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The Past Is Prologue

The first time I visited Dana at work, we went to an over priced BBQ place she thought I would like, right in the heart of Union Square. It was a selfless choice on her part because I'm sure she would have preferred Zen Palate. I would have preferred it too but she didn't know that at the time. She picked a place she thought I would like, she had been told the burgers were good, her salad was so huge it was surreal and comical and was served to her in a big silver bowl. After lunch we walked the long way around the tiny park, through the farmers market finally stopping at Duanne Reade to savage the last of the Russell Stovers heart shaped strawberry creams that I love that were on Valentines Day clearance.

We stopped in front of the record store where she worked, half a block from where I had to catch the subway home. I remember standing under the big digital clock and asking her what it was. At the time I wasn't even sure it was a clock because I could not imagine what the constantly descending numbers were counting down to. She explained to me that The 15 numbers of the digital clock display time going and coming relative to midnight. Read time going left to right and time coming in the opposite direction. The three numbers in between were a constant blur of moving numbers. I was impressed she knew and she has had to explain this to me over and over again over the years, because I for the longest time could never remember that formula.

We leaned against the building so she could catch one last cigarette before returning to work. She had already dragged out her break longer than she should have, but she said she didn't care which made me smile. Just then a young guy in a peacoat and a hair cut that looked like tintin approached us. He had a knitted scarf and an expensive camera dangling around his neck. At first I thought he was going to ask for a cigarette or a light, but instead he asked us if he could take a picture of us. I was/am awkward and I didn't know how to answer much less how to act. Dana was much more comfortable, she just nodded and then turned away from the camera and gave him a 3/4 profile while she inhaled on her cigarette. She looked so graceful, so elegant yet strong at the same time. I remember thinking how beautiful she looked and that her skin looked like it was cast in porcelain. I smiled at her so impressed with her confidence and poise, and then I heard the snap of the camera and the quick hum of the flash.

"I was caught off guard."

He smiled and shrugged, but I wasn't sure if I was talking to him as much as I was talking about her. He quickly turned the camera towards her and showed her the shot. She gave him a half smile and a quick nod of recognition while she put out he cigarette. It was over so quickly the whole thing, and hardly any words were exchanged so it didn't seem real. Before I knew it he was gone and she was slipping her hand into mine, giving it a quick squeeze and kissing my cheek and then she too was gone.

I walked back to the subway, marveling about how things like that never happen to me. I remember thinking.

"This has to mean something."
"This has to mean something."

Over and over again like a mantra.

I think about that moment in time often. About a stranger has no idea what he captured that afternoon or how often I find myself thinking about him and that picture. I would give anything to have a copy of it now. Well, Almost anything.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Nov. 14th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
this is quite possibly the most adorable thing I've read n a long time.

Must have been a really good picture, if you were showing your real emotions at the time
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )