There is a picture where is looking at me. Now understand, if you didn’t know it already, weren’t there that day, you’d never know who he is looking at. I’m out of frame, off set. But I was there, so I know where we were all standing. And I know. I know I’m the only one he could be looking at. I’m there. Even if you can’t see me.
The funny thing is I never saw that expression when he made it. That smile. Its a private smile. It’s a happy smile. An unusually relaxed smile. It’s an appreciative smile. It’s not a sexy smile and because it’s not it’s sexy. You know. It’s that smile. We’ve all seen it. That smile on someone. Someones. But I missed it that time. Until I stumbled upon that picture.
And I found myself staring at that picture. Now, removed, in the past. For quite a while. Somewhat entranced by a private moment I apparently shared in the past but that went unnoticed by me and now goes unknown by him as I look at him smiling a smile I missed him smiling. At me. A shared moment I am sharing, posthumously of moment.
Is it better this way? A sweet glance drawn out by time and our own distractions and the context that retrospect allows? A moment lent significance by nostalgia and posterity. Is it better? That I get to enjoy it privately, in surprise, here alone, where I can smile privately and wonder.
Or is it a moment I missed like many others when I was looking too far within and not at all around?
So many moments slip away, repetitively, and we don’t get to live in them. Sometimes this is a blessing. I remember a time of grief in my life when everything was cloudy and shadowy and I felt like a ghost. I felt nauseously removed from the current coming and goings of it all… dimmed out of the outside world. And I remember knowing that all of it would pass. And it did. And the memory of the person continued on, their pictures…they go on, but the experience of those painful moments were lost on me because I was strangely not living in them. A blessing.
But other moments I want to scream and crawl my way into like an embrace. Like I want to wrap myself in his arms and feel the soft underside of the skin on his arms touch my own. I want to swim in them, to open my eyes underwater and see the ripples and distortions and enhanced clarity and dappled light so I know I am swimming in it. So feel it. Inside like I feel it on my skin. Cool. Moving. That moment. I want to share it, in the moment, not realize he was, ultimately, smiling at himself at the thought of me months after I wondered if I was in his thoughts at all, in that moment. As I sit here, now, thoughts of him the only thoughts I have.