Every Right to be Jaded,
but I’m not.
In the past three years, I’ve had deaths in the family, and lost my own, had my children taken from me by the financial persuasion of a ruling in law family. Have had close church friends double cross me, question my own beliefs, only to believe them once again, and have had my money reduced to nothing. I’ve had my own blog, used as testimony and evidence against me in court, I’ve been stripped of things private. I’ve had the memory of my own father and the insurance money I had from his death literally bled from me, and I was double crossed by my own friends in a confidence scheme to strip me of every thing I know as my own family. I lost my dad twice in my life. And I’ve been fighting for a chance ever since for some semblance of balance, of normalcy.
So hot on the heels of divorce, I should be jaded. But I can’t bring myself to be that way. On the black sand beach in Hana, I sat there, marveled at the multiple rainbows in the daylight rain, and gave thanks for the life I had. I also prayed that I had someone to shoot with my Rolleiflex.
I should be angry, I should be selfish, I should be now working for only me, and making up for lost time, but that’s not me. I feel myself letting go, growing lighter and lighter, only anchored by the rigid rules imposed on me by a legal system weighted towards the woman no matter how fair they claim to be. And even though I happen to be in paradise, I was already living it in my mind before this trip here.
I saw them approach, a frolic, a laugh, a light step. The fragile hands of someone with a point and shoot digital camera(no doubt a present from the reception), fumbling with the controls to figure out a way to capture the landscape of such serenity inside of the box of japanese electronics. I waited till they started to turn their back to the beauty and self take a couples shot with the paradise scene in the background.
As always, I offer my assistance.
They welcomed the idea, and allowed me to use their coolpix. Afterwards I was able to speak with them and confirmed, the newly wed vows. He was a Filipino and she was an American with European roots. So very familiar. Yet there was a joy to their step, and its the type of joy people often write poems about.
So to see that world again, and line up my own personal experience, I was surprised at the level of excitement I had for them. Even though things didn’t work out in my own life, I literally felt myself moving past that, unencumbered by my own tainted experiences. I saw at face value the possibility of what they had. I had Hope.
After doing the “Pinoy” fist pump and finding out Brian was from San Fran, I immediately told them about the camera. Its origins, how old it was, how rare it was to shoot these days, and what it was that I did.
"One shot, that’s all?" Brian asked.
"One shot." I replied, "think of it as a wedding present to you two."
"But you already took our picture, are you sure?"
"I would not only love to, but it would be an honor for me."
"Okay. Sure!" he said.
I could tell his new wife wanted to say, “YES YES YES!” But as bros, we had to work it out, but you could tell her eyes were saying that, yet she had the wherewithal to restrain herself rather than just blurt out and abrasively negotiate the answer, she allowed her new husband to do the talking.
They first stood like their cool pix shot, shoulder to shoulder and facing me in a smile. I put the camera down after finding focus on them. The neckstrap extended so the camera rested against my stomach. I put my hands on my hips, a little deflated from the generic nature of the generic vacation pose they just gave me.
"Okay, you only get one shot, so it can’t look like the other one we just did."
"What do you want us to do?"
"I want you to look at each other, and Brian, I want you to look at her, like, well like she’s the only thing in the world to you, because quite frankly she is."
I got a raised eyebrow from both them, followed by a smile from her. He nodded, and I went back to focusing my camera. It was between that moment and the moment I fired this shot a kiss happened. I missed it. And I only allowed myself one. I had forgotten to crank the camera, and when I fired, nothing happened, I had to advance the frame one, and it would reset the mechanicism. What you see in the photograph is the aftermath retraction from a classic Bogart/Bacall type kiss that was elegant as it was poetic and pure.
I considered firing another shot, but playing it over in my head, realized it was perfect in its imperfection already. That’s what happened, why try to control and micromanage what was meant to happen. I let it go.
I let a great many things go that day, more than just the photo, but months before, letting go of bitterness in my own life, which still gets tested based on proximity to certain warmongers. But for the most part, ask anyone around me, and they can see the change, the difference, and the new outlook is more loving and more encompassing than every before.
I look at this photo with a large semblance of hope. That someday I can be free to experience this feeling, regardless of the baggage I might have, and look at Her the way Brian is looking at his girl in this photo. And hopefully we will be lucky to have an award winning cinematographer/photographer, extra-ordinaire, on holiday from a job shooting locally at the black sand beach in Maui who just happen to be walking by with a 53 year old German medium format camera shooting some of the last rolls of Kodak NC stock in existence and give us the present of our lives for nothing.
Rolleiflex 2.8E Schnieder-Krueznach 80mm Portra 160 NC