- What a freak you are, Alex! – Luba Medvedeva said nonchalantly, turning towards me and showing off her staggeringly graceful figure.
Years ago she was known as the reigning beauty in our class. Well, in terms of her looks, she was still a straight A-plus doll.
But what an insult! Why would she dress me down like that? What's wrong if we have different tastes!
- Who's this nymphet, Alex? What the hell does she want with you? – asked Nadine, cuddling up to me with her rather ample body.
Nadine was thirty years old. And no one, as far as I am concerned, was more attractive than her.
- Oh, just some classmate, back from high school, - I said. – Boys were all super crazy about her. Can you imagine that?
Nadine looked on for some time after the brunette who was walking away. The petite Luba, dressed up in a white raincoat, stood out sharply against the background of the yellow and orange carnival of the leaves in the autumnal park.
- She's beautiful…, - Nadine acknowledged. – More than that: she's like some model from a fashion magazine! I cannot get envious, though. Know what, Alex? You must like such babes, don't you?
Her face grew red after she had said that. And her eyes seemed to get larger. One could think that Nadine might burst into tears any minute now.
- Nadine, my love, are you jealous by any chance? Come on! For me, no woman is more beautiful than you. And I love all there is: your face, your lips, your great body!
I started covering with my kisses everything that I had just named: her eyes, lips, nose, and neck. I was oblivious of the people around us. That is, of the passers-by who looked at the two lovers with disdain…
At night, in bed next to Nadine who was snoring lightly while lying on my arm, I got to thinking about all this.
Incidentally, why do voluptuous women thrill me so much? I mean, women whose figure would appear as "non-classical" to some beauty connoisseurs? Am I indeed a freak?
What bullshit, Alex, I told myself. There's an explanation. Your preference for the big and soft ones, for the ample and voluptuous ones has deep roots: they sprouted up when you were still a child… They hail from the illustrations in the popular Ogonyok magazine. Those reproductions were the primary erotic experience permitted by the state. Some paintings formed with their eroticism the female ideal in the boy's subconscious.
Take Rembrandt's Danae, for example: with her doughy body, she does not look like a young woman. Or Peter Paul Rubens with his never-ending orgies by Bacchus revelers in the company of overripe beauties, who were definitely suffering from cellulite. Last, but not least, The Beauty by Boris Kustodiev: a large blonde nude filling the whole dimension of the canvas with her gorgeous white body.
Then, in sixth grade, you went with your schoolmates to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. It was there that—click!—the ideal of the female beauty got finally shaped in your subconscious! As if in a frame, just right! Bronze figures of Aristide Maillol's nude peasant women, thickset, wide-hipped—they stole the show, putting in the shade the academic ideals of female beauty which originated in Ancient Greece.
Later on, when I became an artist, I started calling my darlings Baroque Women. This style, the Baroque, replaced at some point the exalted, heavenward Gothic in architecture superseding the rational Renaissance. New forms were pleasing the eyes of world-weary Italians, both in the decors of the facades and in the splendid building interiors.
This style arrived in Russia quite a bit later emerging in a somewhat original form: in the "roaring 1990s" the so called Baroque Revival suddenly became the in thing for the "new Russians", those, who could get their fill of easy money. Thus faux-Baroque remake palaces mushroomed very quickly all around Moscow's suburbs.
…In those days, when we got together at Zhenya Berzarin's pad, there were many girls to choose from. Zhenya, a long-haired blonde guy, a hippie-cum-electrician with the local housing office, would chase anything that had a skirt on: he would invite all young women in the country to come to his fold. He called it "let's dance and relax a bit".
That night there were only two girls at his pad: Nadine with her lush, Kustodievan body and Zosya, who looked like a slender teenager. Both were trying to attract my attention, to impress me. Why me? That's simple: the party was held specially in my honor!..
"Yes, Alex, - I am whispering to myself now, - your subconscious made an error-free choice tilting towards the larger, perhaps slightly overripe figure that Nadine already had. She was the type of a woman that matched the matrix of your ideal which took shape in your childhood and adolescence."
And out of the corner of my eye I look at the naked Nadine sprawled next to me on the bed.
The Lord did a great job with his chisel when creating her splendid body.
Luba Medvedeva's face suddenly surfaces in my memory: it is contorted with a hysterical grimace. "What a freak you are, Alex!"
After gazing to my heart's content at the body which someone may regard as "non-classical", I recognize for the umpteenth time that it is ideal—for me. I cuddle up to Nadine, covering us with the blanket.
There's fall outside, yet my Nadine exudes vernal freshness, as after a spring rain. One may think that any moment now a rainbow might arise above us.
- What rainbow, Alex? – Nadine mumbles in her sleep. – Close your eyes, it's late night already…
- You're a freak, Alex, this is what you are! – Luba seems to be yelling outside.
Yet her voice is getting hollow, more and more hushed, and then my former classmate gets silent. And I start falling into the rainbow, into Nadine's freshness, into the vernal body of my beloved. This is, after all, a celestial flight—so the rainbow goes with it.
I am completely engulfed in experiencing the soar in the empyreal heights.
Even if I am a freak, I'm at least a happy freak!