tight legs, lean hips and small breasts. Her hair was short, with a razor cut on the nape of her neck. Her eyes were bright blue and when I made contact with them-brief and furtive, they seemed unafraid and calm. I was always the one who looked away embarrased. I tried to focus on her curves and angles and the way that she held the corners of the chair with her hands (white knuckles?). I would spend half the class trying to recreate the strands of dark hair circling around her ears or the back of her legs, hamstrings, straining from a position the instructor had suggested. It was rare that I spent any time on the parts of her body that would have made me perspire. The instructor walked by my easel once and whispered in my ear: She is female, you know...try and get that next week. But I never really did.

A month after the class was over I went into a small sandwich shop near campus for some coffee and a bagel and there in front of me was short dark hair, Samantha's hair, sticking out from a parka and a bright red scarf. I looked at my boots, and waited my turn, but I happened to glance up at the exact moment she turned around-
"Hello," she said, the small smile I never got right (it was a little crooked and mine weren't quite...)
Hey , I said, still inspecting the tile of the shop's floor.
"Don't be shy, I'm not, obviously."
Well, you know, it's kinda awkward for me...I don't want to rude or whatever... some quick looks, still stooped over like a Hunchback.
"Well, maybe you could share something about yourself and we would be equal-can you reveal something?"
Well, OK, maybe, sure...I write, I mean, I write stuff, fiction and you know, whatever...I like to write about people. Do you want to hear a story? This time I look her square in the eyes, waiting for a sign of some kind.
"OK, that would be nice. Tell me a story about the boy's locker room. Now that would be revealing, wouldn't it? " Sneaky smile now, and I can see she is not going to make this easy. We sit down and I start talking about the rules for lockers and basic towel abuse. I hope I can level the playing field, cause she has one hell of a head start.

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