As soon as her photos hit my hot little hands, it is love. Her polaroids are featured on exquisite textured cards, and Jen whispers in my ear, "The Master is in the house." I flip through the collection again. Again. Twenty times. People are trying to talk to me, so I nod and make listening noises but I cannot look away. Flip. Savor. Repeat.
A few minutes later we are talking, and I tell her that I love her photographs. "Thank you," she says, as if it is a casual compliment or a polite thing I am saying. "No, you don't understand," I say. "Here--let me show you my pictures, and you will know that I really mean it." I pull out my slim volume, and she takes in a small gasp when she sees the cover. (It is true love, for sure.) She flips through the pages, and her demeanor changes. "Yes, I see. Of course. The composition. The color." She looks up at me, knowing now. All we need to know about each other is somehow in the pictures.
We talk more earnestly now, though nothing else really needs to be said, except for when will we see each other again? Will it be in New York or in Paris? It feels like Paris, with my girls. I promise to arrange the passports.
We give each other our books, like valentines. We cradle them in our hands like precious artifacts. On the plane, on the way home, it is just me, the cards, and her book. I flip through them again and again, feeling her world and our common future enfolding me in its grasp. I read through the book and hang on every word. Every image. Tearing up at the way I can still see her face.
I climb into bed every night now, next to the picture of the chairs which I imagine are ours. I sip a few of her words before sleep, just to remember that we are together. An ocean has never felt of so little consequence.
I want you to know her, too.