Picture Me

By jenn

I feel like you see me as though you are looking at a photograph taken of me taken on a drizzly November evening under the light of a streetlamp, one twenty-fourth of a second, captured in a neat four-by-six frame, slightly blurry. You keep staring at this picture and you like what you see. The girl in the photograph is smiling and looks rather romantic, in her old-fashioned hat and long coat, and you think she is real and that she lives and breathes and you think you might like her.

She is not real. She is an image, a frozen moment.

I admit that even when I look at her my heart stirs and sometimes I wish I could be her but I know that moments are only moments. If you are lucky enough to capture one in a picture then it is yours. It takes on a life of its own and you might fall into the deadly trap of thinking that it is real and that it exists. You might become lost, lost the way I am when I try to make my way back to the place where the picture was taken, thinking that I really am that girl. But I can never find the exact location again, the storefronts have changed, the summer sun is too bright, and I could never play the romantic lead.

I'm really some girl who will probably say things that hurt your feelings, who feels a little light headed right now because she just went to the gym without eating first so that not all of the things she says makes perfect sense, or any kind of sense at all really, but I had such good intentions of saying something explanatory that would clear mix-ups and misunderstandings and that would set fire to that photograph of the person I am not. Sometimes, especially when I'm with you, I forget that I never actually was her and I accidentally remember her memories and that's at least as unhealthy as being in love with a photograph, if not more so.

I feel like I have to warn you because I'm sure that the next time we're looking at photo albums I'll forget to. There are things I would rather tell you, the things that you called back to hear but I was in no mood for conversation. It felt like being on the phone with someone whose heart I might be about to break and having someone whose heart I have already broken on call-waiting. Is it symbolic, foreshadowing, dramatic irony, or completely meaningless? Maybe words are clearer and sharper when your hungry, so when I read this after I eat everything will be softer and kinder. This is me opening up to you even if you can't really tell and what I really want to say is that this is a bad time.

If only we would get along with time, time would do what ever we want, the Mad Hatter says, and the dormouse follows with a story about mustard and music and memory and all sorts of things that begin with m. "You can't change the past," Nick tells Gatsby. "Can't change the past? Of course you can," is his incredulous reply.

My friend Bobby tells me about a new philosophy that he is expounding, refining for himself. He says "Given an infinite amount of time, everything that can happen will happen." Whether time exists or not is irrelevant if we can capture it in a box. He tells me everything that existed up until the moment it was written down is included in a text, hidden, in between the lines. Everything: Buddha, Jesus, Einstein, Socrates, Hannibal, a war, a fake peace, a faux pas, a birth, a death, a kiss that left me smiling as i sat in air so cold i prayed for rain, a tree i climbed, every book i have ever read, every sound i have ever heard, every king and every president and every precedence, all the dreams that have yet to be uncovered and maybe more.

Maybe the moments to come, the dreams yet to be had, the songs yet to be written, they are all here, all contained in this moment. And this moment could last forever.


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