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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 …

burnt toast is the sweetest

E made plans for a few weeks, telling me at random times that there would be a hot cup of coffee waiting for me when I woke up on my birthday. She told me there would be a paper, and a note. She spent a week trying to sew a pillow cover for me from bright orange fabric, the white thread wobbling around, the corners puckered like a strange face. 

On the day, I woke up long before her. N and V had been up for hours. V looked at me, that tiny mouth jumping wide, a squeal jumping from inside her, legs kicking, tiny feet in the air. I thought to go back to sleep after a present like that and maybe have a perfect dream. I made myself a coffee instead, peeking into E's room and saw the pillow dangling from her hand, the needle on the floor. I tugged it loose and rested it on her nightstand. She knows the feeling of falling asleep while making something, I thought to myself, and that is something I am proud of.

The morning unfolded with some quiet moments with N, then changing a diaper, singing little songs to V while dancing in front of the mirror to the Blues Brothers and the Ramones, messages from friends all over the world sending sweet thoughts in more than a handful of languages. I found myself blushing at times, biting the insides of my cheeks.

E did wake up and I found her hunched over in bed, crying.
"I wanted to wake up first." She said, face down.
I laughed a little, trying to break the mood.
"And I fell asleep making the pillow." She added.
"I know you did, and I love it." I said, hand under her chin, raising her face.

A hug, her cheek on my shoulder, and then she asked me to turn the burner on. She made french toast all by herself, and only forgot to put butter in the pan which she did after the fact, eyes rolling, saying "I'll eat the burnt ones" but they were not burnt, they were fine and mine were decorated with blueberries and brown sugar, with a note tucked next to them.

That night, N told me I need to smile more this year as she made a toast at our little table.
"Yes, just like that one." She said, finger jabbing in the air at me as I felt the sides of my face hurt.








Comments

liv said…
Oh, happy, happy birthday !! What is the actual date? I like to hit it on the head next year.

Sounds like this was a perfect one. A happy day for all of us when you were born xx

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