Chapter 6 (Epilogue)
Pack rang the doorbell to Betty's house on Saturday morning and a few minutes later, she answered the door.
"Hello, Pack," she said.
"Hi, Betty," Pack replied nervously, not sure what to expect. Were they still on the rocks? Did she need more time? Was it over between them, no longer Class Couple?
Betty led him to the sunporch. Pack noticed that the house was unusually quiet.
"Where is everybody?" He wondered.
"The mall," Betty answered. "I opted out."
There was a painting on the easel, but it was turned backwards. "I painted you something," she said. "But it's temporary."
"Oh," Pack said, slightly confused as he took a seat on the loveseat.
"I've been thinking about stuff," She said as she stood by the easel. "How we've been taught that the naked body is an obscene stimulus for sexual lust. That the lewdness of nudity makes it a moral transgression to allow naked bodies to be seen."
"I guess," Pack said with a confused shrug.
"But how can I reconcile that as an artist?" Betty asked. "An artist is trained to see that something beautifully designed by our Creator was never intended to become what some of what society has made of it."
"I suppose," Pack agreed with uncertainty.
"Society has unfairly sexualized the human body so that we think of nakedness as it relates to erotic titillation instead of just art," she said. "But there's nothing indecent about our God-given anatomy. It's all very ordinary and natural. Why did we make it shameful?"
"I don't know," Pack admitted.
"This isn't to say that I'm for porn or sexual exploitation," Betty insisted. "But I'm for the liberation of the naked human body from social shame."
"Because you're an artist," Pack realized.
"Yes," she said. "And because I realized that I frustrated you for being so close- minded."
"You have a right to your values," Pack said.
"I painted you this," she said, turning the painting around so he could see it.
Pack's eyes went wide when he saw that it was two nudes of…..Betty! One was from the back, her lying nude on her stomach on a sea of grass looking back over her shoulder at the viewer, the other full frontal with her standing knee deep in a blue pond of water, her head turned sideways.
"What do you think?" Betty asked.
"I think this is beautiful," Pack replied, his throat tight.
"I asked Angie to take a couple of photos of me so I could capture my image right," she revealed.
"Angie?" Pack asked with surprise.
"Part of my rehabilitation," Betty remarked. "Forgiveness is a two way street."
"Do you forgive me?" Pack asked, his voice breaking.
"Will I be able to trust you again is the bigger question," she admitted.
"I understand, Pack sighed.
" Anyway, I painted these from the photos Angie took."
"You're a talented artist," Pack told her.
"Yes, but what do you think of me as a model?" She grinned.
"I think you're beautiful," Pack said as he stood and stepped closer to her. "I'm sorry I betrayed you."
"I am too," she replied. "But I'm willing to forgive you."
"Thank you," Pack said, sweeping her up into a needed embrace.
"Do you know what this means?" Betty wanted to know.
"What?" Pack wondered.
"We're Class Couple," she said as she clung to him.