and now, for your birthday present:
notes: i woke this morning with a jolt. after spending a good part of last night alternating between winterson’s ‘lighthousekeeping’ and thoughts of what to do for your birthday, it was only this morning that this occurred to me.
happy birthday love. here’s to you and the years ahead. <3
the art of stills
The girl likes to be photographed. While sprawled on the grass. While at the park. While in the children’s playplace. While shopping. While doing crafts. In the middle of a meal much enjoyed. After making a meal she’d much enjoy (and so would I). With a book she loved to lug around. With cats and other adorable beings (I hope I make this list). In the zoo. With cotton candy. While staring out into a tiger’s cage. While she’s not looking. While she’s asleep (I wish I’d taken more of this).
I wish I’d taken more, of it all.
I remember a time when I still felt a little guilty browsing through her photographs taken by other people. While partying. While hanging out in friends’ houses. While singing. While dancing. While speaking. While in between, or amidst, drinks.
And of course, while at the beach. (It’s the beach photos that make me blush the most, really. Always. They still do, kind of, after all this time.)
Her laugh always seems to spring right out of the frame, clawing at me playfully, at the inexplicable grin I had on. It’s impossible not to smile back, really. Before it all came down to this, I had relied on photographs whenever I wanted to see her smiling at me. It was a time I was still scared to try it out in person – what if she really smiled at me, as in at me, I thought then. I was little more than a nervous thing. An open bundle of nerves, unprotected and awkwardly shy.
She always said I never really looked at her when she was around, before. But how, really? How, when it was like staring at the sun shining brightly on a breezy April afternoon? I needed my eyes to look at photographs of these things after, in the quiet of my corner, some day later. It was the closest I could afford to be at the time.
Sometimes, when I look through her old photographs with the people who have been with her, who have known her longer than I have, there’s still this inexplicable sting. I think: I should have been here. Or: I should have arrived earlier.
I didn’t. But then again, I’m here now, aren’t I?
Here now taking her photographs, here now catching her off-guard in the middle of a large bite or a playful pose. Here now, capturing the precise moment she’d find out I’d been looking at her all this while.
I’d like for you to be very still. Like the first few moments of the day prior to waking. I’d like to be this close for this shot and the next. And still, the next.
One day I’ll get a real camera, take you to places and photograph you against the backdrop of the sky and the waves and the sunset.
And then one day, in the far off future, our hairs graying (though I doubt this, because I believe you’d dye your hair pink or purple, I just feel it) and joints aching as we age, gracefully, we’d look back at the photographs, with friends we loved so dear and in places we fell in love with so hard – we were here, and here, and here. We were everywhere, once. I can’t think of a nicer way to remember how the Universe had planned this all along.
And though this is just the beginning, the journey so far has been oh so scenic.
Happy birthday. I love you <3