I walked into photography class and sat on the edge of a desk, the other students bubbled around me but I was perfectly content just to sit and watch. Human interactions were interesting to watch, it was strange because so few people sit and observe and so very few people realise the importance of small things like a conversation, a comment or a look. I caught a girl watching me from across the room, she had dark black hair, like me, and her eyes were huge as if I could get lost in them. I looked away before I conveyed any sort of friendliness, I didn’t want to make friends in this school, no one understood me and that was why I kept myself to myself. I could sense that she was still staring at me so I got up and pretended to look through my bag.
“Right class,” called the teacher, Mrs. Garret. “I want you all working in pairs today.” I looked up from my bag to see if there were any people in this class I’d like to work with – the answer was no. I was considering asking Mrs. Garret if I could work alone but she continued. “But I will be choosing your pairs,” my eyes met Mrs. Garret’s and she smiled at me. “Elijah, I want you to work with…” he scanned the class, “Isobel.” I didn’t know who Isobel was but by the reaction of the girl who’d been watching me, I guessed it was here. I made my way across the room with my bag slung over my shoulder.
“Hello,” she said in a low monotone,
“Hi,” I copied her tone. She seemed to be analysing me as her eyebrows mashed as if she was thinking hard about something, I just watched her knowing she wasn’t really concentrating on what she was seeing. Her face was so intense I looked towards Mrs. Garret who was still pairing people up.
“Erm what do we have to do?” she asked,
“She hasn’t told us yet,” I muttered looking back at her, her cheeks filled with blood and she looked suddenly beautiful. “Oh, my bad,” she laughed nervously and I began to get the idea that she was afraid of me. I decided I’d try and be nice, she wasn’t like the other kids and maybe we could get along? I was getting ahead of myself, but as an image of Isobel standing on my doorstep with a duffel bag filled my mind it suddenly seemed real, reachable. I only heard the end of Mrs. Garret’s assignment.
“You have 45 minutes to go out and take some photos, and then when you get back the remaining 45 minutes will be spend editing and processing. Whichever pair wins gets a prize. Go!” There was a small rush towards the cameras but Isobel stayed where she was,
“Oh no,” she said to herself,
“What’s wrong?” I asked,
“I just …I’m not very good with having my photographs taken,” she told me.
Why? You’re beautiful. I thought in my head. But I didn’t think it in my head, I actually said it. Isobel’s jaw dropped and her eyebrows raised.
“Sorry, what did you say?” she asked,
“I’m sorry; I don’t know why I said that. Well I do, you are beautiful but I didn’t mean to say it, it just slipped out and I couldn’t help it…” I trailed off, Isobel was smiling,
“No one’s ever said something like that to me,” she muttered,
“Well they should have, it is true you know. I mean if a total stranger, like me, has said it to you, it must be true,” I grinned hoping to ease the awkwardness but instead I just dug a bigger hole for myself.
“You don’t seem like a stranger though,” Isobel told me, “it’s like I’ve known you all my life,”
“I only moved to this town a few years ago,” I told her,
“You’ve just wasted ten minutes!” Mrs. Garret told us, “Get going!” I picked up a camera and Isobel followed me out the door.
“What made you take photography then?” Isobel asked, I tried not to laugh at her interview-style question.
“Well, I think the world can be such a beautiful place you know? We only get to see the rough parts of it, like on the news and stuff, when there's so much that goes undiscovered. I want to capture that beauty, show people that the World can be an incredible place, we just have to know where to look and, well, how to look.”
“Wow,” she murmured, “that’s deep, not many people see it like that, you have an interesting perspective on the world.”
“That’s because people don’t actually see, see the true beauty of things. Some people believe nothing can be done and we just have to accept it, but it’s not true, you can change a life. Everyone has the power to make a difference with just a small gesture – like a passing comment or a kiss.”
“A kiss?” she murmured touching her bottom lip, I snapped a picture,
“That’s a great pose,” I smiled looking at it on the small screen,
“Hey no fair!” she grinned trying to take the camera off me,
“A kiss can signify so much and so little, depending on who you are. A kiss between a boyfriend and girlfriend can symbolise love, a kiss of betrayal – like a boyfriend cheating on his girlfriend with another girl – can have so many implications that you don’t see at the time, we humans live in the moment and I guess photography captures that moment and eternalises it.”
“You sure you shouldn’t be taking a philosophy class?” Isobel asked,
“I just think too much, half the stuff I come up with is total rubbish anyway,” I grinned and took another picture of Isobel. “I like this one,” I said looking at it, “let’s use it.”