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The Perfect Picture- Chapter 1-Mike
Rain, that’s how it all started, with something as simple as rain. We look upon rain in one of two ways; as an annoyance or a blessing. We can see rain as a blessing when it’s brought as a relief to an absence of rain, when lands are dry and nourishment is sparse. However, we can also see rain as an annoyance, when you live in a place where it rains almost everyday.
This place is Seattle, Washington. It rains in the Seattle area more than anywhere in the U.S. The drops of rain come down in either delicate, light showers that leave the drops softly clinging to the fibers of spider webs, or in huge drops that seem to be small bombs falling from the sky and exploding on top of innocent cities.
It was an ordinary March day, raining of course. People on the sidewalks sought shelter under their copies of the Seattle Times. That seemed to be the only reason for buying one in the first place. Rain rolled off of awnings and ran down gutter pipes. The water formed streams on the sides of the crowded streets, which were then swallowed by the metal teeth of the storm drains going to somewhere far away. Passers-by walked under umbrellas or the hoods of their rain jackets. People in Seattle were unusually pale from the lack of sunlight. Someone visiting from California or another hot region of the world may think that the city of Seattle was being invaded by a horde of slow-moving zombies. Seattle people, however, don’t seem to mind. In Seattle, rain is a part of life.
I own a small store down the street from the famous Pike Place Market. I’m a photographer. I spent my free time going out into the world and taking pictures to print and sell.
I’ve traveled all over the world in search of the perfect shot. I’ve gone to the top of the Empire State Building to get a birds-eye view of New York City. I’ve gone to Egypt to witness a sun setting behind the pyramids. I’ve gone to Greece to take pictures of the peaceful, white buildings with beautiful blue domed roofs all while sitting on the soft white sand of the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen many magnificent things in my life, but I’ve never been about to get the perfect shot. One that makes you feel something in your heart and almost brings a tear to your eye.
I also stay in the area taking pictures of bar mitzvahs, events and more importantly; weddings. The pictures I take of weddings are always the same. Relatives crying tears of joy, the cutting of the cake, the million dollar kiss. It’s always the same. The bride and the groom always smiling, so caught up in all the
emotion. If only I could have been so lucky. What I wouldn’t give to be that happy. What I wouldn’t give to have finally found the girl I was meant to be with. I had been so close one time, but it was so long ago and she was the one that gave up on me.
It was right before my senior year of college was coming to an end and I had had the love of my life, Delia. She was beautiful, pure, loving, and my best friend. Her hair, light blonde, the color of soft beach sand. Her eyes, the color of the bluest oceans. We had known each other since junior high but hadn’t started dating until 3 years earlier. She was studying to be an artist. I was just trying to get through college being a history major, not knowing what I was going to do once I got out. I loved Delia more than anything in the world, as long as I had her, I would be okay.
So two days before graduation, I decided to pop the question. I took her to dinner at her favorite restaurant. When dessert had finished, I got out of my chair and onto one knee. I pulled out a small, black, velvet box and opened it to reveal the ring. “Will you marry me?” I asked simply. She stared at me open-mouthed. She stumbled for words. Everyone in the restaurant was looking at us, I didn’t care, I watched her eyes sparkle. She looked around nervously and grabbed my hand. What was happening? I thought to myself.
She brought me out to the front of the restaurant. The small box was still in my hand, open.
She closed the box and held my hands in hers. She looked up at me. “I love you,” she told me, “but I’ve decided to go to art school in Paris. I wanted to tell you but I- I wasn’t sure how.” “Oh, well okay, we can hold off getting married and I can come with you to Paris,” I said. “No Mike, you can’t, I’m sorry. I have to go alone.” She said. I stared at her. “What are you saying then? Long distance relationship?” I suggested. She looked down and shook her head. A tear dropped from her eye. “I- I just can’t handle this. I love you, but… I’m sorry.” She let go of my hands and slowly walked away. I stood there speechless. Was this a dream? More like a nightmare. She turned the corner and that was the last I saw of her. My mind wanted to run after her but my legs couldn’t move. Why was she doing this to me? She just wants to throw everything away? I couldn’t understand, I needed more details. But for some reason, I knew I had to let her go. She needed to pursue her dreams and I just had to accept it.
I sorted through things in the shop. Organized prints, counted money, and swept the marble floors. My small apartment was right above the store. A small ladder led up to it. With my work attached to my home, it was hard to get out into the real world, hard to have a life.
I stood behind the counter with the cash register. I heard the high pitched noise of the bells atop my door. I looked up and saw a red umbrella being folded back up. It was a woman. She was wearing a beige pea-coat and a magenta dress just peaking out from the hem of the coat, just hitting her knees.
She had blonde hair. It was in large curls and hit below her shoulders. She was very beautiful, soft face and… blue eyes. It took me a moment to realize who she was and when I did, my heart stopped. Delia.
“Hello Mike.” She said softly.