Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I look at the photograph and I think

I look at the photograph and I think of lost opportunities, those gaping holes in the past that went unrecorded by the camera. I wonder how I came to be borrowing someone else’s image. There’s a girl on the beach being held by a man and she’s black and white. There’s a woman, not my mother and she’s French. The wind is blowing sideways and my forehead was high, even then. I’m wearing a pleated dress which I think was navy blue with a red anchor on the hip.
I look at the photograph and I think of how it felt to be alone, flying through the wind. I don’t even know where I was or where I was going to, it was a blur.
I look at the photograph and remember Brighton. Remember the glances as I removed my shiny red helmet. Remember the bikes lined up on the sea front and chips dripping down my chin and hot ring doughnuts coated in sugar. Remember slipping my greasy fingers back into the fingers of my gloves and the lining getting snagged on my rings and having to start again and poke the lining back into the finger holes. Remember the way the road curves left and right, pulling down on the throttle to make it up the hill without losing speed. Hoping that there’s no queue at the other side.
I look at the photograph and I think of how it could have been me. A tangled mess of metal, fragments of a life distributed around a tree trunk. Who cleans up the mess after the wreckage is gone and the onlookers have given up and gone home?
I look at the photograph and I think I can remember because that’s all there is to do. I was alone.

5 comments:

Sarah Charsley: said...

Love it! Did you really use to ride a motorbike?? Or was it the girl in the picture...

Just to let you know that I've linked you onto my blog today. I'm going to try to respond to Sarah's prompts but I doubt I'll manage them daily (weekly more like knowing me!). Oh well, it's a start! xx

pierre l said...

Hi Kathryn. I have been reading and enjoying your lovely stories every day. Thank you for writing them. This always my first port of call after visiting Sarah's and seeing what today's subject is.

Kathryn said...

Sarah - Yes, I know it's hard to believe but I did...a long, long, time ago and if one of my children wanted to get one, I'd be horrified! Good luck with the prompts - I'll be watching (sounds creepy, huh?). x

Pierre - thank you so much for the wonderful encouragement. Some days it's easier than others and knowing that someone's reading them helps to keep me going! x

cheryl63 said...

Well I found this one difficult to understand.....
a motorbike? I love it - think you should get another one and let me ride on the back - just think what fun we could have at traffic lights!

Kathryn said...

Oh, I'm too old for all that now. Plus, I'm alive, which is always a bonus so I think I'll leave it there.