This is a photograph of being in love.

It’s a picture of a feeling in a moment.

It’s a record of a time when the whole world came alive.

I took it from inside a girl’s convertible.

She came and picked me up and she drove me around. Somewhere along the way the top came down. I remember looking over and seeing her smiling.

It was about the best thing of all time.

A whole lot happened in the years before this photo. And a whole lot has happened since. I’m not saying that this was the greatest moment of my life. But if I had to pick one to live in, it’d be this.

I don’t even know where this photo was taken. Where we were then in space or time. At this point I was just snapping photos upward, blind. Of the buildings, the lights, the sky.

I don’t know if that’s a wall there or if it’s a bus. I don’t know if we’re in a tunnel or if that’s a streetlight.

Out of frame, she’s beside me and our future is ahead.

Or at least, so it seemed at the time.

I don’t think I’d ever been in a convertible before, except my grandma’s when I was young and the top stayed up. I don’t know how come it took so long for me to get inside one.

I don’t know when the next will come along.

The idea is to describe this photo in a thousand words. But I’m stopping here at a quarter that. There’s no way to go on; that’s the problem with a photograph:

You can stop time, but you can’t bring the future back.

.

7/24/09
4:45 am

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BEN LOORY's fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on This American Life, at Word Theatre, and on Selected Shorts. His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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