Dec 10 2005

Recognition

Standing, perhaps appearing lost or confused, a tourist, in reality analyzing the ambient light. Looking for the angle. Debating between the f/4.6 and f/3.0 at 35 millimeters. The camera’s strap is pulling against my neck, lens bag weighing my shoulder, and I nestle into the load. My finger caresses the shutter release.

A friendly honk jumps out from behind me, from the mouth of the one way street. She’s stopped in a dirty black station wagon plastered in bumper stickers. I don’t recognize her, but she’s waving, and I’m waving and returning her smile, searching for a recognition that’s dodging me. Do I know her? She’s cute, I think, but the connection is fleeting, the slow motion of an impending car accident without fear, a clarity of essence but blur of detail.

She keeps waving and smiling, tossing her head lightly in laughter – a genuine room-brightening smile, and I do the same but don’t know if I’m illuminating any room, if my smile would make you stop down your aperture.

Her brakes stutter. Another car has met her at the intersection, a car not smiling at a pedestrian, tentatively nudging past the stop sign. She has the right of way but isn’t utilizing it. She looks from me to the other car, and back to me for a final glance before accelerating into her turn.

My eyes trail her exhaust, and I wonder, Why didn’t I take a picture?