Waiting for the electric sunrise, the flow of lights streaming in synchronicity as the streetlights come on; that one in the kitchen above the sink, the other beside the bed across town, another weaving through plants in the sun room, and the twinkly ones strewn over the fence on Chrum street; reflections of people living lives differently.
All I could think was five more minutes with fingers growing numb, I could barely press the button to take the picture. But maybe that’s how it was supposed to be. Cold enough to freeze the aim of silly egos demanding, “Capture this.”
How strange was the pressure to take a picture and share it with people I don’t even know anymore. A validation of the experience, or perhaps my existence, or maybe even a futile attempt to reconnect with those living lives slipping farther and farther away. No matter, as long as the heart fills with color in the bottom left corner.
But deep down I knew what was driving my pressing thumb; the arrogant wish to keep the moment forever. As if, if I did, the moment wouldn’t be gone. How foolish, for even as I think, the sky grows darker, the thought contradicting itself with the reality of a second, reflected in the pigment of the sky, that is already gone.
Despite how advanced the camera gets, what with its crispness in quality and long exposure shots, it can’t bring back the moment.
And the people who aren’t here are still just as far away. What was I trying to show them? What was I trying to show some older version of myself, perhaps bored one day, flipping through old photos, and stumbling upon this one, or the one right after, which for all intents and purposes are the exact same, but I didn’t have the heart to throw them away at the time, to choose one, and still don’t.
A snap of a time that brought me closer to my mother and the three people I met here that day. Where the beauty of this place, in this moment, filled me up for reasons unknown.
“Just a few more minutes… It’ll get prettier… I promise,” that was me begging to Mom as my own breath clouded over my words, inadvertently betraying me, proving my mother’s point that it was, in fact, too cold. Time to go.
But I wasn’t ready to leave. I wanted to wait to see what I’d already seen in the pictures. This time with my own eyes, or more accurately (sadly so) through another lens where it was my thumbs pressing the button. Proud. A billion on the internet already (they are, after all, what led me here and for that I’m grateful), but this one I could stamp in my mind as my own. “I took that.” “I was there.”
How silly. As if any of this could ever be called my own including, the moment.