The other night while on a photo shoot, I looked up and saw this:
We were in a hurry. The light was waning. We had to get to the next spot for the next round of pictures. I glanced up and saw the sun all golden and aged shining perfectly through the windows. That would make a great picture, I thought, but I kept walking. Then I stopped. I'd regret not snapping this one, I knew I would. If I didn't take this photo, it would hurt.
I lost a friend 6 years ago this week. Really, I'd lost him a long time before to life. But 6 years ago I lost him to death.
Six years ago this week, I got word that he was gone and with it was the secret hope of one day seeing him again. Because that's really what you mourn when someone from your past dies. You're already used to life without them. You just aren't used to the knowing, and that's what you have to square with.
I met him in October of 1986. He was 16 and drove a '66 red mustang. I remember that he liked that. The year. His age. His car. The numbers. And I lost him in Ocotber of 2006. He was 36. And the '66 red mustang was gathering dust in an old barn.
It took 6 years for me to write the date at the top of my notebook page and forget that it was the day I lost him. I think he would have liked the symmetry of that.
And I think he would have made fun of me for stopping, for walking back. For making people wait on me. For taking a picture of an old mustang (someone else's that I'm not even sure is a '66) on an evening in October just because it still makes my heart ache.
But I did it anyway.
And my heart still aches. Not as sharply as it did 6 years ago when I couldn't think, when I couldn't speak, when all I could feel were hot tears down my face that I couldn't stop. Now, 6 years later, it's a sweeter wound. But still you want something to hold onto. And that's what this picture was for me. A way of holding on.