• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 03
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Point and shoot

The boy teeters there, head thrust forward, toes over the edge. Arms stretching taut above his head, fingers fanned like feathers. I can see you fiddling with your camera a few feet away, but you’ve not noticed him.

If you had noticed him, the boy, I mean, you’d be busily working out the composition of the image you could capture; the curve of his body reflected in the pool beneath; the parasols standing guard; the glare of a distant light - perhaps another camera’s flash - from the cruise ship on the horizon.

But just at this moment, you’re focused on adjusting the settings, turning dials and changing filters, to take another photo of the sunset. To add to the 47 you’ve taken so far tonight, of this particular sunset; you took 63 last night. It is beautiful, of course. I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking at the pictures when we get back.

There are lots of your pictures at home. Professionally framed, on the walls and the mantelpiece. Of sunsets, and waterfalls, mountains and cliffs; of exotic birds in mid-flight, raindrops on cafe windows and churches lit for evensong. Panoramic vistas, architectural details, close-up portraits of locals doing charmingly ordinary things in a charmingly ordinary way. People remark on them when they come over; what stunning photos, they say. You’ve got a real talent there. You must be so proud. And you are proud; you tell them about the cameras you use, and the techniques you’ve learned over the years. You tell them about the Photoshop treatments and the difference between shooting digitally and shooting on film. You don’t really notice their eyes glazing over. Inconsequential detail.


Point and shoot

I see you look up momentarily as the boy finally dives; his entry is smooth, almost noiseless, and he resurfaces some distance away, sleek as an otter, ripples easing languidly away from him. The evening air is soft on my skin, the heat of the day still deep in my bones. I’ve dipped my toes in the pool now, keen to feel the blessing of the water on my feet, which, come to think of it, are aching after the long walk today. I wriggle my toes, sip my wine, think about lighting a cigarette. I gave up ten years ago, but I still miss it.

There are photos of me from back then. They’re in boxes on the shelf in the spare room. That was when you just had ‘a little point and shoot’ for holiday snaps. There are pictures of me and the kids when they were younger. Posing a little awkwardly, often dishevelled, definitely not works of art, but smiling. I’m pretty sure we did more smiling.

You stand and stretch, putting the camera back gently in its protective case. The light’s going. Tomorrow, I think I might take a walk to the resort shop; see how much it is for a packet of Marlboro.