”Do you want me to undress?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I said, “the photos will be much more interesting.”
It started innocently enough. Zelma, with her new apartment and keen eye for retro design, wanted a photo for her wall. Something nice, something retro. A subtle hint of her love for music, like maybe a super-sized photo of a violin, or why not sheet music, or vinyl records on the wall. I had a different suggestion.
And that’s why the very next day we were waist-deep in yellow wheat, Zelma with her violin and I with my camera. As we waded through the field, the dry wheat made a sound not entirely unlike 12,042 spiders crawling all over each other and I was absolutely sure that they were crawling up my leg, ready to drag me into a dark cave somewhere, feed me to their young and make my hair their living room.
I admit, I had a brief moment of panic, running around and screaming like a little girl. But Zelma assured me there weren't any spiders here (something that would later prove to be a blatant lie,) and we made our way into some kind of second-rate crop circle that formed a smallish flat surface in the rough shape of a Shetland pony, the wheat bent haphazardly every which way.
"This is perfect!" I announced.
Zelma turned in a slow circle with a disgusted look on her face, clearly thinking that this particular waste of a crop circle probably came to be when two deer got a little rowdy late the previous night. But she did raise her violin and started playing. Like, actually playing, not just posing. So there we were, in the cold fall air, in a muddy wheat field, right next to a busy road, cars on one side, curious moose on the other side, playing a violin and taking photos.
Occasionally we had to stop so Zelma could tune her violin, because when you’re playing for moose, pitch is important, but apart from a minor car crash that may or may not have been caused by Zelma playing in the third position on the E string, things went very well. I told her to turn this way and that way, and then hopped this way and that way myself when she wouldn’t listen.
Oh, and the undressing? Completely her idea.