For five years, Charles paints pictures of a slender teenaged girl whose face is never fully revealed. Sometimes, there is the jut of her shoulder blades on a low halter dress or an ankle lifted to better show off the gemstone set in the center of her heel. The hair is bobbed, long, or curled, but always the same wispy blond of fading sunlight.
His patrons think she is a past lover, a child lost too soon to the world, his soul trying on a new identity, a new gender. But she is his mother as he does not know her, for no child can know their mother as the child she was, once upon a time.
In that, Charles (even unwanted, abandoned) is reassured that he is just like all other sons.