Confessions of a drinker student abroad

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What the Camera Saw

It's one of those mornings, the grey English mornings. The skies are so low you can almost see them brush the elms on the other side of the river. The trail along the bank is strewn with violets, clinging to the last frail remnants of summer. My eyes are old, and the scene before me blurs. I see the bridge, before the graffiti came, when the stones were bright. I see the form of a man standing on the bridge, shoulders sagged as though the entire weight of the world had been taken from his shoulders, not a relief, but rather a crushing refusal of worth. Away from him walked a woman, young, but whose straight back conveyed a sense of resolve, resolve not to turn, not to weaken, not to listen to the cries of her heart.

A mist forms in my eyes, whether from the skies, or my soul I cannot tell. Through the film I see a single red rose floating downstream from the bridge, its stem broken in half as though it had been thrown. Without thought a name is whispered by the wind, Emily. The name stirs something inside of me, but I cannot remember the name of this feeling.

Whenever the mornings are like this I come down to the riverside to see the bridge. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they are not. I can no longer recall where I have seen the picture, nor if I was the one who took it, or the one in it. That was all too long ago, before life happened to me, before my bones became chilled, and yet every morning like this I come down, hoping to see them, hoping to see her turn around, she never does. I sit down beside a great old elm, it was great when I was a child, it was great when my father was born, but I am the last of the line that will repose here. The wind is still whispering, but now it is my name, even that name sounds strange to me, it is the name of a man who believed she would turn around.

She never did.


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