Shoulder against the doorway to the Scene Shop, his tall, lean body (he’s 6’3) creates a practically perfect isosceles triangle with the door frame and floor. He has a cigarette in his left hand draped above his head on the door frame, and a paper cup of black coffee in his dangling right. Steam comes off the coffee cup top. Paul is on a break. Covered here and there with sawdust.
Heavy, leather, thick soled amber colored work boots, one lace untied, stop the flow of his hanging paint covered jeans, into the top of which a paint splattered white t-shirt is tucked. All is topped with a light blue denim work shirt, also striped with paint. There is paint on both hands as well. Pretty sure I see light colored paint spattering his wire-rimmed glasses.
Paul is all lean, straight angles. Incredibly sexy in that James Stewart way, with a body that implies a relaxed (he’s probably exhausted) take on the world around him. Lithe, muscular, ready for everything, but relaxed, as I said, in the anticipation of anything. His height, like a tall tree, is reassuring. He wears paint well. His dark hair, brown like a Hershey chocolate bar, is shiny and clean….no paint visible…odd. Paul stares out into the theatre space the Shop borders. He seems to be thinking of what he must do next. He looks decisive, like he’s figuring out the most efficient way to proceed.
Dark moustache, a la Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover. Dark brown eyebrows…his mop of hair, covering his forehead Beatles’ style, his eyebrows and moustache make a matched set. Those gold-rimmed glasses, that make him look slightly like a grandfather. Thin lips. Slightly hooked nose. Large, dark browneyes behind those glasses, with dark lashes. A handsome man, lithe and warming
• to smoke two packs of filtered Winstons a day. …I can only surmise he needed this nicotine fix because he worked in a theatre department scene shop and everyone smoked, a lot, to make up for their total lack of sleep. Heads wreathed in smoke, they seemed to be building scenery for one show or another all hours of the day and night. When did they sleep? They took time out for required classes. Otherwise, they lived in the shop. They were the Shop guys. Paul, Bob, Bruce, the other Bob.
• To drink cup after cup of dark black coffee…see above explanation. In our early days of getting acquainted, I don’t think I ever saw Paul without a cup of coffee in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Ever.
• Burgers at the local all- night hang out, The Embers….oh the diets of all of us in those days. The Embers’ waitresses became our family. They got to know Paul and Bob and Bruce and Freddy and me and other theater students so well, we didn’t even have to tell them what we wanted. They’d just start bringing over the plates of hot, crisp French fires and chocolate shakes, and knew exactly how we liked our burgers cooked, and with what fixin’s. Mayonnaise and mustard for me. Paul, ketchup.
• Shiny hair: with all that sawdust whirling around him at all times, his hair was nevertheless dark brown and shiny shiny shiny. Glassily. Don’t know how he managed that. It was a time of Beatle hair!
• Scotch and gallons of inexpensive wine…..that we would share every weekend with our best friend Bob and Kathy, a married grad student couple who, like us , were quite tall. When the four of us walked down the street together, picture four tall trees swaying in the breeze. And their dog Jasper.