Friday, July 01, 2005
The Picture Remembers...
Every picture tells a story, but this particular photograph displays only the cover to a tale that will never quite be told.
The year was 1997, the season...Autumn. It was a perfect day from a storybook album: lovely, poetic, its lines synchronized and flowing into an enchanting tale.
We had spent the day at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival near Bonner Springs, the four of us, and it was coming to a close. The evening crowd had dwindled slowly, leaving just a few to witness the last rays of the October sun descending over the tree-lined horizon.
I had made all of our costumes, including the one merely silhouetted here in his shadow as he stands to take our picture. We felt one with the day as if we had stepped back in time 400 years to our own medieval setting where ladies were indeed ladies and knights proved that chivalry not only lived, but thrived.
Looking at this picture brings back a flood of memories. For though in it, my smiles tells a lot, so much remains unspoken.
How can you explain what is in the heart? It was a real fairy tale that rode in on a white horse and vanished when reality stepped in, interrupting the storyline. It is now forever far away and yet, always near as I'm haunting by a list of unanswered questions.
Because the smile doesn't just say, "What a glorious day this very day is"...the smile remembers.
It remembers dancing by candlelight on top of a castle rooftop. It remembers lying across the bed, reading a book to each other and loving the artwork showcased on each page. It remembers a surprise trip to Chicago, arriving at dawn and a prom held in a candlelit garage. It remembers a Bed and Breakfast with a skylight over the tin tub and of the perfect full moon that hung directly above it as if it had been planned just for us. It remembers drinking wassail and singing carols...of dancing in a gazebo during a rainstorm. It remembers carving Jack-O-Lanterns, witnessing the first snowflakes on a post-Thanksgiving night and making snow angels the next morning.. It remembers a warm, August breeze blowing in the low window of an old farmhouse, sitting on the floor in Barnes and Noble with the excitement of children as we shared our passion for the written word. It remembers love notes written in the form of treasure maps, and silver rings we wore. It remembers playing tag in the park, framing houses together, all of the songs that were ours and sitting in Applebee's at our special table, talking - literally - for hours. It remembers skating at the park, playing sock tag, watching "Anne of Green Gables", reading - and crying - over Nicholas Sparks', The Notebook, and never wanting to say "Goodnight". But above all else, it remembers the laughter, the romance, the talks, the friendship.
The smile did not know, when that picture was taken, that it would all come to an end. The woman in that photograph knew...at that moment...KNEW that what they had was real. And the moments they shared, at the very moment they were shared, were cherished. She was her best self with him, and he with her. And that is as love is supposed to be.
Sometimes I miss her, but I'm glad she lived and that she experienced the passion and connection that speaks to two hearts.
They did not live "happily ever after", as the famed storybook conclusion would have it. At least not together. But this photograph from that time in my life will always be a lovely illustration; not of "what might have been", but simply of what was.