An hour and 38 minute. That’s how long I have spent looking for one photograph.
Remember when we had boxes of prints and they’d either be roughly organized by year, separated into bundles of 24 or 36 as the roll allowed, or they’d be scattered haphazardly in a big container, where you might find a baby picture in with the sweet sixteen shots? Before I learned how to organize my digital albums, they resembled the old school “miscellaneous picture” box quite accurately. Everything miss-marked, no dates to distinguish the first years of college from the last. A mess.
This is what I was up against today, and, being the photo lover I am, I’ll estimate I had about 5,000 photos more than anyone else in a similar predicament.
The photo in question was taken on the first Valentine’s Day I spent across the ocean from my beau. Having received a giant box full of chocolate candies and buttery French biscuits delivered to my college post office box, I displayed them all on my dorm room bed and proudly took a picture.
(Now that I am writing this, it seems silly I wasted my time looking through every single random album for an image of chocolates. You don’t need to see it; I’m telling you, there were dozens of chocolate bars. You believe me, right?)
What I suppose I was grasping for was the memory, which I’ll always have whether or not I find that darn photo. Like some of the chocolate bars strewn across my bed, the recollection is bittersweet. I am across the Atlantic from him now as I was then. Envisioning his note — “Let’s not be apart for Valentine’s Day again” — I feel a tinge of frustration, as if somehow I’ve broken a pact.
Maybe it’s just as well I didn’t find the picture. Looking unsuccessfully for it gave me the chance to find dozens of other photos from the beginning, including this one, taken the day after we met:
This was one of the first (silly) pictures we took together, and I don’t even remember why we linked arms. (Was it our first unspoken pact?) Out to dinner with new friends on a weekend trip to Bordeaux, my American girlfriends and I remember that the restaurant was packed and understaffed and we had to finagle our way in. Geoffroy and Louis saved the day by offering to cook their own meals. The chef threw up his hands and tossed them each an apron. Cook their own meals they did!
On that same weekend, we “redecorated” Mickael’s van when he was away:
Then we climbed the Great Dune of Pyla, the tallest sand dune in Europe. Dipping our toes in the Atlantic, we waved toward our homeland…The boys even produced a flag for us to fly in America’s direction as they belted out their best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
I certainly feel happy now that I’ve shared these photos and memories with you, even though they aren’t really pertinent to Valentine’s Day. Maybe not as a picture of dozens of chocolate bars strewn atop a bed would have been.
But to me, this is better.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope you’re with your honeys!