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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 …

birds and sparkles

There are explosions, deep booms that rattle the windows. The sounds are thumping around the apartment, as E is about to fall asleep. I go to the kitchen window then the balcony and see no fireworks. E is in her bare feet, looking up at me.
"What is it?" She asks.
"Maybe for men's day." I tell her.
"But there are no lights." She says. "I mean no sparkles, no fireworks."
 I look out the window again, hearing the car alarms and see nothing but a low fog over the river.
She goes back to bed and we talk in low voices as the windows rattle, as the booming rolls across the houses.
"Maybe it is a war." She says, her eyes closed.
My stomach bunches up.
"I don't think so." I tell her.
The windows are jumping around. I press the worst thoughts out, the idea that these are bombs, and how they could easily be the sounds of revolution but aren't. No, they cannot be.
I go to the balcony one more time, craning my head out of the open window. I take my phone and hold it way outside, clicking a picture. There are fireworks, far in the distance on Lenin's Hill.
I show E the picture and she smiles a little, patting my hand once and closing her eyes.
"Stay here until I fall asleep, ok?" She asks me.
Her hands drape across her chest like tiny birds.







Comments

liv said…
Celebration and revolution - so easily confused there.

Loved the last line.

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