Thursday, October 16

Please Keep Me In Mind

IT WASN’T MY fault. It certainly wasn’t my fault. It most definitely was not my fault. In fact, I actively tried to avoid it, to avoid anything of that sort happening.
I was walking along, minding my own business – as I am expert at doing – when, outside of the grand cathedral, I saw a woman stood posed in the middle of my path. It was not my path, but it was the route I was taking and she was where I planned to walk, the exact place. She was not pulling off the most dazzling nor remarkable of poses but (with her body turned slightly to the side, one hand stroked upon her hip, the other limp by her side, her head facing the camera and the poise of someone who, even from behind, looks as though they are smiling) she was precisely where I planned to walk. And who is opposite this arrangement? Crouched down only sixteen yards from her comfortable trainers was her partner with his camera angled up at her and catching, not unintentionally, the grey magnitude of St. Paul’s behind, ornate in places but blank in others.
I was, at the time, though quite unfortunately struck with grief and sorrow, feeling particularly courteous and considerate. I quickly changed tack and, rather than piercing between them, I moved behind the couple. This was my mistake: I assumed with some momentary evaluation that he would wait for me to pass before pressing the button –
He did not.
As I eased around her, as I was just at her shoulder, he pushed the button. (How do I know that he had pushed the button? Because the flash blinked its white highlight, and even in the thirteen-thirty daylight it was obvious.)
There I was, caught timelessly in the stranger’s frame. Had he not noticed me? No, he had not. That was the shot, he told his partner and she was permitted to relax her pose. He approached her, grinning loving approving yes you looked good it looked great. I went on. So, there I was. I was in that photograph forever and never would I be removed. They would keep it because all else of the photograph was perfect – ‘You even made me look photogenic!’ – but they would forever curse the man who strayed, quite invited, into their shot, though they would forgive (Christians) me because it was lunchtime in the city and clear footpaths are hard to come by.
On the wall by the bathroom – a popular surface – the framed photograph was mounted and dusted regularly. Few commented on it but they passed it occasionally and the couple remembered their holiday in London and I am spotted, commented, over and over. It becomes so that I am regarded in that accidental still more than her. It was a mistake I had made, and the photographer, too. At the moment the photograph was taken, my chin was on her shoulder. Maybe she will think fondly of me, a pirate’s parrot! It was all a big mistake and it was not my fault that I intruded into their memory. What option did they have (as Christians) but to hang the unfortunate landscape on the wall? ‘It’s beautiful inside. You’d really like it, Luna.’ The mistake will be explained a hundred times.
That was where I walked when I achieved all sorts of things I did not mean to; when things, through a series of disasters, eventually came to pass. Brushing with my trouser-leg the steps of the cathedral I fingered my hair against the light breeze and realised I had been captured and that things could not be undone. Things that cannot be undone are best accepted or they will take up your day. When the photographs were developed, paid for, collected, – shuffled through in the car in the car park in the supermarket district, fingers on the edges, photographs look best in the light of the sun, Sol, where the colours can flower – they both laughed at my spectre as I haunted through the lens through the shutter onto the treated film. ‘I don’t remember him.’ ‘Me either. You look great there!’ ‘His chin is rested on my shoulder!
And some other things happened in my day, and after it everything, that is all that will remain.

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