This image was part of a vote the artist had setup, to choose an image for his 1000 word description of the image. For some reason, I felt compelled to do the same thing, and use it as a critique. Hopefully, in my 1000+ words, you as a viewer can see the Vision, Originality, Technique, and Impact, and why I scored them the way I did. I know, yet again, it is something eclectic from me, but are you really surprised that I decided to go a road less traveled?
She never could understand how someone could feel all alone among so many people around them, until that late afternoon, as she sat overlooking the Saane.
It was a Tuesday lunch at Confiserie Eichenberger, a place she was always partial to, especially the service, as the staff had always been kind and considerate, giving her reason to make the place her favorite lunch spot on Tuesdays, the one day she could depend on being quiet, and could enjoy her sandwich and tea, away from the noise of her kiosk at the Bahnhofplatz where she worked.
Levin was new to the staff of the Confiserie, a bright and energetic boy, one that wouldn’t be noticed, unless one had specifically acquainted themselves with the staff over the years, and the addition would be easily noticed.
“Your roll… “ He said, while laying the plate in front of her. “More tea?” He asked her, as she looked up from her book to see his Hazel eyes, and shy smile. “Why yes please and thank you.”
Looking back on that moment, as she sat upon the bench, staring out, and beyond the river she was above, made her feel even more alone. That morning, she had been in the same cycle of being alone. Living alone, going to work alone, eating alone, returning home after work alone, only to find herself doing the same thing the next day. She had her books and her poetry, just like in the song “I am a rock” by Simon & Garfunkel, a song that she had thought the lyrics of, would be the beginning, middle, and end of her life, until that Tuesday…
“You are new here, are you not? Aylin asked as she found herself trapped in his gaze, in his smile, in the soft tone of his voice. “Yes miss, I am, is there anything I may get for you?” He replied, his smile broadening. “No thank you, I must be off soon, my kiosk can only stay closed for so long, before the afternoon schedule picks up, and I will lose needed business.” She said, as he stood bent over, watching her eyes carefully, as each word came from her lips.
This bench on the river is where he found her weeks later, where she spent most of her time reading, when she would venture out of the house, just for a change in scenery, but now this bench took on a new meaning, one that the lyrics of that song, brought to its fruition as always.
So many people down below, so much movement on the river, but all of it held no meaning, all of them were irrelevant that late afternoon that she sat there. The air was still, what noises existed, did not exist in her isolation, as empty as the river seemed that late in the afternoon.
“Hey, you are the Tuesday tea girl!” Levin said smiling as he notice Aylin at the kiosk. “The new man.” she replied with a smile. “What brings you here to the station?” was exactly what he needed to hear from her, to have an excuse to strike up a conversation. “Actually, I was headed home. I am done for the day, and seeing as the weather has gotten better, I can go back to walking to and from work. I can also start going back to my artwork.” “Artwork?” she replied curiously.
He had not lived in Bern long, and this bench seemed to be exactly what he was looking for, when he said he needed somewhere that he could look over, and out to and from. And of course, what a perfect opportunity to get to know him better! I can read, he can draw, the bench is just big enough for two she remembered telling him when he decided to hang out at the kiosk, to walk home with her that afternoon.
She sat in the center of the bench this afternoon, her usual spot was on on the left, with Levin being right-handed, he obviously was offered the right-hand side the first time they arrived. What a gentleman he was, noticing she held her book with her right hand, but switched hands, just for him. “But if you hold the book in your left hand, you will be facing away from me when you turn the pages, how will I ever get to see your face? It’s kind of hard to make a portrait, when the model is facing away you know.” At that moment, she fell in love. His attention to detail was just as important to him, as it was her. He with his eyes a camera that relayed the image to his hand, and her, her eyes a camera that interpreted the words into pictures for her brain, but not today.
The bell sounded five times as she sat motionless, reminding her that she was alone. The bell was the signal that it was time to close the kiosk for the day, and grab Levin by the hand, and walk to her house, where Levin kept his pad and pencils. It was their usual routine, to stop there on the way up and across the river to the bench, and then his house for tea, when coming back across the river, to return home. But not today.
“No miss, he isn’t here.” the staff member said as she inquired why Levin was not at work that Tuesday, the one day of the week she had assigned not to the quiet, but to the hustle and bustle that invigorated her, prior to going to the Confiserie for lunch, to see him. “He didn’t show up for work this morning, I was the one they called in to take his shift.” the young woman said as the smile on her face faded.
It was a lonely service she thought, looking out still, still seeing no life, where she had just seen no life. The church and the service had been supplied by his landlord, his aunt, the woman that told him to come to Bern, and live in one of her rentals. It was just her, and the aunt, alone. Alone again. She had just left that fruition that haunted her behind, only to have it return, making her wonder why she had ever thought that song could ever be escaped.
The service was at 3:00 pm, and when it ended, she found herself across the river and back to the bench. Five bells now signified that he would not be meeting her at the kiosk, that she would not be holding the book in her left hand anymore, and at this moment in time, she had no interest in those words that he requested she read aloud to him, while he sketched. All she could feel was nothing, all she could see was emptiness, alone, even with the city alive below her, she sat about the river, alone. Again.
His aunt said she found him in the bathroom, on the floor. He had not stopped by her door to say goodbye as usual, and she could tell that the water had been running for quite some time, and wondered why it had not stopped. Did he leave it on? Was he in that big of a hurry to get to work that he forgot to both turn off the water, and say goodbye that morning. She at least had to go check, and turn the water off.
“They said he had an aneurism that went undetected in his stomach.” She said softly as they stood at the service, alone. “He never even knew.”
I took this picture on a Tuesday afternoon, I happened to see her, just sitting there. I don’t know why, something just seemed so still, so silent, so frozen in time. After taking the picture, I walked over to explain what I had done, and why I thought her picture would fit well with my portrait project. She smiled, and sang this to me:
“Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before,
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.”
I looked at her, wondering if that was some sort of consent to use the image that I had somehow missed, and that is when she told me the story, that I am telling you.
I saw her last month, I happened to be on my way to the same place I was headed for that Tuesday afternoon when she caught my eye, and she was there again, still alone.
I stood there behind her, and looked over the river. And I finally saw what she had seen when she looked out beyond the landscape.
About the Artist/Photographer:
Check out the other models who have participated so far in my Polaroid Portrait Project
-> Deviantart Portfolio Page peddlingofbeauty.daportfolio.c…
-> Gallery Folder picture-bandit.deviantart.com/…
-> Blog picturebandit.wordpress.com/po…
-> Gravatar Contact: en.gravatar.com/picturebandit