She didn’t like to cry in public but the work reminded her so powerfully of that time. A bus ride into the centre of Coventry on a grey, grey day. Finding the courage to ask for directions to the gallery. Breathing deeply as she went in. Was she even allowed in this place? Were her shoes too cheap? Her hair too unwashed? Her mind too shallow?
Her first time in an art gallery. She went to the Ladies. Adjusted her top. Her shoddy top that she had to wear so the bruises on her arms didn’t show. Did her best with hair and make-up. Went into the first room. And had a revelation that was like a thunderclap.
She shakes herself. Goes to the Ladies. Sniffs. Repairs the make-up. Shakes her expensively nuanced hair into place. Rejoins the hovering escort from the public relations firm. Smiles.
“Ready?” A professionally soft lilting voice. “Yes, ready”. The woman presses, the button, calls the lift. The door opens and let them in, opens and lets them out. The usual cameras and noise. Glasses ranked on the long zinc bar. She goes to the podium. Prepares to speak.