the feeling that follows the the kind of phone call that dissolves into muted sobs can be likened to a small, person-centric black cloud. there was a plea, an impromptu plane ticket and suddenly I was struggling (again) with a small bag of peanuts and dully watching lackluster blockbusters thousands of feet in the air and wedged between curious strangers. they probably wondered why I refused to make eye contact let alone conversation.
at the time I had scrawled, almost desperately, in a notebook- better out than in- words that are far too personal to even entertain the idea of splaying here. in a phrase: I was frantic. rushing towards what I thought would be certain failure and in the end turned into a test of enduring patience.
having left behind my camera (my forethought being that the trip was not for pleasure and bringing it would be like wearing a feather boa to a memorial service) I felt naked, unable to capture anything about (whatIconsidertobe) an aesthetically appealing city. one gray mid-afternoon I found my self standing in a Sainsbury's- having just relayed translated hospital conversations, organized and neurotically re-organized a kitchen- dazed and drawn to a shelf of brandless disposable cameras. I robotically snatched one up greedily, paid....very... slowly (pence are confusing) and then guiltily unwrapped it like a Point Watcher with a candy bar.
then I walked.
I wandered in a haze.
I didn't take the lens from my eye, it seemed, except to wind after each snap. it kept my hands and my mind busied. shapes, colours, words, a faceless face. I was gone for a few hours, but i felt like it was days, years. I was odysseus my travails seared onto film.
by the time I returned to her house and heard the soft-voice call out to me i was refreshed, ready again.