There aren’t many times I regret not taking a photo, mostly because I usually don’t let an opportunity for an image go. I don’t often care if I feel awkward or if it’s inconvenient; as a photographer, I am always considering light and composition and how they influence the life happening around me. I almost can’t consider life without conserving as much as possible through a lens.
Tonight, I desperately regret not taking the image because it was beautiful and it was fleeting.
My girl asked me to have dinner last minute tonight. Her brother is with their dad and she is alone housesitting. She reached out to me like a friend, looking for company, wanting to connect. I left the gym and met her at Chive to share a salad and stories of the day. I love how chatty she was, her eyes light and bright and excited when talking about her new school schedule. She spoke of art and traveling and teachers and portfolios. She has always seemed so adult to me, but tonight somehow, the conversation reminded me of just how mature she is.
Her hair fell in soft ginger waves around her face, her ringlets less restricted as of late without product. With every day that passes, she seems to become more one with the earth. I admire her commitment to all things natural. Her eating habits are impeccable and she suffers no hydrogenated oils. I sat across the table from her, listening to her animated accounts, feeling distracted to think these days are so limited now that she is a senior. I envied her perfect complexion and thought about how I should drink more water.
Her eyes took a cue from the pale green wall behind her in their hue, heightened by the last of the golden light through the window as the sun sank lower in the evening sky. We opted for a quiet table in the corner, that really wasn’t quiet at all. Tuesday night is Kids Eat Free at Chive, but the screaming babies and wild toddlers were irrelevant. The little ones among my now big one were somehow apropos.
As she spun stories of her day and her varied plans for the future, all I could think of is how very grateful I am for this compassionate, warm, wonderful human. She is beautiful, to be sure, but it is a beauty that begins as a light deep within and seeps through her tiny pores, pausing at the freckles haphazardly dashed across her cheeks, screaming out her wide luminous smile she offers without hesitation to all.
Time waits for no man. I would even argue it sprints as if to test our emotional endurance. I wish I would have taken people more seriously when they warned me how quickly the years would go.
I wish I would have taken that image of my girl tonight at dinner, sweet face framed with soft curls, complete with perfect nose.