Some Things Never Fade

By Rebecca Lüps

o here I am in famous Mont­martre next to 50 oth­er unknown artists who all do the same thing – draw famous peo­ple. Iron­ic, isn’t it? It’s Octo­ber, and the leaves are fad­ing. I call it fade, not fall because when you stand on this moun­tain all year long, you see how every­thing fades away. The view is fad­ing, the heat is fad­ing, the cus­tomers are fad­ing. What can I say, you get used to it.

The first years, I still shaved and kept my hair short, but you let go of those van­i­ties after a few cold win­ters out here. And you real­ize: Nobody cares. The only thing your cus­tomers care about is that you’re wear­ing a beret. I guess they think it’s art­sy and French. Hypocrites.

The air is crisp, and I’ve got to con­cen­trate pret­ty hard on keep­ing my strokes steady. I take a sip from my ther­mos to warm up a lit­tle more. I love the burn­ing warmth that stretch­es from my throat to the pit of my stom­ach. My cus­tomer, an elder­ly guy with a beret and a Burber­ry coat that looks like it’s been passed down for gen­er­a­tions, seems to find silence uncom­fort­able and tries to make small talk. He asks for my name as if he knows that André Durant was only a fake name. I think for a sec­ond. Prob­a­bly he wants me to have a French name, you know, for the hol­i­day mem­o­ries, but I don’t wan­na give him that satisfaction.

“Bob,” I answer.

“Like Bob Ross?” the guy asks.

“Yes. Like Bob Ross.” Uncom­fort­able silence.

Maybe you can tell – Bob is also not my real name. My name is Jude. Like Jude Law, which would be kind of OK I guess, except it’s not. I’m not named after Jude Law – which would also be weird, since he wasn’t even born when I was born – but after Judy Gar­land. It will prob­a­bly not come as a sur­prise to you that my moth­er is slight­ly obsessed with her.

Speak­ing of my moth­er, the truth is she nev­er want­ed a kid. But lat­er, she found at least one perk about becom­ing one: She could name her child after her idol, her madon­na, her kin­dred spir­it. But I did not turn out to be a girl – prob­a­bly the first dis­ap­point­ment in a long string of dis­ap­point­ments for my moth­er. And instead of com­ing up with anoth­er name, she insist­ed on call­ing me Judy. On paper it says Jude, but she kept call­ing me Judy. Why couldn’t she have just got­ten a tat­too or something?

So, in a nut­shell, on a list of things that I hate, the top 3 would be:

My name

Judy Gar­land

My moth­er

But I tru­ly believe that my biggest inspi­ra­tion – my muse and my kryp­tonite – is exact­ly this hate list. I want­ed to leave home as soon as pos­si­ble and change my name. And when I found out that artists don’t use their real names any­way, becom­ing one seemed like a good career choice. And guess who I’m draw­ing right now. Exact­ly. Judy Garland.

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Car­la Rebec­ca Lüps is a busi­ness stu­dent at Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty, Lüneb­urg. She likes to take cours­es that focus on ecol­o­gy, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and for­eign lan­guages. When she’s not at the uni­ver­si­ty, you can prob­a­bly find her in her nat­ur­al habi­tat (the cof­fee shop), or out­side enjoy­ing a game of table tennis.