house in the prairie.jpg So. Eventually it turns out to be a love story. There is a pile of beautiful moments in my life. There is a pile of beautiful photographs at There is a girl and there is another girl and there is a camera. And everything is fine. I do not know if this is the present-present, the present-past, the present-perfect, or the present ever-continuous. But I am preserving all of this. And when I look back it will be with an emotion so strong and true that it would sweep me away like a lover・s arms and hold me there, in the past, for a second, before everything goes dim again and I will be faced with the friendly glare of the mid-day sun, which is now, and which will never be forever, not till my veins run dry and the rings on my fingers grow into colourful little monsters, their brightness mocking the dryness of my skin. As they shine brighter and more crazily my arms will droop and tremble and fade, until the beginnings of bones show, a little apologetically, beneath its parcel of skin And this is why I take photos. This is why, even though my fingers tremble and I could not look at the world without squinting, I hold the camera at arms・ length, close to my eyeballs ,against my skin and I click, and click and click. She lay at the bottom of my drawer, with a self-conscious smile, her hands placed on her hips, striking a half-pose which never quite became her. She was serious, but here in the photo nothing seems to betray that fact; her smile warded off everything, the sun, the surrounding scenery, the curious passers-by, so that she became a blur, a bundle of energy. Her youth was powerful, and overpowering; I saw in the blur not a failed photograph but an accidental masterpiece. I hoped and I thirsted, and I felt a physical sensation pass through me, so that I felt it as keenly as if I had seen a THING in a nightmare. Her fingers I kept in a separate place, my heart. The key to that is lost, and would never be found. I have buried it under a tree, under a sign which says, in neat script, .Do not take photos・. I have been entranced by a rose-bush beside it, and, dreading Exposure by some unwanted passer-by; I had buried them with cruel delight , scrabbling at the ground, until it opens. In the natural light it looks like a neat wound, which I could stitch back into place, and which would never show except under certain chemicl conditions. The veins are quite, quite dead like the roots of the oak which stood above her, the nerves severed. They bore no evidenc eof the places they have touched. I used gloves when I buried it, to prevent myself from feeling, and because I wanted to keep her far, far, far away from the chemical glow of the outer world; I want her to have her own grave. I want it to be unmarked. I do not want those fingers to touch me again. Instead, I wanted a photo of her hair blowing in the breeze; I wanted to frame that serious smile within my lenses. I wanted to see that face which never blushes, not even in danger not even when charmed. I do not want her to say those words: .I love you.・ I wanted the sublime version of the truth, I wanted pain, skilful and simple, to airbrush out those magic moments when happiness is so imminent that they implode, scattering. I wanted her, but only in the distance, waving and smiling at me like one encountering an old friend in a dream. In hindsight. In retrospect. I dare not cry at those words, which are so beautiful and yet so sensible; they begin a story but they tell you a fact. I had been a tourist. Had been a mayor, guarding that small town where rainbows come every ten years, and where people crowd and cry and stare as the colours settled primly across the sky. I had been a trespasser, walking on grass when there was a sign above, clearly saying: .Don・t tread on the grass・. I have been a nobody, the photographer without talent; the pianists whose fingers lay dead at the piano, the driver who plunges into lamp-posts in fits of self-destruction. I have met time, who was without beauty, without energy, and who stood limply at the edge of the picture in a pose so ordinary I mistook Her from one of those passers-by. But I lack perspective. Ten years from now. Would you know? And in that dreamscape where parts of her body were buried, and which her memory occasionally brings back, I stood there, taking it all in,. I pushed my fingers inside my coat pocket; searching for my camera. It was her turn to squint at me, to tremble, and, in the end, to back away. .Do I know you?・ Her voice sounds so much posher, her dress simpler, yet much more sophisticated. I remembered she used to like bright colours, bold designs, colours and patterns she could not quite carry off, except with a sort of wounded intelligence, which I guess passed for defiance. .No, .m afraid you don・t.・ .But I do.・ She searched around. .I have this photoK・ She seems to realize she was walking away, and, embarrassed, reached into her pocket. .Don・t take it out. Please.・ I started to talk very fast, and at the same time to walk away. I do not want this conversation. But I wanted to talk to her. I love this garden. But I am terrified of this tree. This is a nightmare. But this is not even my dream. How do I know its・ a nightmare? AND IS IT hers or mine? .I・m yours・ she said suddenly. The world ended at that. The sun set. I woke up. No, I thought, I had never really been asleep. It was just a day dream after all. I was never a good photographer, even though I needed my camera. I could not capture the splendour of the sunset; it comes out looking awkward, and boastful. I could never make my friends look prettier; their wrinkles showed, not in that harsh way which showed the ravages of time so poetically, but as flaws, worryingly tugging at the edges of my subjects・ beauty, making them look, old, frayed and sorry for themselves. They shouted at me for making them ugly; but they were by no means ugly in those photos; they were just ordinary. Theirs was the grimness that belongs to the guest bedroom, to the unmade bed, to the kitchen sink, and not the gallery. It is a grimness which is aimless and is everywhere. There was a reality which was unlit by flash, left to be fitted snugly into the corners of photo albums. There was a depression which came across, not as a darkly-crested wave, but as weak tea. To be mopped away. .Therapy,・ she said, she said I need therapy. It occurred to me that she never stared anything, no demanded anything,she just said things, and then she looks away. Her hair was falling into her face. She pushes it away. She does not believe that things will make sense when it is over. She does not like the word over, mistrusted it, saw it as a blank to be painted over, not dodged, or escaped from. She thought it would harm me, thought I would harm myself. She threw herself around me in a careful embrace and told me she wanted me, again, and again, unblushing, her gaze determined to face and evade losses she had lost count o.. .Have a chocolate・ I told myself, reaching into my own pocket. I looked at the world, mottled with sun, I look at myself, in the mirror, and I realize I am not old, not fat, not anything, really. If I were fat I could join a fat persons・ club. If I were old I would demand that the young love me more and better, in more creative ways. If I were more talented I will run away and turn my life into some unusable and beautiful; I will lie on the grass and dream. I will quiet my job and hope, and hope and hope, as if that was the most natural thing to do. But; as the pictures in my drawer show; I don・t have a talent. I don・t even have a lover.What I have is a hobby. I have daydreams, without any use. I have a camera which never quite became me, in the same way she never quite became me, yet whose absence was felt. A need which could not be translated into tender words, a need which does not ever rhyme. She was there. I was there.I have my hobby to prove this, dozens of old photos stocked away somewhere, I don・t want to remember where. There was a bench, and she knew it was me, although she didn・t turn around. I stopped her by snapping her back, and her head, half-turned, seems to open like cauliflower. We walked. I took a photo of a blackbird, we laughed, shared something essential which, in hindsight (in retrospect, which looks better? More poetc? Less pedestrian?) seems painfully ordinary.When you put things more concisely they either lose what it is that makes them beautiful, or they become so sharp that their beauty bursts out, and hurts. It・s either this or that. And with her and me it・s both, and they・re both the same; it looks so ordinary, yet with that ordinariness comes a pain that・s both nasty and a surprise, and every time I look at it I look at it I・ll turn to my palm, and broken blood vessels and the sunny end of hospitals appears. Somehow, My perspective never allows me to see Death fully-clothed in her finery, red dress and light earrings and sure, skilful fingers; I see depression which dims and dims until you mistook light for darkness, and the doctor・s fingers, and the empty bottle, and your old lovers appearing one by one as if they were merely passers- by. They nod at you and you think: where is Death? She is supposed to be beautiful, and flawless. I would have like to met her. And then right before the end, before sleep hits you like a bullet, you think: But I did meet her. Only it wasn・t a he ,or a her,or an it. It is a situation, without pronouns, or description. Every moment has a potential for beauty, especially .in hindsight, in retrospect・. But nothing comes easily. I have weird drams. That doesn・t mean I・m artistic. I saw a sunset, thought it is beautiful, but it could quite easily have been that my vision is compromised, and flawed, flawed by my desire to hold her while at the same time to hold her off as arm・s length. And when I stare into the future all I see is a blur, no, a blank space, and if I look closer, I saw grids which turn out to be faint lines drawm there by an architect; I saw people who look like people but who disintegrate into pixels, I saw ghosts who had wandered from the past, and who turned out to be photocopies of themselves. I will look at the sun and realize that it was never fatal, despite my visions; how could it be? It was just a chemical glow after all; all worlds are the same, the moon, Mars the past and the present. Perpective ruins everything yet holds everything, and we swing backwards and forwards as if pushed by a stranger who feels strangely familiar. I trembled, and squinted. Imagination has made our fingers grow flabby, our smiles weak, and in the end things fade to a blank, a nosebleed of light, deleted scenes. The future is this. And this is it. That is why, in the end, I took a photograph of it. The light is coming from the wrong source, and I know by instinct that it will be burnt. It doesn・t really matter. Should I be sad? But when the past holds me too closely, I will need this. I will need to bring my eyes to this photo and see what I need to see. Which is: Nothing. At. All. And when all else has failed, I have my heart to return to. It is pink, and the blood which flows through it is normal, type B blood, light, lighter than the weight of fingers on skin, and it flows without drama. Or, rather, when everything is over my heart will be returned to me, still preserved in its original bloody state, pumping franticallyf I do not want which one of the above is correct.. But I will have to start thinking for myself, before my fingers grew stiff; before I start weeping at ordinary phenomenons like the sun setting into the sea.
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