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Short story no. 202. April 3, 2006.

The whole thing had been a set-up. The relationship my girlfriend conducted with me at that time, was cleverly designed to show her ex-girlfriend that she was able to change. The theatre play was a success. Her ex-girlfriend came back to get her. They got married and now live in a cottage in Cornwall.

In my new attic I found a sheep, breathing heavily. It was warm under the roof. I wasn’t surprised to find a sheep in my attic. Well, maybe I was, but I remember dealing with it like any other problem in my life until now: I thought of a practical solution.
I pushed the animal down the stairs. I didn’t know anything about sheep. I named it Dolly. A sheep needs a name like that, I thought. It was summer and it had a thick fleece. She needs to be shaved, I concluded.
I went through some drawers and found an electric shaver, one especially for women. I think Dolly appreciated that. I got creative, and I tried to shave a logo that my friend graffiti sprayed on the public walls of Porto in her fight against illegalness of abortions. It wasn’t very recognisable.
I decided to take Dolly to an ecological farm run by women, like in the television series I sometimes watched. I thought this was the best place for Dolly to stay. They asked me what happened to its fleece. They agreed the logo wasn’t very recognisable.

In the new city in which I was living, I found one friend. She was great. We went for beers in the local gay pub. She taught me how to play backgammon. Sometimes we played backgammon on watercolours of backgammon boards, which I had started to paint. She talked about the archaeological project she was working for and the power strategies of each of her supervisors. I told her about how to prepare watercolour paper before painting on it and how I had fallen in love with my supervisor once.
We started to borrow each other’s books. Immediately after finishing Frances Gapper’s Absent Kisses, I needed to reread it. This displeased my friend. Always choosy about the novels I advised her, she seemed eager to read this one. After rereading Gapper, I wanted to keep the book close to me. I didn’t tell my friend, but started to send scanned pages of the stories to her work email address. Each week I sent her one story. Maybe she thought it was mean of me. She never mentioned it.

In her enthusiasm for backgammon my friend came up with the idea to organize backgammon evenings. I loved it. For me it was a perfect way to show my works to an audience. One month later there was the First International Backgammon Competition Evening to be held in the local gay pub. A couple of friends celebrated the kick-off together with us by moving the buttons on the water coloured paper boards. Years later a famous Italian art critic and curator referred to our backgammon evenings as peripheral art activities. I invited him and said that by inviting him I wasn’t being very peripheral. He said he knew, but came anyway. Actually, this story is for him.

After our first backgammon competition my friend and I decided to grow old together. To accomplish this we agreed that we both needed to be in a relationship with stable partners. I fell in love with an English teacher. When she saw my paintings, I said: “I am sorry, but I will not use you as a model, because I think it is unhealthy to use other people for inspiration.” She understood. She said she didn’t like playing charades herself. I taught her how to play backgammon. I was glad she liked that.
The English teacher was perfect for me. Once in a while I was worried for her, when she attracted people who thought she needed to be taken care of. I called them the weirdo’s. Usually they didn’t like me. Why didn’t she get rid of them? Was she reinforcing the idea that she needed to be taken care of? Why? I think I was a weirdo once, long before I met my English teacher.

My friend’s partner didn’t like backgammon. She did like drinking beer and being the most loyal visitor to the competition evenings, she often volunteered to be the referee.

This was one of my life stories. I hope you like the next one as well.

Second International Backgammon Competition Evening
March 28 2006, Leiden (NL)
4 watercolours 32,5x25cm

utopias in words, utopias in painting(s)

Why do I read articles and books of people who accuse feminists of ideological rigidity and mental pretzels?
Especially when they're not reading any of mine.

I will understand your behaviour only the moment I have experienced what you

Suzanne van Rossenberg ©2006