For this activity, we were asked to use Somerset Maugham's portrait of one woman's contrasting traits as a model for our own sketch of conflicting character traits in someone we know. I used the girl I shared a room with for part of first year at university - a girl I couldn't stand and was glad to see the back of! Though I have exaggerated her somewhat, I do think this captures her quite well. Here she is in all her glory:
I was born two hours away. From here it takes forty-five minutes to drive to my parents’ house. No way around it, I’m a local girl. She comes from the sun. From the States. Warm beaches and palm trees. She has worked for Vogue in the summer and her parents have money. She is foreign and exotic. She is self-possessed and confident. Head high, hips swinging, perfectly put together. She flits across the cobbles, unfazed by the rolling, broken street beneath her designer heels. Jogs in the morning, clad in form-fitting, perfectly matching sportswear, sleekly ponytailed hair swinging behind in perfect time as she bounds, breath falling and rising. Sharp red streaks down her legs, golden highlights around her face. She is early-rising, late-dancing, never tired, always fresh. Knows intimately places I have never heard of. Commands men who don’t register my presence. She has glamour.
She drinks while she dances. Watched closely by the owner, then clutched and steered past the doors by a bouncer. She brings men back after a few hours. She cries, confused, when they do not call. She has me hold her, two in the morning, grey-faced and depressed, denounced as a drunk and a whore. She is surrounded by cackling hordes, ranged around the bar, swapping sexual details of men whose surnames they never knew. There is something vulgar about her.