The Santa Barbara Weekend (part 5)

So I still wasn’t sure about whether to let Sabrina – a world-famous artist me and Joyce met over our weekend staying at Justen Hunnycut’s house in Santa Barbara – paint me. That’s even after Luke showed me the portrait she’d done of him, which I liked…and which wasn’t weirdass or super modern or anything like that. I’d certainly have no problem if Sabrina painted me something like the way she painted Luke.

My nap wore off not too long after Luke showed me his portrait. Me and him were super active in the pool all day and I was good tired, but even good tired is tired. So I went upstairs before any of the others. Luke remembered to send up a couple beers upstairs after me even without my having to ask for them. That was good, since I was dying of thirst again. Sure, there was a lot of wine with dinner, but nobody ever said wine was thirst-quenching.

Once I got upstairs, I texted Keaton to tell him about Sabrina, and, y’all guessed it, his first answer was:


Then I told him who the artist was, and it turns out Keaton’s heard of her. His old boss in Amsterdam has one of her paintings in his collection. So Keaton’s advice was that I should go for it. He was working, so he couldn’t keep texting me, and the beer was making me sleepy, so I even cut short my time under the overhead shower and got into bed without even looking for ESPN on the TV.

Next thing I knew the maid with the early tea was knocking at the door. I went to get up, but fuck was I sore. It’s been a long time since I spent a whole day swimming and it took me a while to get up and let the maid in. Then I made myself a cup of tea and went in to see Joyce to tell her about Sabrina’s offer.

Joyce was real surprised. Not that she thought that I wasn’t worth painting or anything, but, even if you have a good-looking boyfriend, you don’t expect for him to be painted by a super famous artist.

“Keaton says I should go for it.”

“He doesn’t think it’s gay?”

“Of course he does. But he’s heard of Sabrina and thinks it’d be a good experience for me.”

“As long as you can make time, I think you should do it too.”

I wanted to fall asleep from the tea again, but I had to call Meemaw, and it was about time for her to be getting back from church. Once I had her on the phone and she told me I should have gone to church, I told her about Sabrina.

“You say this artist has paintings in museums?”

“That’s what I hear.”

“So the question HB is if you’re ready for a picture of you to be in a museum where everyone can look at it.”

She had a point. That’s why I called her.

“Or,” she continued, “some art collector like this man y’all are staying with can buy the painting…and you’ll be hanging in his house.”

That’s something I hadn’t thought of. Meemaw didn’t make it sound creepy, but it got a little creepy when I thought about it. It’s one thing for Justen to have the picture of Luke…but I wasn’t liking the idea of some gay dude having my picture hanging in his house.

“It could be a woman, HB. What is it about California that gets you thinking only men are after you? It’s like you forget that you’re attractive to women.”

“Well…I’m currently surrounded by gay men. And at least three of them are into me. One of them’s a big time jerkoff.”

“If you’re going to enjoy the attention, you’re going to have to take what comes with it.”

“That could be true about the painting too, Meemaw.”

“Yes it could.”

I had to let that sink in for a couple seconds.

“So do you want your picture out there where you can’t control who gets to see you?”

“Being out on a baseball diamond was the same as that. Kinda.”

“Just kinda, HB. And you’re going to be out there because of how you look…not for how you play baseball. You weren’t just a heartthrob in Hickory. On the other hand,” she continued, “most of the attention the picture gets won’t get back to you. Who sees it’ll be out of your control, but you won’t know who they are anyway.”

“So what should I do?”

I should have known better than to ask Meemaw that question lol. So I let her go back to getting Sunday dinner ready and I got under the drenching shower.

Meemaw left me with a lot to think about. That’s probably why Joyce started knocking on the shower door after I’d been in there for a while so we wouldn’t be late for breakfast.


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