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A Trek up the 405

I am a visual person. When I sat down to watch this man explain his love for the woman who changed his life, I thought about the picture it would make. I was alone. Fold out chairs filled the room. My hair was almost white, bleached. The images before me were those of a woman who traveled across the Australian desert to the Indian ocean. Blonde, blue, orange, red, black, crispy, stars, sand, tan, ocean, freedom, love filled the walls directly in front of me.

“We tend to avoid the things that scare us. Robyn, she ran toward them.”

This was told to the audience of one, as the photographer who captured her journey through his lens explained his own adventure. He fell in love with her. I thought to myself any man would have. It’s funny how attractive people become when they don’t have time for love.

I sat slightly to the right. Rule of thirds. It would have been a picture of magic. A young woman looking to another for a métier she couldn’t find herself. A strength to be lost. There was something beautiful in the way that the middle aged man on the screen retraced his first and most important love. He drew it with a mysticism in his eyes that brought him back to the moment. He fell all over again.

Once the documentary was over, I stood from my black folding chair, coming to terms with the fact that this moment would not be recorded on film. They had a thin National Geographic with the article Robyn wrote. It’s what I could afford. The woman sitting in the gallery’s customer service told me the article was not for sale. Her hair stood tall on her head in a beehive of weaved braids. She was beautiful with a slight gap in her front teeth and light pink lipstick covering her full lips. She looked at me, up and down. There I stood, an obvious fan in my khakis and flowy plaid shirt. My pants were cuffed exposing the fine blond hair I had allowed to grow on my ankles, mimicking Robyn’s. It looked as though I was ready for my own trek.

Alone can be hard sometimes, but driving up the 405, toward this exhibit, it felt liberating. The feeling that comes when you’re on a voyage with no time limit. The freeway was packed. Its six lanes were flooded with break lights. I began looking into windows, creating stories for the bearded man in the red mini cooper and the woman in the beige minivan with no children but many boxes. I wondered what people thought when they looked in at me. I began creating my own story. Finally, the stagnant pool of cars turned into a steady flowing stream.

“Take it. Don’t tell anyone. Merry Christmas.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you so much!”

I turned around and exited the windowed door before the woman with pink lips could change her mind. I was on Constellation Ave, which intersected with Avenue of the Stars.

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