He Who Sees Only Black and White
Her friend, a photographer who favored black and white over color tells her, ‘You are just running away from it all.’
He would sit, hands lightly crossed over the Nikon sitting comfortably on his bulbous belly, and make pronouncements.
‘You think you can keep this charade up for long? You think no one will ever know?’
She watches him under the amber glow of the bar lamps. Their drinks sit still on the table, only the oily swirls of the liquid seem to be moving. Is it a charade, she wonders, to love this deep, to be suffused so thoroughly with longing, to feel as though you would go mad with desire?
She says nothing, he is after all, her friend. She waits the silence out. Her friend shakes his head in exasperation and lights a cigarette. The smoke twirls around his head, enveloping his shiny pate in a blue haze.
She thinks, you’re a good man, a loyal friend, fierce and unyielding in your love. But you cannot know my heart, how it yearns for him who says he cannot be wholly mine. How can you know that when you yourself are trapped in a faded love, a love long gone, held together only by the habit of years?
‘How is Sarah?’ she asks him, pointedly.
He taps the cigarette into an ashtray worn by countless other cigarettes. He looks at her calmly before answering.
‘She’s the same. Always at home, always asking me where I am.’
‘And do you answer?’
‘I tell her I’m busy. There’s the show opening next month. Australia in January.’
‘Will she come?’
‘I don’t know, I haven’t asked her.’
He sighs, then reaches across the table for his scotch. The Nikon slides off his belly and rests in his lap. She hears the ice cubes clink into the bottom of the glass, hears the soft thud as the glass plops back onto the coaster.
She knows he doesn’t have all the answers.