Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

Low life | 22 November 2012

After the open-air night drawing class, the teacher invited anyone who felt like it to repair to the pub afterwards to have a drink and maybe something to eat and maybe a discussion about art. On the way to the pub I’d nipped off to the cashpoint. By the time I got to the pub, the night drawing gang were already seated around a cosy table with their coats off and my bird had saved me the place between her and the art teacher.

I squeezed in between them and took in the new faces ranged opposite me. They were two women and a bloke. The younger of the two women was a straight-backed, handsome, pleasant-looking woman with whom I fell in love on the spot. The elderly woman smiling humbly beside her she introduced as her mother-in-law. Actually, her new mother- in-law, she added — she’d remarried recently. I hadn’t noticed either of these women at the night drawing class — maybe for the simple reason that it had been dark.

Next I shook hands with the chap. He hadn’t been to the night drawing class, he said, though he was in fact an artist and sculptor working mainly in aluminium and steel. He and my bird were old friends, he said, and he happened to have a house in the town. She’d called him to tell him which pub we were in, and he’d come along to hook up and say hallo.

Beside me, the art teacher already had the pub roast dinner in front of him and was busy attacking it with his knife and fork. The meal was part of his payment for taking the class. ‘Hungry?’ I said. All he’d eaten was a bowl of soup all day, he said, his mouth full to capacity.

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