When Celeste was 19, she traveled by train to Paris. It was the beginning of summer and she was leaving her childhood behind. She wanted this to be the start of her life. The point at which she began to truly live. She arrived in Paris on a Friday and on Saturday she began to work in a small café near the Seine. The owner gave her a small wage, but it included a small flat above the café. There was another woman working and living in the café also. Her name was Gitte and she was from Denmark. For 5 years she has lived in Paris. Gitte was to become her friend and confidant. Gitte, who was tall and very elegant looking, had come to Paris to model and in the process, had met an unusual assortment of the most colorful Parisians. All were artist or musicians, or writers. Gitte invited Celeste to a party given by an artist in his studio. His name was Umberto. He was half Italian and built like a small boxer. With dark eyes, a crooked nose and strong arms. Umberto took an immediate affection for Celeste. They toured his studio and he showed her some of his work. A great many pieces were unfinished. Umberto was a sculptor. He gave Celeste champagne. She found herself liking him. When the party was ending, she sought out Gitte and asked if it was safe to stay with Umberto a bit longer. Gitte was drunk.
“I trust him completely. He has a lovely touch” she said laughingly.
When everyone had left, Umberto sat Celeste on a low couch . He sat opposite on a chair. They talked. He told her of his sculptors, she told him of her dreams. They talked for an hour, never letting their eyes stray far from the others.
“I would like to sculpt you.” He said finally.
“I could not be a model Umberto, I know nothing of your world” she said, with this very desire rising inside of her.
He remained silent. She wondered if he would kiss her. Celeste laid on the couch, musing over his request. Umberto came and sat at her feet. She did not realize that Umberto had stopped talking altogether. He slipped off her shoes and ran his hands over her feet. He held her feet as if they were made of crystal. His hands were sweating. It was as if he was trying to coat her feet with a thin layer of paint. He caressed every part of her feet. At no time did his hands lose contact with her skin. Umberto slowly moved up both legs in this manner. No single part of her skin was left untouched. This was the adventure that Celeste craved. This was the life she wanted. Umberto had reached her hips.
“Please, may I take off your dress?” he asked.
A single “Yes”, was all she said.
She stood and he delicately removed her dress. She did not stop him as he continued to disrobe her. It was cool and she could feel the bumps rise on her skin. Umberto frowned.
“You must be smooth” he said.
He lit candles all around her a she laid on the couch, watching him. She warmed. Stoically, Umberto began as before, with the feet. The constant caresses caused a heat of their own. Slowly the warmth of his hands began to match the growing heat inside her. As he reached the apex of her legs, he gently caressed the curls of her sex. He continued to her waist. Here he lingered awhile.
“I must get this right”. He said.
No part of her torso was not caressed. Slowly, assuredly, he touched her with hands now hot from friction. His eyes fixed in concentration. Not a curve was missed, not a contour was left unexplored.
This is how Umberto sculpted. He used no models. He would mold his work until it gave him the same feeling and smoothness as he was getting from Celeste now. He did not work from memory, but from touch. Celeste was not aware of this. As Umberto reached her back, she was wild. The heat inside had built with every inch of skin that he touched. She wanted him to stop. She wanted him to show her the love that she so desperately needed, to at last, be free of her youth. She wanted him to be the guide, the compass on this uncharted landscape. The navigator of her journey from child to woman.
Umberto would not. To him, this was his work. It was too much, she begged him to stop, to make love to her. He would not. He was not finished. As he reached the nape of her neck, she could feel the climax. It wanted release. It wanted to be set free, but could not. The desire grew stronger. She could take it no longer. She stood up. By candlelight, her sweat was a thin sheen covering her body.
“Touch me please” she said.
He stared with angry eyes. “I cannot. But you can.” he said.
She did not want to do this herself. But her body yearned for completion. She slowly touched her own sex. Her hand shivered as she caressed her own sex lips. She had never before touched herself in the presence of another. She had to do it. As her body shuddered with the force of the long anticipated climax, she cried. Umberto was silent. She dressed and left without a word. As she walked to the café under a waking sky, she felt as if everyone who saw her, the street cleaners and the early morning workers, knew that she was not complete. Gitte was waiting for her. She knew.
“Why?” was all Celeste could say to her.
“If Umberto had made love to you that is all he would have remembered. He would not have been able to sculpt you. This way, when he works, he has the feel of your body only on his hands and not in his mind and on his lips. That is why there remains unfinished works in his studio. His hands forgot.”
Celeste did not like this. Gitte took her hand.
“Come with me” she said. “I will show you the way to be free.”
Celeste smiled as they went into her room and closed the door.