She’s getting on a bit. Definitely not a spring chicken. Nearer seventy than sixty, I’d say. But, then again, she looks as if she’s had a hard life, so she might be younger than I think. Her face is almost neanderthal, unusual, not your ‘everyday’ fact, a bit squashed in the vertical, too short with very little neck. Her hair is ginger, thin and oily, pulled up in a too tight top knot, which is not a good look. Especially at her age. I think they call it an Essex facelift, and I suppose it does lift her eyes up at their outside edge, so that may be why she wears her hair like that. It is fixed with a thick black scrunchy band, out of all proportion to the wisps it controls. I try to imagine what she would look like with her hair around her face, and find it impossible to know. I wonder if that is no accident, so that I would not recognise her on the street despite having stared at her for hours.
Her buttocks are on the generous side, and rather red and spotty. A bit off-putting really. Those spots. Generous haunches, you could say. Almost huge. I wonder how many other people have spotty buttocks. Her breasts are pendulous and the consistency of bread dough, loaf-sized blobs, going by their look. Her arms and legs are taut, well-defined. Along her limbs are the only places where any muscles are visible, along her lower arms and her calves. Her wrists and ankles are neat and thin, and her hands are bony rather than fleshy, large not small. Her feet are small though. She’s a classic pear shape.
She seems to like standing akimbo. I suppose it must be quite a stable position to remain in. Her arms on her hips, her legs wide apart, and the little head at the top of the triangle, with an equilateral triangular space formed by each chicken wing arm sticking out, and a triangle between her open legs. Lying down, she keeps moving. Almost imperceptible movements, but movements none the less, so that she is no longer quite as I thought she was and I have to make adjustments, and the foreshortening does her legs no favours. I am surprised she does not have a tattoo. She looks as if she might but I’ve seen her from all sides, and there is nothing. She doesn’t wear a wedding ring, nor any earrings. I quite like the way her stomach gathers into her tummy button, like a neat stuffed cushion. I begin to think that all bodies are beautiful because, stripped of everything else, they are so vulnerable, so exposed, so revealing of our selves. I feel fond of her. Sometimes I forget that there is a person inside the shape.
We have to squint so we can see where the darkest bits are – down one side, between her buttocks, along a cheek, beneath her breasts, and in the creases across her back just above her hips.
When time is called, she scurries off in a pale blue short towelling robe and soft fabric slippers and at the end of the evening we lay our representations of her on the platform where she had been shortly before, and we walk round and see how differently we all saw her and yet how much the same.