The Wanderings of Amy Ch. 15


Suzanne, who had spent her college years learning how to heal the human body, was repulsed by the torture portrayed by Wendy being inflicted on herself. However, she found herself fascinated by the power of the images and Wendy's obvious talent.

Suzanne looked up at her model, who was staring straight at her. Wendy's expression clearly indicated that she hoped that Suzanne could help her. Suzanne was not sure what to say to Wendy. The pictures spoke for themselves. Finally she forced herself to speak.

"Wendy, I don't know what to tell you. I'm grateful that you shared these with me." Suzanne searched for something positive to say about the pictures.

"Your work is very good. The self-portraits are as good as anything in this style I've seen that's been published."

Suzanne's attention returned to some of the self-portraits done by Wendy. In spite of the obvious difference in styles, the pictures reminded her tremendously of the self-portraits done by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She thought about her comment about publishing. She had good rapport with her editor. Maybe she could get him to publish some of Wendy's work.

Suzanne's thoughts returned to Frida Kahlo. Wendy was still staring at her.

"Wendy, do you know who Frida Kahlo was?"

Wendy thought for a second, then shook her head. "I've heard the name, but I don't know what she did."

"She was a Mexican artist who died of cancer. She was as obsessed with her own suffering as you are with yours, and it came out in her work. Your pictures remind me of Frida's. Tomorrow we'll stop at a book store so I can show you her work. You need to see it."

The next day Suzanne and Wendy visited a bookstore on their way back to Chicago. Wendy looked intently at Frida Kahlo's pictures, slowly turning the pages. Suzanne ended up buying Wendy the book that had the most complete collection of Kahlo's work, and a separate biography. For almost all of the rest of the trip back, Wendy was engrossed in the images. She especially paid close attention to Kahlo's paintings of herself dismembered. Kahlo's most morbid pictures struck home with Wendy.

Suzanne decided to invite Wendy to dinner and to stay with her overnight at the apartment, since Amy still was in Pennsylvania with Paul. Wendy gladly accepted, not wanting to be alone. Suzanne massaged Wendy, which seemed to calm her down somewhat.

When Suzanne finally went to bed, Wendy sat at the kitchen table looking at Frida Kahlo's paintings again. Then she started to draw. The tortured images in her own mind spilled out onto sheet after sheet. She was still drawing the next morning when Suzanne got up. Suzanne prepared breakfast as Wendy continued to draw. Finally she asked Wendy to stop and eat.

Suzanne looked at the new batch of pictures. These pictures were even more morbid than the ones she looked over two days before. The image that most disturbed Suzanne was one of Wendy's corpse, lying on its back, tied by the hands and feet to a blackjack table. Wendy's stomach had been cut open and her body was filled with cards, money, and casino chips. Suzanne had a hard time looking at the image without getting sick.

Suzanne realized what was happening. Strangely relieved, she saw this as a good sign. Wendy was venting her self-hatred through her art.

"Wendy, I want to borrow your work. I have an idea."


Suzanne's next book turned out to be her most successful, and her most controversial. Several casinos sued her publisher, unsuccessfully, to keep it from being distributed in Nevada. Robert's partner, the one who had defended Amy from her shoplifting charges, argued the case for Suzanne's publisher. Robert's partner was at the peak of her courtroom performance, savagely confronting the highly-paid casino attorneys. Suzanne, for the first time in her career, had to deal with a large amount of hate mail.

The book's title was simply "Wendy". Half of the images in the book were not Suzanne's photos; they were Wendy's drawings. In page after page, Wendy's tormented face stared out at the viewer from both Suzanne's black & white photos and Wendy's Anime images. Suzanne supplemented her photos of Wendy with ones of gambling equipment and casinos. Both Suzanne and Wendy wrote essays for the book, which Amy edited to make flow better.

With the success of her friend's joint book with Suzanne, Amy had hopes that perhaps Wendy had recovered from her urge to gamble. At the end of the summer Amy asked Wendy if she wanted her family's pendant back and resume control of her own finances. Wendy thought about it for a moment, then sadly shook her head no.

The success and controversy of "Wendy" forced the book's subject to finally face her parents with her gambling addiction. It was a hard blow for them. Wendy openly admitted that she was not sure if she could ever take over the family business. She certainly would not be able to take over any time soon. The only thing she could do was continue her studies, go to counseling, and hope for the best.

This did not sit well at all with Wendy's parents. Her father, who had carefully re-invested everything he earned, was stupefied at the thought of $ 60,000, gone, just like that. It just goes to show you can't trust women with money. Wendy's mother glared at her. She had spent her life trying to convince Wendy's father to change his hostility towards women in business and his disbelief in their competency in general. In a flash Wendy had destroyed everything she had accomplished with her husband. It was Wendy's mother who announced Wendy's punishment.

"You are not fit to stay in this country. You will go back to Taipei, and my brother will find you a husband."

Wendy said nothing, but that night packed some of her clothes and fled to Amy's apartment. Amy tried as best she could to comfort her.

Wendy stayed up all that night drawing. The product of her night's work was a detailed image of her family pendant, broken into pieces and splattered with blood.

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