This post was supposed to be about a photowalk. Most of you know that I’m part of the Joburg Photowalkers; last Saturday we did a walk around St. John’s College, the oldest prep school in Jozi. It’s a beautiful campus — very Dead Poets Society. It was a lovely place to explore and I enjoyed it.
As I edited through my pictures of St. John’s, I realized this post should be about something else. Or rather someone else. This post is about Joe.
If not for Joe, I wouldn’t be part of the Joburg Photowalkers. I wouldn’t be taking photos and I wouldn’t be in Joburg.
If not for Joe, I wouldn’t have bought a fancy camera with a wide-angle lens that made me see the sky in a whole new way. I wouldn’t have noticed the way afternoon sunlight can make a flower glow from the inside out. I would have no idea how to dodge and burn in PhotoShop (actually I’m still not very good at this), and I wouldn’t know what ‘unsharp mask’ means.
Joe isn’t around right now. I don’t really know how to explain this, but let me give it a shot. Joe is away, both literally and figuratively. He’s off somewhere, in a dark place, and no one can help him find the way out. He has to figure it out himself.
I want to protect Joe’s privacy but I can’t keep blogging anymore without acknowledging his absence. I’m sure my regular readers have noticed already.
Over the last 16 months, Joe has played just as big a role in this blog as I have. He helps me select and edit every photo. He reads every post before I hit ‘publish’. He shot my 2Summers header image, and has his own 2Summers page. I think Joe was even the one who suggested the name 2Summers. But for now, I’m blogging alone.
There haven’t been many photos of me in the blog lately because Joe is normally the one who takes them. This photo is courtesy of fellow photowalker Jerome.
I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know where I’ll be in six months, or even next week. I don’t know if Joe and I will be together or apart. I’ve gotten pretty used to uncertainty over the last year or two, but I have to say, this level of uncertainty is pretty hard to take.
But you know what? Things will work out somehow. I started this journey with my eyes wide open. I knew it would be tough. And even though life is incredibly difficult right now, I don’t have a single regret. I’m a better, fuller person than I was 16 months ago. I don’t know where I’m going, but I know who I am. And I never would have known without Joe.
Nearly five years ago, Joe looked me in the eyes and saw who I really am. No one had ever done that before. Different people see different things in me, but no one had ever seen it all at once. At the time I was terrified, but now I’m grateful. Because now I see what Joe sees.
The real Joe — the one who saw me five years ago — is away right now. I don’t know when or if he’s coming back. But no matter what, I won’t forget what he’s given me.