Just By Chance – Chapter 8

Kim carried a cup of espresso into the studio and was welcomed by the scent of turpentine and paint. She sat at the stool in front of the easel that held the painting she had been working on for the past six months and sipped her coffee, staring at the abstract oil painting that was supposed to be a self-portrait. All she saw were angles and arcs, but nothing cohesive. Sighing, she decided that the painting conveyed loneliness and confusion.  Maybe that’s not such a bad self-portrait after all, she thought.

She still had the headache she woke up with after a night of fitful sleep. She had dreamed about her father, and what he might look like today, where he might be. She remembered how he looked the last time she saw him when she was eight. Kim had dreamed about her father on occasion before, but after her miscarriage last year the dreams had become more frequent.

Born to an Italian-American father and a Chinese mother, her parents separated when she was seven years old and divorced a year later. Kim had always been close with her father, and could still feel his warm hugs and smiles after all these years. Her father had some contact with her during the separation, but unexpectedly disappeared after the divorce. His sudden disappearance was devastating to her. Kim lived with her mother after her parents split up. She had terrible memories of her cold, strict, and unaffectionate mother. Neither parent had ever explained to Kim why they divorced, and whenever Kim asked her mother, the reply was always the same: “Bad man…no good!” The way her mother would spit out those words with such anger and poison both frightened and saddened Kim, and she hated her for that. But not as much as she hated her for destroying all the pictures of her father…and leaving her with only an eight year-old’s memory.

The cell phone jolted Kim back into the present, the caller ID telling her that it was Nikki. “Hi, Nikki.”

“Hi. How are you feeling this morning?”

“Not sure. I didn’t sleep very well.”

“Any plans for today?”

“Not really. I’m going to try and finish a painting,” Kim said. “Then I’ll probably workout at the gym this afternoon if I feel up to it.”

“No work today?”

“I’m supposed to work a half day this afternoon, but I’m going to call in sick,” Kim said. “Things have been very slow at the art gallery, so it’s no big deal.”

Kim had always been good at art, but not good enough to make a living, and after graduating from college she quickly found that a degree in art history did not qualify her for very many jobs. For the last three years she worked part-time in a local art gallery and volunteered at the Boca Museum of Art. The money was nothing to write home about, but Kim loved being around art of all kinds.

“Listen, I’ve been worried about you after last night. I thought that maybe we could go see my friend Robyn. You’ve met her a few times before. She’s a lawyer. Maybe she could give you some advice.”

“You think I need a lawyer?”

“No, Kimmy, I don’t think you do, but it couldn’t hurt to talk to one, right?”

“But then she’ll know I’m an escort.”

“But she’s a lawyer, so she can’t tell anyone. They call it lawyer-client privilege or something.”

“I don’t know…” Kim said as an uneasy feeling washed through her.

“Well, it’s just an idea. I hate for you to be upset. Let me know if you change your mind.”

“Okay. Thanks.” Kim hung up the phone and threw it on her bed. A shiver ran down her spine.

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