Built-In SadnessThursday, March 01, 2012
|Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward
On Tuesday I showed my class at Focalpoint one of my portfolios. It was one that featured complex lighting. It is a tear sheet portfolio which means that the pictures where in pages from magazines that had given me the assignment to shoot them. My students looked at me oddly and one asked, “Did you take all those pictures?” My answer was part incredulous and part sad/cynical;” Do you think I would show you these unless I had not taken them?”
Such a situation is most humbling. Unless you rob a bank or you are politician caught in act of stealing you are quickly forgotten and anything you might have done in the past is forgotten, too. I do not think that I will attempt to avoid this fate, an inevitable one, by asking my wife to purchase a park bench with my name on it once I am gone.
I will not hide the fact that my de-facto retirement from my profession has left me feeling a tad empty and much more guilty when know that I can stay in bed in the morning if I want to or that I can read any book, also in bed, I want until late.
And I will not hide the fact that writing a blog every day has become a strain as my ambition on what my blog should be becomes more complex. Consider that I am currently re reading two science fiction novels involving priests from the Society of Jesus who go to space. One tries to determine if the inhabitants of a distant planet in a distant star system have a soul. The other arrives at the conclusion that the world he is discovering was created by the devil. And why am I reading these novels? Because I met a brother of Holy Cross, in Austin recently who is Puerto Rican and he reminded me of the two Jesuit protagonists.
To escape it all I decided to sift through some of my not-yet-filed photographs which are in boxes full of white standard size office envelopes.
I saw one long lost negative of my eldest daughter, Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward. The photograph has always haunted me. No matter how often Ale might laugh and sound cheery there is always that built-in sadness in her face. The picture reminded me of a more recent one, perhaps four years old, of Rebecca Anne Stewart my granddaughter which I took in Mérida, Yucatán. There is that sadness there, too.
When I look at pictures of myself as a young boy I remember that I had and still have a crooked smile. I was embarrassed by it so I rarely smiled. In my family my glum expression was called “the Alex face”.
I believe that both my daughter and granddaughter did not inherit my Alex face. What they have is a delicate sadness that comes from an awareness the life is not easy and that it sometimes hurts.
|Rebecca Anne Stewart
These days she is almost glum, not sad, and surly, too. We (but not Rosemary) clash so she avoids visiting us on Saturdays. I long for a phone call, “Cómo estás papi?” I want to hug her but the moment I see her I just freeze and I don’t.
Ale, much cheerier these days from her outpost in Lillooet, would probably say, “Va a pasar, ya verás.” It will pass you just wait and see.
I am hoping she is right.