I am almost finished working on my second assignment for my ou course, yay!  To celebrate I decided to post the story I wrote for the first assignment back in October.
Echo Dance
Our flat, our studio flat, is a huge empty space. Often, when I come home I call his name and it will bounce around the old red brick walls and off the huge factory windows before it finds him. Buried in his work, he’ll shout back and our voices will dance together around our home, filling empty space with life. It is our daily rite, our echo dance. We’ve known each other since college, when we built a friendship working side by side in the Dark Room. By accident one day, I found I was developing a picture on paper he had already exposed. As the image swam up from the whiteness of the paper, there was I gazing wistfully out of the rain spattered pane of my student flat window, bathed in golden afternoon sunshine, and there was he on the other side, staring back with eyes haunted by blue-bright studio light. A “self portrait of loneliness” had been the assignment.
When I showed it to him, he exclaimed delight, spent a long moment lost in the coincidental brilliance of it, then looked up at me with something new in his eyes. We said afterwards that it was fate’s intervention.
The flat came after college, after his work began to take off. We created together often, but my day job was for a fashion magazine. He worked alone at home.  We developed our echo dance to reconnect at the end of the day. It was born while our belongings were still in boxes. We drank wine and revelled in our spacious new cavern, playing the echoes with our voices and learning how to make them dance together. From there, fed on happy memories, it took no time at all to grow into our echo dance.
Work never ruled us, it was merely part of the busy flow of our lives. With weekdays swallowed by separate jobs, weekends were for travel. We roamed the country, cameras in hand, sharing and recording the world together. Ideas would bounce furiously back and forth between us as our cameras clicked and flashed. We never thought the dance could end.
The  journey that sundered us.  The peace of the evening train. I recall looking up to see him watching the flickering shadows of night stealing over the world beyond the glow of the carriage, his face pressed close to the glass so he could see past it’s reflection. I recall the intensity in his watching, the concentration as he gathered inspiration from the swiftly passing landscape. He sensed my eyes, looked back at me and smiled, then the peace was ripped apart. Screaming metal, exploding glass and for a moment my heart stopped beating. We became ragdolls, tossed carelessly around the bucking train. Then in darkness, peace returned, but the echo dance was over.
I visited him today, I whispered his name, but there was no reply. The hospital smells pinched my nose and caught in the back of my throat, making the fight against tears harder. In the ward he sits regarding his reflection in the window, one of many broken souls. He doesn’t speak, they tell me he cannot. Day after day, they lead him around like a shuffling shadow, but he does not see them. He does not see me. He can only see himself. Sometimes he gets angry and he beats his body so bruises blossom on his skin. He quiets again only when they lead him to the window. So he stares, blank and hollow. I am no longer his reflection. His dissonant soul no longer echoes mine.
Our flat, our studio flat, is a huge, empty space. When I call his name, it ricochets back to me unaccompanied, leaving me to sit here in the middle of the floor, golden sunlight bathing me as I hold myself in my loneliness. I scatter pictures on the cold, tiled floor around me. His face, frozen in a hundred different expressions; so life-like, so animated, is just an echo of the man that’s gone. I find that photograph, that piece of unintended beauty that brought us together. Two overlaid images, two different moments, but our gazes are locked none the less, as if we sense the presence of each other. Posed by fate, souls bound by the alchemy of film. It was proof of destiny in a happy accident, now it is a painful reminder of what was lost. Just the last dying echo of our dance. 

  1. graniki says:

    This is powerfully sad………


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