There are few things as useless as the hobbies of a middle-aged man who has enough money to last a few generations of blatant misuse, but somehow, in my case, it all ended out very well.
It all began one fine evening, on the eve of my fortieth candle-blowing occasion. I was the proud owner of a fine yacht, the Sundari, and it was decided that the momentous anniversary of my birth was to be a private affair, with just the three of us in attendance; I mean, it's all fun when someone else is the forty-'something', but when it is your turn, suffice to say I didn't want to be reminded of the fact that I was getting wiser.
My wife is a great cook, but my daughter, the twenty-two year old vixen who had just moved back into the city, could put her to shame. I am not exaggerating when I say that she can cook meat into last year's turkey; you get the picture.
Now if she was a tigress with the apron, she was an even more accomplished woman without it. She was only slightly shorter than I, but the sizable mounds on her chest made her seem a lot more 'oomphy,' and it's a fact that she turns more than her share of heads, male and female, wherever she goes. Only, unlike much of the cosmetic beauty that we see nowadays, this Blue-cross member is as natural as they get.
Brown hair, blue eyes, dimples, melting glances, bubbly, slim and single. Is it any wonder then that I am the proudest man for being her father?
Now, her mother. That woman ain't an outdated piece either; to me, she is just as beautiful now as she was the day at the altar, and although the years had added a couple of wrinkle and more than a couple of pounds, she is still an incredibly sensuous animal who has no problem driving me crazy in the bedroom.
While I steered out Sundari into the languid waters a mile into the ocean, the two women in my life cooked up a meal befitting a royal entourage, with everything from hors d'evoures and vegetable soup, and of course, with the piece d' grace that was my fav, a nice, big, cheesy cheeseburger with the works. You can say anything, but my stomach doesn't feel fed without at least one chunk a day of the junk food.
It was a very pleasant evening, dinner was excellent and the fact that I was having it with the two people who meant everything to me - I didn't regret for a moment that my birthday was just among the three of us.
Painting had been something of a childhood hobby of mine, but an early marriage at seventeen had ruled out all avenues for pursuing that indulgence, but now, as the eccentricity of the rich permits, I was dreaming of taking up the easel and the brushes once again.
"What are you thinking about, darling?" It was the silky voice of my wife Elena that broke into my contemplation of transferring the moon's reflection onto a canvas.
"Drawing," I replied, smiling at the woman as she snuggled beside me on the leather seat atop the pilot's cabin. Across us, my daughter, the ever-beautiful Monica, settled herself on the seat, leaning back against the railing as she watched us. Expressions of love weren't a thing of occasion. in our home, so there wasn't much embarrassment in the air when Elena and I kissed passionately, right in front of her.
"Do you remember the first time you drew me?" my wife asked, cheekily grazing my erection, a wide grin on her face.
"Yup," I replied, casting a sideways glance at my daughter who, I knew, was storing any stray piece of info for future use while blackmailing me or while the two picked on me. She was far from dependent, with her own ad-agency, but she seemed not to mind in indulging every father's need to be the resilient figure in his child's life.
"I don't," interrupted Monica, grinning back at us. "So why don't you two remember it for me?"
Ordinarily, we wouldn't. Those had been the wild years, and one careless action had led to another, and in her formative years, we hadn't wanted our daughter to think that such reckless love was always a success - indeed, our marriage and the strong love therein was more the exception rather than the rule, but you can't expect an adolescent to show the maturity of that understanding.
Over the years, though, the questions had ceased, answers found in other forms in less alarming ways, and my wife and I had silently heaved a sigh of relief.
Perhaps it was the innocuous manner in which it had been put forward. Or, perhaps, the fresh sea-winds had loosened out tongues. Or, maybe, simply, my wife had had enough of the bush-beating. We ended up telling her everything.
With a sigh that brought out a giggle from our daughter, Elena began her recollection. "We were both sixteen at the time, closer to seventeen actually, when there was this public exhibition for art at the local museum. Your father wanted to participate, and God knows how he talked me into modeling for him. Before I knew it, the man had me strip down to nothing and pose like a Greek Goddess."
"Which was perfect," I took over, "I mean, with her blond hair and - ahem - untrimmed bush," at this, my wife blushed and nudged me rather powerfully in the ribs, but I continued, "Her exotique was almost too much to capture on canvas, and it took me two hours to finish just the pencil sketch of her body -"
"He was drooling on me all the while."
"I was, and if I remember correctly, you weren't being any forbidding, either. You used to scratch your stomach and lower in a very suggestive manner -"
"You started it!"
"Cool it, you two," Monica broke in, laughing hard at how silly the two of us were being, also perhaps at how silly we had been at that age. "All I wanted was an account, not a debate!"
"And after two hours of keeping the same pose, my muscles started to get sore. You don't know how relieved I was when he allowed me to sit down for a couple of minutes. Personally, I think he wanted me naked without seeming pushy, and poor old me, being the naive girl that I was, did not understand the ways of boys and men at that age." She grinned at me.
"Your mother was so naive," I countered, "That she even made me massage her shoulders when she sat, claiming that her muscles were cramped, acting so goody-goody that I couldn't tell her that my fingers hurt just as much, if not more, and pretty soon, this old guy was massaging her shoulders.
"And she hadn't even offered to throw something on, just sat there enjoying in all her naked glory. If that ain't naivete, I don't know what is," I finished sarcastically.
"Then, one thing, like the cliche goes, led to another, and the next thing we know, we were in each other's arms, spent after making love for over an hour. We didn't know it then, but you were conceived around that time. It was only when your mother slapped me across the face a couple of months later that I learnt the truth."
"And being the gentleman that he thinks he is, your father offered to marry me. Our parents didn't have much of a say in the matter, and just a month before you were born, we got married at the local church."
"Not a bad story," remarked Monica, "Too bad I didn't take up Art in College."
"That was precisely the reason we haven't told you all this before," my wife explained, "You might have gotten the wrong idea."
"Maybe," our daughter replied, a naughty smile on her face, "Maybe not!"
My wife's mobile chose that moment to ring its presence, with the bad news that Elena was wanted at her office for an urgent contract or something, and the disappointment that rent the air was pretty well evident all the way back ashore. However, rather than go back home, my wife insisted that Monica and I spend the night on the yacht. She promised to see if she could make it aboard the following day.
We dropped anchor around two miles offshore this time. Not that it is of any significance, but it was definitely far away from the maddening crowds.
Having nothing else to do, and with Elena gone home, there wasn't a subject for me to paint, I started to read a paperback when Monica came up, holding up a necklace of her mother's. "How do I look, Daddy?" she asked brightly, modeling with the jewelry around her neck in an apparent effort to cheer me up.
"Beautiful," I replied truthfully, "Very vibrant." With the moonlight glinting off the stones and shining into her face, it was indeed a very beautiful sight to behold. Pleased, Monica sat down beside me and snuggled up against me just like her mother had an hour ago. I wrapped an arm around her lovingly before returning to the novel.
I had thought my daughter had fallen asleep when she spoke. "I noticed that you had all your drawing apparatus ready downstairs."
"Huh huh," I nodded, not wanting to let her know that I had been planning on making a nude Maja of my wife again.
"You know, Daddy, I have never actually posed for anyone. You know what I mean?"
Abruptly, she pulled herself up and away, so that she could look at me while she spoke. "How about it, Daddy? Why don't you draw a portrait - make that a full draw - of me?"
That piqued my interest. Like I said, next to my wife and kid, art was the great passion. Nothing like observing life for hours on end to reproduce it on a piece of white paper to capture its essence. Besides, I didn't want to be too morose in front of Monica.
"Sure," I said, the enthusiasm catching on at the sight of her infectious smile, "Why not? Do you have anything particular in mind?"
"Huh huhm! Now that you mention it, I do have something in mind. Have you seen the Titanic?"
"Something like that," she continued, "Would you mind?"
.... There is more of this story ...