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Hey, Lyosha

There are prison tattoos on the backs of his hands. Faded, blotchy shapes and a finger that jabs at a phone. "Hey, Lyosha!" He shouts, as every face on the bus swings to him. There is no answer, no voice on the other side. "Lyosha." He says again, then stares angrily out the windows. I step on someone's foot by accident, apologizing quickly. The young man waves his hand as if to say I did not need to say anything. The man with the tattoos sips from a giant cup of soda from KFC that is balanced on the empty seat next to him.

We pass a hotel we used to live next to, where expensive escorts are ferried in and out like yachts in a harbor. There is a fresh line of flags snapping in a low wind, and an American one is curiously absent. Plenty of the businessmen behind those windows are from the states.

The man brandishes the phone and hands it to the young man in front of me. I did not see that one coming. The young man wipes invisible dust from it, a reserved frown …

proof, or not (it all matters)


We all have our sweet tooth, our weakness. Honestly, there is nothing inherently easy about pictures of children on playgrounds, or empty swing sets, or old men playing accordions, or faces behind the windows of train cars. But we may have seen enough of them at this point. Maybe not. I like to go out with a camera in my bag and take no pictures, just walking, my head craning around corners. Sometimes that magnificent collision of life and lens, f-stop and shutter happens, on other days it does not. Like a lottery, like fishing, you have to put your pole in the water - a leap of faith, a little wish or something you just imagined you might find in the world. I have come to believe that the act of intention, the process is what counts With a picture as proof, or not - it all matters. 

A week ago, there was an hour or two before V's birthday party. The house smelled of good food, the dishes were in perfect little stacks on the table. The wine was getting good and cold. We were all showered and changed. V wanted to dance, and we wiggled around in the bedroom, me acting like an electric eel her like a baby swan. We ran from one end of the room to the other, lip syncing to Stevie Wonder. Her laughter arrived in great waves, splashing into the hallway. I might have taken a picture then, but decided to just enjoy the moment for what it was. Something fleeting, and inspired. 



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