This post is not about anything that happened on our most recent trip. This goes back to a time, over a year ago when we were having dinner at an outdoor restaurant In Brussels. At the end of the final course, I excused myself to go to the loo. On the way to the back of the building I discovered another dining area, a garden and a fountain. And a few statues. One of them caught my eye. I took several photos of her from various angles.
I was seduced by one in particular. It’s the one shown above. There was something about her smile, the placement of her arm and her figure. But it was the gaze on her face and her obvious grace that captured me. She was looking to her right. I’ve seen that smile before. She’s a bit coquettish and sexy and seductive, but that wasn’t the focus of my attention.
I’ve seen that look before. I saw it in my wife’s face shortly after we met. I’ve seen it in my past, from the delicate faces of the girls and women I thought I loved…and perhaps I did at the time. But it’s a universal profile. A glance that says “Maybe it’s you I love” or “Come up and see me sometime”.
My self-image leaves much to be desired. I wish others could perceive me as I wish, not as I am. I also know that this is a symptom of one who feels the loss of youth and is facing old age. It’s odd, but change occurs slowly…every day and you don’t notice it until you see an old photo of yourself. I knew when I lost my youth…it wasn’t that many years ago. It took a clean mirror. A mirror that was honest with me. Coming to grips with that has been hard for me. What happened to the last thirty years? I’ve no idea.
I gaze into the mirror and see white hair and bags under my eyes. It seems like every joint in my body from my waist down could use a shot of Valium.
However, I feel in my heart, that at a distant time in the past, the young woman above would have gone for a walk with me. But I have to live with the fact that she will never age, unlike me, save for weathering and lichen and moss that will someday grow on her ankles, shoulders and all that hair.
[The photo is mine]