Sunday, 21 September 2014
11:07:14 AM (GMT)
“Whose eyes are those framed behind the glass of the back shelf?” I asked
the man standing beside me, looking at the framed photograph.
It was a painting of the moment, a face with only the eyes seen. Around, a
sort of cobweb illusion appeared because of the suds that have accumulated throughout
the years of washing and wiping. The eyes were watery, mystified, possibly sad and
crying. The irises a faint grey, gently whirling into a dead black in the center
around the pupils. The lashes were long and curled. The bridge of a slightly high
nose was also visible, though not as noticeable as those two sad, sparkling gems that
were the eyes.
“That picture was of a woman I saw. It was the most unlikely of places to find
such an emotional subject. She was there on the veranda of a restaurant, crying in
silence, hoping he would return to her, thinking he was truly faithful. It was the
kind of silent weep that captured me. It wasn’t just her pretty doll-like face. It
was her glassy eyes.”
The photographer looked quizzically at the artwork. “What was the title of this
picture again?” he closed his eyes and opened them again. How could you find a
lost title for this? It might have been through some divine intervention that he
was able to recall it. “The title is ‘Fedele, my Dear’. I remember now. She has
always been. Didn’t leave that darn balcony until she heard the click and saw the
flash. Didn’t see me ‘til I was right beside her.”
The sun was spreading its abstract gold on the clouds, but the man remained in front
of the photograph, no chance of turning up the heater for the evening, no inspiration
to go into the dining room for supper. The lights were off, and so minute by minute
it started to get darker in the room. Grey enveloped the white plaster walls and
metamorphosed into black, like the pupils of the eyes. It was all black and sad and
lifeless, or so I thought.
The photographer, on his two walking sticks, hobbled to the side table to light a
candle. He held it up close to the shelf glass, where on one end was the photograph.
In daylight the picture seemed just like any other he had taken, framed and still,
silent. But after dusk, near the candle flame, the eyes reached out with life, like
that moment in a movie when some untold, appalling truth is about to be brought to
light. He seemed to be recalling that moment when he took the picture.
The man hears the drumbeat of his heart as the camera lens zooms closer to those
two sad eyes, which seem to stare into nothingness ahead, past the face of the one
looking at it. And suddenly it is by a force… a sound coming from the dining
room. It was the photographer’s wife, calling him down for dinner.
“Please stop staring at the picture of my face again. And stop talking to
yourself. You’ll go crazy if you keep doing that.” The old photographer sauntered
down the wooden steps to his wife, whom he met almost forty years ago out on the
balcony of her taverna, crying over me, the bastard who was every inch a coward to
come back and elope.
The clumsy old photographer forgot to put out the candle. I took the chance to grab
my last look of her eyes, her beautiful sad eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t come back
for you…” my time was almost up, I had to go make other rounds before I went into
the light of the afterlife. As I ebbed I blew a cold wind over the candle to douse
the firelight. For forty years I’ve been searching for you. At least I’ve
found you. Fedele… faithful, my dear, I always was. I just didn’t have the
courage to show it. And I lost you.