Picturing WITH

When I look back at my life in scrapbooks, I see a childhood before my memories solidified. I see school programs in which I sang my heart out though I no longer remember why I was wearing that funny hat. I see evidence of trips with family that I don’t otherwise particularly remember. I see friends, silly antics, places and times I no longer can reference in my mind properly. I also see pictures that recall vividly the spirit of a time long past.

There was that picture of us all on the rooftop with the sun setting behind our backs…

There was that picture of me in that jacket as I leaned on the hood of a boyfriend’s car…

There was that picture of the five of us covered head to toe in dirt of discovery…

There was that picture of my newly born daughter looking into my energy as she couldn’t focus on my face…

There was that picture of my second child after wrestling his limp noodle body into a sweater following his first bath…

I can almost taste those days when I see their images. I have photos of every significant moment in my life and every nearly mundane passing minute since the advent of the smart phone with camera. Here is where the rub hits me…

While I have picture OF you, but I have no pictures WITH you. How can we feel this way when apart and have no pictures together? It is so completely fucking surreal.

This is true for every partner I have had outside of my marriage, and I fully realize that it is the nature of being safe while playing without permission. I manage discretion and privacy with a streak bordering on OCD. There are no pictures left in open folders. Everything is password protected, encrypted, and squirreled for safe keeping. I delete and close and manage risk. I also protect my partners, even the shitty inconsiderate ones, with a fierce loyalty for their security. I know how vulnerable we are.

I totally get why I wouldn’t have a picture with “that guy,” but there are three people with whom I *should* have pictures. I should have pictures with the Gemini that said he loved me but didn’t make time. I should have pictures with a man whose stories I haven’t yet published. I should have pictures with my beautiful partner of the last four months. I will have pictures with my love a world away. I know why I don’t yet, and I will make sure that particular deficiency is remedied at first opportunity.

Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until we don’t have it. I really struggle with the feeling that it didn’t happen, though I know in my capable mind that we were and are very real. I cannot look back properly at this time in my life and reference a photo to help me taste these moments.

So I write…

And, next time we take a walk, please take a picture WITH me?

2 thoughts on “Picturing WITH”

  1. That’s the suckist part of this life. The fact I know I’m a significant part of his life, yet I live only in his memory. I have no pictures with him, only pictures of him, and he of me. I’ll never meet his mom or his kids, he’ll never meet mine. We slink in the shadows, yet with him life is in fantastic color.

    I freaked out one day, after “Illicit Affairs” from Taylor Swift hit the airwaves like a pile of bricks, that he could delete me without a trace. A few clicks of a mouse and poof, I’m gone.

    He can’t leave his wife and family, he has too much invested and his wife isn’t stable. I can’t leave mine for similar reasons. I just hate to think something that feels so real and significant is so easy to erase.


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