“It’s not what it looks like.” Phyllis stepped to her left to block my view. But I’d already seen enough.
“Oh, I think it is,” I said.
She was hard to read, sort of nervous but excited; standing there, in the shed, she looked vulnerable but…alive.
The shed, her Derek’s shed. He’d have been delighted to know that all his woodworking tools, his chisels, lathes and clamps, had found a good home at the Community Craft Centre. But it would’ve saddened him to know it had taken his widow three long, wretched years to step inside his shed and start to dispose of all his things.
But, here she was and here was…
“I didn’t expect you so soon,” Phyllis said.
“Clearly,” I observed.
“I just need a bit more time to…”
“What, Phyllis? Tell me.”
“I don’t know. It’s not working. It’s hopeless, I can’t do it.”
“Come on, buck up. We’re on this learning curve together and I’m not going to let you give up easily.”
It’d taken me months of nagging and cajoling to get Phyllis to enrol on the course with me but she finally did and very soon we got the bug. We needed a space for all our gear and to practice what we learned each week and, well, Derek’s shed was the obvious solution.
“What’s it supposed to be?” I asked, tentatively. You know artists and their egos, as fragile as a piece of porcelain.
“A vase?” she offered.
“A vase?” I repeated.
“Well, what d’you think it looks like?”
She was smearing wet clay across her cheeks as she wiped away her tears but she was laughing, crying with laughter, and I knew then that she was going to be OK.
“It looks like a phallus, Phyllis.”