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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

Even the flies know how to find the openings

There are butterflies that come in from the balcony, flapping hard against the walls and the ceiling. They end up by the windows, smacking against the glass for a few minutes then resting. E runs through the house, shouting about them. I watch the tiny creature, wings closing in slow motion as it regroups. There is something ironic about a being that is so beautiful and so tragic at the same time. Even the flies know how to find the openings. 

There was a pair of butterflies that did this last year, almost to the day. I wonder if this is one of their children. I wonder what it must be like to live for just a few days and then die, a week or so at most, much of it slapping against windows trying to somehow get back outside. It seems impossible, yet merciful. 

The streets are full of people wandering in the heat with fresh flowers tucked under one arm, with cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths, with blisters on one heel, with spare change for the woman wrapped in black cloth who curls up on the sidewalk, her face on the ground with one hand thrust out, palm to the sky. There are people selling pineapples for three dollars, one cut open to show the inside with a small knife plunged into the center. It always disturbs me, standing wet and sticky in the fruit no one is buying. 

E skips next to me, chirping some dialogue from her latest Niki Dashentine story. She is ready to buy an ice cream, looking up at me from under the straw hat I bought her. 
"Do you think there will be another butterfly when we get home?" She asks.
"Anything is possible." I tell her.
"But would it be the same butterfly or a different one?" She continues.
"How would we know?" I ask her.
She thinks for a moment, her mouth twisting around.
"We could not know." She says.
"So then, we have to guess if the same butterfly would come back." I tell her.
"Nah." She answers. "It would not make the same mistake."














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