"Now, just turn your head a little to the left...Yes! Gorgeous!"
The photographer beamed at me from behind his camera, while I wondered if I was allowed to scratch my nose. He was quite particular about his subjects.
After having met him and having a little chat while we settled on my outfit, he had positioned me in my chair and fidgeted around me while I told him to make sure my hair looked good—because I knew my face was quite excellent already, just, my hair needed a little loving care because of medical conditions—but he instead started paying more attention, strangely enough, to my necklace.
"Just need to make sure it's captured perfectly in the picture," He mumbled as he adjusted it, then stepped back, examining it from different angles.
Umm. What about my hair? I thought. What about, you know, me? I need to be captured perfectly too!
"Just got to get it right," He said, stepping behind the camera to see how it looked behind the lens, then again stepping quickly to the window to check how it looked in the light.
"Hmm, just a...yes, that might be it," He said, again, brushing my hair behind my shoulders so that the precious necklace got to be center of attention.
"Um, it's okay," I said. "It's just a necklace..."
"Just a little bit more this way..." He was totally focused on the silver necklace with two hearts intertwined (ostensibly forever) together.
"No really," I said a little more forcefully. "Just take the damn picture, leave the necklace. The...the man who gave it to me dumped me," I said as bluntly as I could, verbalizing in the very words I could never bring myself to say until then that most private of information now being proffered to this stranger, hoping the the shock value would stun him into retreating behind the camera and taking the goddamn pictures.
"Oh," He looked up, yes, stunned. He looked balefully at the offending piece of jewelry, now, as if it had broken his heart.
"Yeah, so it's okay," I nodded at him.
"But you still love him," He said, looking at it sitting in that hollow above my heart. It wasn't a question.
"Of course I do." Definitely not up for debate.
He nodded, briskly, somberly, understandingly. There really was no need for anything else to be said.
"So! Then, will you be taking your photos with smile, or no smile?"
"What are you, crazy? Of course a smile!" I beamed a 100-watt at him.
"That's a girl," He said, somewhat admiringly. "You keep that attitude!"
Honestly, though? I was secretly glad, deep down inside, that it got that much attention; it felt sort of right: that in trying to capture whoever I was, that one thing, this emblem, was made to shine brightly.
So, of course I smiled.
~in memoriam of a breaking heart, 6 months to the day.~