The girl from Honduras

I was waiting for the life drawing class to start. I always get there early. Firstly, I can never work out how long it takes me to walk there. On wet and windy days I seem to cover the distance in half the time. I suppose I just amble on the sunny days, soaking up the rays. And secondly, to grab a good spot. I work large and so need to position myself before everyone else gets there. I work on the floor as drawing boards large enough to accommodate my work aren’t available. So it’s important to position myself in front of everyone else.

Whilst waiting for the model to get ready and the session to start I reflected on a map that was situated on the far wall. It had been produced for the kids that attend the day sessions at the community centre. The centre is in a culturally diverse area and the teacher had put up map of the world and asked students to mark on it where they were from. Pins were dotted across the map, each marking the original home of one of the students.

I examined these locations, noting places that I had visited and locations where friends are now living or will be living in the near future. I realised that a lot of my friends, have over the years, for one reason or another decided to emigrate.

I had been toying with the idea of doing likewise. Over the past few months I have grown restless and frustrated. For every step forward I’ve tried to take someone or something has decided to drag me back two. I seem to be going nowhere and nowhere fast. So on a drunken whim I decided to apply for VSO work. I had tried once before many years ago but was rejected as my skills did not meet their criteria. Over the years my knowledge and skills have increased so I thought I’d give it a second go. To my surprise my initial application was accepted. The next step would be to fill out the full application form and then wait for a placement to come up.

I decided to defer for a couple of weeks to think it over. There are always pros and cons to these things and it depends on which side of the bed I get out on as to whether it’s a pro or a con. Days fluctuate. It would be good to live somewhere else, new stimuli, diversify my interests and build a new photographic portfolio.

There is in reality nothing keeping me in Sheffield. But on the cons, I’d miss good friends, the luxuries this country affords me, art and photographic projects I have been nurturing over the past few years and the reputation I’ve built up with clients.

At the end of the life class this girl came up to me wanting to know more about my work. It had been a good session and I was happy with the scrawl I had produced. My mood seems to be tied indelibly with my drawing ability. When I feel it is working well I am happy, when it isn’t, I feel worthless.

It turned out that she was from Leeds, studying Graphic Design at Sheffield Hallam University, but there was some twang in her voice that told me that she didn’t grow up in there. I found out that she had gone to school in Washington DC, but was born in Honduras. Moving to the States when her family acquired jobs there, and finally moving to Leeds, the ancestral home of her parents when she finished high school.

I studied the map on the wall once more. Perhaps I should emigrate. Build an interesting story. But the session had gone well, the creative block lifted from my shoulders, I felt invigorated, ready to develop new ideas.  Pros and cons.

I am still undecided. I think I will set an arbitrary date and see what side of the bed I get out of on that day. Let fate decide what I eventually do. I can’t make up my bloody mind.


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