Like a spider commiting suicide, I'm unweaving my web and revealing you my worst fears.
This process has been repeated for years, a mantra I live by. Whirr, Flash. Then rewind the film so a new negative can be created. Taking my eyes from my digital telescope that captures such precious moments, I saw my breath rise as a white cloud towards the chilling dark blue skies. A lone streetlight accompanied me, and I leaned against its cold structure. The cold metal radiated its chill and it pierced through my sweater, warm skin prickling.
I looked to where the light of the lamp stopped, defeated by the enemy dark, and saw the remains of a past memory. Pushing myself off the pole, Kodak camera thudding against my bundled up chest, I walked towards what once was. Emmerson Concert Hall was a past-time, hosting shows where little kids starred in Thanksgiving plays and violinists played sad tunes. Closed down a years ago to the date, Parsippany was never the same; just the way a museum was not the same after its most precious gem was stolen. Music no longer was weaved into our lives as before.
The cold wind slapped me out of my trance.
I blinked once;
My eyes adjusted to my new surroundings, revealing to be at the foot of the stage. Or, rather, what was left of it. The once polished till gleaming oak wooden floors were now rotten away, covered in a blanket of gray dust. The once shining show lights were broken and hanging off of worn wires overhead, threatening to give a deadly blow to the head to anyone who double-dog dared them to. The velveteen curtains had clumps of hardened cloth clinging to its parent, afraid to join the sea of dust.
The wind whistled, low and moaning. Other than that, there was no other sound, just that of termites hunting for remains of good wood. I doubt there was much left. This carousel of thoughts was interrupted by another sudden gust of wind that sent the dust high into the air, and my camera to my rosco, or “my right” as some might say. This action brought me to my senses and I picked up the technology-crammed camera to my eye. What I saw through the camera was the same as before, except…
Lowering the camera, I gripped the good ends of the stage and pulled myself up. The wood creaked under my weight, not used to this anymore. Dust parted, leaving some footprints and messy handprints as evidence of my whereabouts. In the middle of the stage, I looked towards my audience. You might not see them, but they’re there. Ghosts of the past, spirits applauding me; encouraging me to not leave until an encore. Putting the camera to my face, I snapped a picture of my people. For future reference.
An encore they wanted, but in this city what business did I have with happiness? Happiness left abruptly during a business deal. But they urged, words of encouragement dripping from the sky in the form of snow. Why, yes, it was snowing. Peppering my face, and landing on my eyelashes, I looked up and snapped another picture. I’d let the sky do my crying for tonight.
Applauding from the stands got my head out of the clouds and back into reality. Eyes adjusting again, I could make out the figure of the man just barely. That carousel in my mind suddenly turned on to hyper speed, and the questions started arriving. Unable to stop, the passenger ideas on this said carousel were thrown against the walls of my mind, and diffusing through my skull. How badly they wanted to run down my face and implant themselves in my words. Against my will, the name formed and became an audible word.
“Jorge.” At the sound of his name, he smirked and rose, walking into the little light that was left in this city at such a late (or early, since it was morning by now) hour. His hair was still the same color, the cowlick was still funny as heck, like so many years ago except he was now freckled by snow. And older. His eyes twinkled in a reckless laughter as he came closer, hands buried deep in pockets.
“Well if it isn’t M&M from eight grade. Boy, you haven’t grown an inch!” he laughed, it echoing through the empty abyss that once was our town’s pride and joy.
I stomped my foot in mock anger and protest. I guess I underestimated the weight that the wooden floors could hold, and my foot crashed through, racking pain through my body. Jeans ripping and the feeling of wood being buried beneath my skin. The camera socked me in the jaw to protest. My hands were clutching at the sides, trying to pull myself up with no avail but to start a dust storm in front of my face. Jorge lunged towards me, and his warm hand grabbed my now-cold one as I got closer to hell below.
He gripped my jacket and pulled me away from the gaping hole, leaving a copper smell hanging in the air, and a trail of bright red leading from what I was sure was the passageway to hell. I was just a lucky survivor.
“I can see we’re still getting into accidents.” He laughed, running a free hand through his hair while his other arm was wrapped around my waist, pushing me against his chest. His heart was dancing to a fast tempo beat that mine oddly matched. “If I remember correctly, that was always you, Mr. Accident-prone man.” I breathed, clutching his arm like a life-raft. Why, yes, you can use a nearby passenger as a flotation device. That’s good to know, in my next car-crash scene.
“You ok?” he asked, letting me go. “I’m fine. Never better.” I muttered back. “Still in the photography industry?” “If you can even call photography a professional job. It’s more like a hobby, Jorge, and I guess. Just feeling a bit down after…you know what. ” I limped off the stage and away from the has-beens, leaving just bloody footprints and tears on the sidewalk pavement as a reminder.
No ghosts applauded this time, their eyes boring into the back of my head as their main attraction left the building.
“Still with her?” I mumbled, refusing to make eye contact. He sighed, and I didn’t dare to look up. I knew what mask his face had on now. “We’re engaged, Mel…”
“So that’s how it is…”
“Mel… Leave Jamie out of-”
I whirled around on my heels, ankle flaming and a fire burning in my eyes. “I dare you to my name and hers in the same breath. I dare you to say they taste the same.”
This was the point were Romeo was suppose to chase after Juliet and beg her to marry him, but life is not storybook. Instead, the author of this story made Juliet pick up her rags and broken pieces and run away from a Romeo who didn’t care to see her to the door.
I became a photographer to capture precious moments of others.
Obviously, I can’t even capture my own.
I'm in love with you, but the vibe is wrong.
So I keep it low, keep a secret code so no one knows.