LOVE FOR BEGINNERS

Letters by Kenny Mah

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A picture of you

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March 26, 2017


Hey you,


We walk in the rain. It’s spring in Japan.

Yesterday we marvelled at cherry blossoms, the first blooms of the season. The sky was cloudless. You were deep in concentration, taking pictures, framing each shot perfectly. I waited with our bags, then I took out my camera, the old one, the one I bought three days before our first trip to Tokyo, seven years ago, our first sakura searching party, back when I was the only one taking pictures and you’d ask me to hurry up as I lingered over a perfect shot of a bowl of ramen (never as perfect as your shots, but that makes me strangely proud somehow) because there were people standing behind us at the ramen-ya, you were so easily embarrassed and yet yesterday – just yesterday – you were taking your time and your space to get your perfect perfect shot, the rest of the world be damned.

So I took a picture of you just like that.

My pictures of food are never as good as yours anyhow. I can never capture a bird in flight before it’s out of sight, but you can. My photographs of flowers look like still life; yours look as though they still retain their fragrance if only one leaned closer.

But no one takes pictures of you the way I do.

Yesterday it was sunny and there were cherry blossoms. Today it is raining and we wander from café to café, sipping coffee and nibbling on pastries. We keep ourselves warm and delight in the fact it feels so easy to stroll around in a foreign city that isn’t a second home but feels familiar somehow in all its strangeness. We’ve been back so many times since that first spring in Tokyo, after all.

We take our time. We walk together, rain or shine. Perhaps there is no perfect perfect shot, after all, but we can’t help but smile. There is no reason not to. Nine years, I whisper in your ear. You look at me: Damn right.


Yours always and always,
K.




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