When I’m away I take copious amounts of photos. I love photographing old men in conversation with each other, for instance or even just companionable silence. But I also love capturing moments in lives of others and imagining what they may be thinking or where they’re going or from where they have just come.
Occasionally I get a nice surprise. I caught an epic scowl on a woman’s face, full of food, as she looked incredulously at the man beside her telling tall tales. I have a shot of a man who looks down on his luck, maybe homeless, giving a morsel of his sandwich to a stray cat. A nun, head bent under an umbrella against the rain who catches me, capturing her. And on and on. My secret goal is to share each of these photos with you and my imagined scenarios.
But I’ve been lazy, in a slump, distracted, too busy, bored. Pick one. They’re a lovely bouquet of excuses, don’t you think?
But here’s my valiant start…
This is a favorite photo from a recent trip to Paris. It’s just a building, albeit a very French one, but I can imagine the stories behind each balcony.
The old widower who has lived in the same third floor flat since he was a child. His wife having just passed away you would think he would be lonely, but there are neighbors who have been there nearly as long as he and they come to visit every day.
The young couple in love who purchased a turntable, along with their unfurnished apartment, to play old swing records so they could dance in their nearly empty living room until dawn.
The nosey old lady – that isn’t even that old – that opens her door a crack to peer out whenever she hears chatter or footsteps nearby.
And me. I have a completely divine imagined life on the fifth floor of this building. My flat is small but filled with light. I have a small bistro table and two chairs crammed into my tiny kitchen, right by the window so I can write with a view and pick up inspiration from the walking stories below. When I’m not observing life from the cafe at street level, of course.
I’ve heard it said that daydreamers are generally unhappy. I guess I could believe that. For some. We don’t often get to fulfill our fantasies, but that interior life full of imagination and possibility is a rich one. And every now and then, when the picture is clear enough and the desire matches the intended path of the wishful idealist, magic happens.
I’m not giving up my imagined playmates and enchanted homes any time soon. Instead, I’ll go visit them.