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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 …

salad days

Tiny hard flakes are catching the street lights. The three of us walk in short steps on the slippery sidewalk. I keep checking my watch thinking we will be late but of course we are thirty minutes early. E is excited, talking randomly about twins and magical worlds and ice cream all at once. N is quiet, her hand in mine in the cold air. 

The movie is the typical family film, edged with romance then a few moments when I find myself laughing out loud. E is giggling away, both hands over her mouth like a little mouse that has stolen a truckload of cheese. She whispers to me sometimes, in that loud child's voice that carries through the room. No one seems to care. She wants to know why a car driving away from a volcano gets covered in white ash. She wants to know what a letter says, as she only read part of it. She wants to know if this guy is the one who did the voice in that other film. She wants me to know that she knows the name of that actress. 


When it is over, and we are stretching slowly I watch both of them. N is checking for something in her purse. E is slapping her hat on, wrapping her scarf around her neck. I begin to realize how simple the night has been, how uneventful. This time last year there was screaming on telephones, drama, threats and the usual hysteria. E had a fever in the middle of it. I cannot say more, but would. It was a terrible way to begin the year.

I walk in-between them, each holding one of my hands. The street is white now, the cars slicing through the wet piles as they whip past. These are some salad days, I tell myself knowing full well there is nothing green around us. These are days when we can just be ourselves, enjoying simple pleasures, making pancakes and jokes at the kitchen table.




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