Their Lady Tristeza

Matisse, Nu Bleu II, 1952. Paper.

Eduardo drew on the board. That was the start of it. He came in early for my English class and drew the outline of Matisse's Blue Nude on the whiteboard with my blue felt tip marker, without even using the image as a reference. It was unmistakable--just like the artist's paper cutout, the figure sitting on the floor, bending over her raised knee. Only he added one thing. He drew a Band-Aid over her right breast.

It was Eduardo all right. Eduardo who peered rather than looked at the world from under heavy eyebrows, who seemed to have learned, somewhere in school, the less he said, the less he would be wrong. I saw the blue marker in his hand just before he set it on the railing. Big hands, adobe brickworker's hands already, thick hands that were a mistake attached to this short, narrow-shouldered boy.