the twelfth polaroid
Whenever I attend a group get-together I always bring one of my cameras, but I never know when it's the right time to take the picture without looking intrusive or pathetic. This time I didn't have to worry about making the move to get the picture I had wanted all night. I'm pretty sure her name was Josie, or atleast she looked like a Josie. She had long blonde hair and a thriftshop t-shirt on, even though it was the middle of winter. And she had this small, ski sloped nose which I couldn't take my eyes off of.

We tackled about every conversation piece imaginable, but I think it was when we started talking about New York City that she had made a move for the camera sitting on the coffee table. She held it and inspected it from top to bottom. Her pointer finger migrated towards the button. At arm's length, she shot the picture I had wanted to take all night long: her long blond hair, thriftshop t-shirt, and ski sloped nose.

She pulled the Polaroid out and started waving it through the air. After a minute or two, she placed the picture on the coffee table and I saw it. Throughout every conversation after that, my eyes would migrate towards the picture.

It was getting late. My chai had reached the bottom of the mug and her cider was sipped to the max. As the rest of the group (who we had so blatantly, yet unintentionally ignored all night long) were putting their coats on, we placed our mugs on the kitchen counter next to the half-eaten platter of black and white cookies. As she walked to the coat rack, I ran back to the sofa.

There were a lot of polaroids stacked on top of each other on the coffee table. I rummaged through each one but couldn't find this photo I needed. Funny - I had kept my eyes on the it all night long and now it was no where to be seen. As the group called for me to get a move on, I grabbed my camera and shoved the Polaroids into my jacket pocket and headed for the door. Josie and I had said goodbye and as she left I realized that my only hopes to prolonging this so far ephemeral crush was to find that picture. I got home and sat down on my bed with the Polaroids sitting next to me. There were 11 photos all around me of memories of the night: the coffee table, half-eaten tray of black and white cookies, the group, and even the sofa on which we sat. But there was no picture of her. The twelfth and most desired picture of the night was no where to be found.


Wednesday, March 14, 2001


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