The first time I ever laid eyes on Lydia Nelson, she was as naked as Lady Godiva on her famous ride through Coventry. Of course, I could also say that the first time Lydia ever laid eyes on me, I was as naked as Michelangelo’s David. So in that, we were even.
I had been modeling for the figure drawing classes at the university for almost a year when she stepped into my life. Late in the semester most of the classes used two models in some sort of long pose. I had already done one such class earlier that week, with a young waif of a girl named Kelsey. I had known Kelsey before we shared a platform; she and I had met several times in the little changing room that was shared by all the models. The University of North Texas had what was probably the largest art program in the state. There were at least two classes using models at any one time during the day from Monday through Thursday. So the models’ changing room was very busy whenever one set of classes, say the eight o’clock to ten-fifty period, ended and then next classes, like the eleven o’clock to one-fifty period, began.
I show up early to every class, and that Thursday two o’clock class was no exception. Two other models were in the changing room when I got there, getting dressed from the previous session. One of them was Walter, who was a fixture in the art department. He had been a model at UNT for at least twenty years, and was the only person on the model list older than I was. The other model was a beautiful blonde student named Rochelle. She was topless with a bra in her hand when I gave a courtesy knock and entered, her large breasts, with the colorless almost white nipples, seeming to defy gravity.
“Hey guys,” I said as I slipped into the room, being careful to make sure that the door didn’t swing too far open, not that Walter or Rochelle would have minded an audience that much after having just spent three hours in their birthday suits in front of a classroom full of people.
“How goes it?” I said in polite greeting.
I found a spot on the counter next to Rochelle’s stuff to set my bag, zipped it open, and rummaged around for my robe.
“Ready to go home and soak in a hot bath,” Rochelle said as she slipped into her bra and tried to fasten it in the back.
She continued to struggle as I pulled my shoes and socks off. Finally, I stepped behind her. “Here,” I said and fastened the bra for her.
“Thanks. One long three hour pose,” she said, shaking her head. “My left arm doesn’t want to bend like it used to.”
“How many breaks?” I asked.
“You are an iron woman,” Walter said. He slung his backpack on and started for the door. “Catch y’all later.”
Rochelle and I both said bye as Walter slipped out. I looked at the schedule on the wall as I slipped out of my pants and saw “David Michaels & Lydia Nelson” under the 2 to 5 Room 324 column.
“Do you know this Lydia I’m supposed to be modeling with?” I asked Rochelle.
“Nope. I saw her name on the schedule last week, but I’ve never met her.”
“You should hang around,” I suggested. “If she doesn’t show, you might get some extra hours.” The thought of sharing a platform for three hours with a nude Rochelle was a very pleasant one.
“I would if I wasn’t already tired as hell. Besides, she must have showed up last week, or she wouldn’t have been on the schedule this time.”
That was true. The UNT model coordinator was very unforgiving of models who didn’t show up when they were scheduled. Rochelle pulled her t-shirt on as I slipped mine off.
“Good luck with ‘Lydia,’” Rochelle said.
I was naked by then, shaking my robe out and trying to find my sleeve, which had been turned inside out after my last session. Rochelle backed out the door, looking at me and winking as she went.
“See ya,” I said, and then I was alone.
I put my robe on and tied it closed. My house slippers were still in my bag. I pulled them out, dropped them on the floor, and put my bare feet into them. I thought about staying in the changing room and waiting for Lydia, just so I could introduce myself before we had to spend three hours naked together. I looked at the clock on the wall and saw that I had four minutes until the schedule start of class. I started folding my clothes and setting them on the top of my modeling bag.