Going over the chocolate curls of his hair, pixel by pixel, checking for colour errors, it brings me back to his voice, to the way he looked at me, what we were talking about in that moment. Frozen forever in a smile, frozen forever fiddling with his hat, we are frozen together forever, as long as the magnetic media holds. Trapping these things is important to me, and after, I always wish I had taken more. A man standing, looking to me, bashful, gentle, as violently whip crack clever as a black angel’s heart. Overhead, we are trapped by the sky. There, I point my lens, where a line of dark humour finds the curve of his eyes, meets the curve of the sea that’s soon to separate our quiet promises, empty my bed, leave my sheets and blankets cold to my tired fingers, slice my mind from my heart.
I think about how precise the winter felt, the taste of the temperature, of the season. My indoor shoes had soles too thin for the frosted sidewalks, my hands not enough blood for the frost. I liked how he fretted, didn’t want me carrying things, but gave in against my steady wave of obstinance. I carried on, glad, as careful as possible, as velvet certain as only the oldest child of too many siblings can be. Raised to do this, navigating heavy black boxes over frozen sidewalks from the van to the stage, considering that all doors should always be about two inches wider the same way platform wheels never seem to point in the same direction.
The staff talked as if I were one of them. Casual, off-hand, slightly derisive of the people drinking at the bar. It was appreciated, it reminded me of the bigger picture, told me I belonged where I had escaped. I watched the stage, obscurely proud, taking notes on set-up for later. My perpetual need to be useful. When I ran out of things to do, I went across the foodcourt to the bathroom and yanked my hair into a knot in the bathroom, pinning it up with a pen, to came back ready to make other men jealous. Soundcheck. Percussion. Sound filling the room. Howls. When they were gone, it was sudden, it felt like the room had lost a front tooth in a playground brawl.