By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa
I remember the first day I saw her. We were at a briefing at the local youth centre listening to government employees gloating about their boss’s good deeds. It was a boring meeting. I didn’t even want to go there. But there I was and there she was. The municipality was starting a program to uplift the youth through art. They had called us (the local artists) to participate in the program and blah blah blah. I seriously didn’t get much of what they were saying. How could I? Once my eyes caught her I couldn’t pay attention to anything else. She was taking pictures of the meeting, literally making love to that camera. Not once did she look at me. Well, without taking pictures that is. I sat there yearning for some eye contact – any contact. The more I watched her work the camera, the more my heart ached. I got the urge to take pictures of her as well. It felt as though she was modelling pictures of perfection. If you’ve never seen how sexy photographers are at work then you will not understand this. As she went down on one knee for that high-end shot – Click. As she winked one eye to focus the other on the lens – Click. As she roamed the room looking for that prefect shot – Zoom and Click! Simply amazing! Her pictures came out beautifully. I decided to stop taking pictures of the photographer and pay attention like all normal people were. I couldn’t. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. How could I when she was strutting perfection in front of me? I knew at that moment that she had to be mine.
I had fallen in love with the lady behind the camera. She didn’t have that magazine cover type of beauty. She had black and brown dreadlocks hanging freely under a bucket hat. Her small body nicely fitted in a jean and grey t-shirt. The best part – her mismatched socks showing above her navy blue slippers. She oozed the kind of confidence that those super models can only dream of. There is something incredibly sexy about a woman comfortable in her skin. She had all that, mixed with the right amount of roughness.
Now the challenge was to approach her. Look; I’m a writer so I am naturally awkward in face-to-face meetings. I think there was a moment where people introduced themselves and what they do, in order to be placed in the project. I didn’t get her name! Can you believe it? I actually don’t even remember the introductions. I remember being surrounded by other writers and all of a sudden I was selected to manage the whole production. That was the wake up call. I had to pay attention because the team of writers are the core of the project. What was the project? A short film showcasing the talent of the city. Huh! A city like Durban needs more than a fifteen minutes film to showcase the talent that is there. The writing team had their work cut out for them. We rolled our sleeves and got to work.
By the time the team dispersed we were all exhausted. Durban is a city that is already labelled Africa’s playground and we had to come up with a short film to top that! It was a rollercoaster ride with all the feels that come with it. Exhilarating and scary! We all knew that at the end of the day we had to present our ideas to everyone and that was the scary part. We were five writers with our fair share of rejection letters. Never mind the number of acceptance letters, every rejection cuts deep. We are fragile beings, believe it or not, but we were confident with our proposal. The presentation was a story for another day, that afternoon we had to rest our minds.
The walk back to my flat was slow and a bit relaxing. The sea breeze coming from the harbour did wonders to me. I was walking with the writing team and we were being stupid young adults and laughing like crazy at that. We attempted dangerous stunts “cross in front of the train” – stupid too, but hey it helps to unwind. My flat is across the street from the youth centre so immediately after the stupid crossing I’m at the door. I silently went in while my mind played rewind on the events of the day. I then remembered her. I cursed! Not only didn’t I get her name, I didn’t ask about her from my team! How stupid could one be? I spent the rest of that afternoon eating microwaved popcorn and going through the pictures on my phone. I may have not gotten her contact details but I knew deep in my heart that I would meet her again. And we would walk together, holding hands towards the sunset. Okay maybe the sunrise – Durban has the most incredible sunrise along the ocean. Yes, it would be me and my fabulous photographer riding off to the sunrise. Let the writer dream okay…
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