the tides maya wheeler

I told her to sit on the edge, to look out and appreciate. To look out and see everything. I told her about the night that i had wandered drunkenly through the woods to get to this spot. The clear night in October although hazy still replays in my head. I recalled it quietly, just for us to hear. - The moon hung bright in the sky and i felt alone falling in and out of consciousness. I had passed out on the back of my friend and i awoke to someone kicking the remnants of the burnt out fire off the edge. The embers mimicked the blinking stars in the sky…- She turned her head back to look at me for I had fallen silent and I looked up bringing the camera to my eye. She looked beautiful, she looked concerned.
I let her wander and followed close behind. As she looked at every tree and admired every leaf, I watched her ponder the beauty of nature. I don't think she realized just how wonderfully she blended into it. The small redhead was a deer, a doe. Kind and small she could not harm anything in nature. She took a seat on the cold earth and was unbothered by it, she took in everything below her. She accepted it, greeted it even, warmly. The cold fall air tugged at her hair and made it whistle around her, she did not try to fix it, just sat there calmly and took it in. I did not draw her attention from it, instead i sat behind her and admired her calm demeanor. Her shoulders would soften occasionally from her breathing but she would return to her natural pose. Not coldly sat but not relaxed, poised.
together we wandered, quietly. she asked me where my favorite spot was, from the night that i had been there blindly. I lead her back to the edge where we had first been and had her turn away from it. Behind her she saw the graffiti. -WISHUWEREHERE. y o u a r e h e r e.- two different peoples art complimented each other so pleasantly that they were imprinted in my intoxicated brain. however no matter how hard i tried i couldn't recall the person that my impaired brain was wishing for so eagerly. She climbed on top and crouched, closed herself off. Spiritually, mentally, physically i couldn't read her. Whatever or whoever she was thinking about she didn't want me to know. her expression became not sad but focused. In this moment i had never been more spiritually connected to the earth. y o u a r e h e r e. it clicked in my brain. i am here. i am alive and it's with this girl, in this place that my spirit is conscious. she opened herself up again and her spirit entangled with mine from even the farthest distance as i snapped the picture and i swore that as i did i could see our spirits dancing.
I had remembered The Universe’s Eye from almost falling completely off the cliff that night in october. I had remembered the peculiar disrepute that filled my impaired body and as i slid down onto the meager step below the cliff i felt the apprehensiveness fill my sober lively body. It was watching closely. It saw the beauty in the days situation. It wanted to be captured and it wanted to be captured with her. Every time i went to take a shot she would turn her head almost so the universe would be able to show its exquisiteness, so she wouldn't distract. She wanted to be apart of it, not the focal of it. She did not compete, she was humble and her humbleness made it look as if the universe smiled. The atmosphere surrounded her is the warmest colors, complimenting her firey hair and flattering her peachy pale skin. Together they danced, mindful of each others personal space, waltzing quietly, platonically, beautifully.
it was grey outside and had been drizzling all day, She was nervous, not about being rained on but i think about letting my camera see Her. She never said it but it was incredibly visible. we got outside and She stood awkwardly next to me until i ushered Her to my front steps. I told Her to sit and so She did. i sat Her up and brought my camera to my eyes -test shot- i adjusted Her hair -test shot- i smiled at Her painful awkward dryness. -i've never seen you look so scared of me before- She laughed nervously and i got my first shot. beauty undefined by any word in every language, She wouldn't believe it, almost couldn't. i admired Her from behind my camera, seeing everything in hi-def, this little missing piece of Her ear that She hated, had looked even more elegant than normal. She laughed clumsily, Her lips parting to reveal the smile that had brought and would bring me so many years of happiness.
there is beauty, there is grace, and then there's Her. She is alive. around Her was the remnants of the melted february winter. the leftovers from the destruction that had passed, were brought to life again by Her presents. She brought warmth everywhere She walked on that cloudy day and as i sat Her under the pine tree and squatted in front of Her, i swear i could feel nature coming to life again. then She did the worst thing She could possibly do, She smiled so big and so bright and so confidently, i heard the wind around us gasp as the camera shuttered. I had never been more envious of the inanimate object that i held in my hand, the privilege it had to capture and hold such a bewitching creature and when She made a move to stand, the earth beneath Her sighed, wishing it could open, if only to contain Her liveliness for a moment.
She lead the way to where She wanted to be captured next, no longer uneasy about the small object i held in my hand. blossoming, She let Her sweater slide down off Her shoulder and when She looked up at me ready for Her shot She flashed Her true face, the face of an Angel. i had never known the universe to be so kind nor had it ever been before, atleast, not to my knowledge. i must have paused without realizing it because the Angel in front of me began to grow concerned. -what? is there something on my face?- i shook my head no and requested She do it again. She must've known what i was talking about even though i wasn't even completely sure. again She pursed Her lips and looked up at me ready for Her shot but this time i was ready and captured the Angel i'd seen before.
after lowering my camera She raised an eyebrow and my breath caught in my throat. Her eyes told all in that moment. She was not just alive, She was not just an Angel, She was everything. Her lips curling up in another sly smile, She still remained soft. She was ruling, She is a Goddess. Her skin soft, just like Her eyes, they shyly hide Her sadness but also share Her love and devotion to those that are devoted to Her. as i looked further into them i could feel my mind start running, like i was getting lost in the maze that She created in Her humongous tiger eyes. the world around us became deafeningly silent. there was just me and Her as i reached up to tuck Her hair behind Her ear. i finally saw Her as She was, a tiny creator, an all powerful lover.
He loved her powerfully, this i knew before i had even began to know her. His eyes had never held so much passion, such wildness. She quietly accepted it, she enjoyed it, welcomed it. They were cosmic opposites, their paths forced to cross by the universe. Her, sweet, kind, loving, shy. Him, loud, outgoing, independent, tough. They couldn't be separated, when one moved so did the other, opposites clearly attract. As i sat beside them i watched him chase her with his savage eyes. The longer they sat together the more their souls fought to intertwine, the more their souls fought to separate. This was the quiet before the storm. The passion to make it work was so strong in both of them, you could feel it tugging at the corner of your own soul, with barely any knowledge of them soon, you too, would want it to work. They craved toxicity, maybe both blinded by the others words, maybe they didn't care. It didn't take looking through a lense to figure this out but it did take looking through a lense to grow myself. This was the start to learning how to move on. The universe was shoving us all in a circular motion and it seemed almost unending, the atmosphere around us was cold, there was a barbaric needing surrounding us to which we all ignored for the sake of the camera. The sun shown in the window beside us and her soft pointed nose turned up to it. The calm before the storm had officially settled in as he admired her beauty with his insane color changing eyes. There was no trouble in paradise, for the moment.
We didn’t speak as the sun disappeared behind a cloud, instead we watched with pain. I stayed quiet and i pointed my camera. The realization that this state of calm was temporary flashed behind both of their eyes, she longed silently for the sun to come back. Everything around us became brittle almost like eggshells surrounded us. The happiness that they wore on their faces, disappeared if only for a minute but i caught it and in its place was worry and intoxication. You could feel the storm coming, it was nearing fast. They didn't falter, instead they pulled each other closer, smothering one another trying to fight off the others criticisms. Both stubborn, both sensitive, both infatuated, both right, both wrong. They didn't do it on purpose as said the universe had forced these paths to cross. He held her close as they watched the storm roll in together and while the attention was drawn elsewhere, I let the rolling thunder mask my quiet exit, and to this day, i still do.
We could never seem to get the timing right, on anything, ever. Nevertheless when he asked me to capture him I jumped at the chance. When I woke up that day I was not disheartened by the lack of sunshine, something about the cloudiness was appropriate. The moment i pulled out my camera -there’s too many people, maybe we should do this a different day- he started to waiver. I just smiled and sat down in front of him, queuing up the first shot. -relax- as i began to take test shots and sort his lighting, i told him about the last time i had felt as uneasy as he was. Uneasy was not a small inanimate object, uneasy was a boy, wearing a black t-shirt and a watch too big for his arm. Uneasy was persistent, entirely too noticeable, and incredibly overbearing in a good way. His lips turned up at the corners. He protested it, tried to hide it, but even the tattered hat on top of his head couldn't hide the bit of sunshine that protruded from his dauntless face and body and with one quick shot it was forever taken captive in a picture.
He loves to be loved and my lens was infatuated with him. Art is to always be preserved, art is vital to the human experience, art mustn't be vandalized. However unfortunately, art wasn't always deemed indispensable. The curve of his shoulders the frame of the portrait, the creases in his forehead remnants of where others had tried to destroy. Even with the tatters, he was history and so the preservation would continue. The definition of important in terms of art, when looked up is, significantly original and influential, this piece of art lived up to every word in its definition. He could never be copied, no copy would be as influential. Museums will forever have to take turns displaying him in their hallowed halls. He would always grow to appreciate the beautiful blondes that spent hours right in front of him admiring his tatters, talking of restoration, trying to make him new again. They loved to fix, loved to try and make whole again. They never understood that although, that may be what he wants, it's not necessarily what he needs. Sometimes what he needed was the quiet brunette that sat on the couch in front of him staring for hours at what she thought so beautiful.
Printed on a canvas somewhere in the universe, there's a constellation made up in the image of him, the stars shine in different colors there. Like a song that's made to fade in and out of your headphones every noise and hum intrigues the listener more. When I raise my camera this time to capture the otherworldly miracle, I capture the collision of the stars in his constellation. It's nearly impossible to experience a shift in the universe, to see a mandela effect right before your eyes but what i encapsulated in my small camera was just that. I captured a constellation, joyous. A forgotten piece of art, elated. Although blurry, still proof. The laugh like the strum of a guitar and the feeling it gave like taking a shot in the dark, scary but fulfilling. He was the feeling of a shiver sent down your spine, he was the rain after a drought but he himself caused the drought. He was the universe and he had me candid. I silently told him to lie to me, to tell me that he loves me and this he did effortlessly with no hesitation and without words, it took nothing but a laugh for me to understand. One laugh, one shot, the capture of a universe inside the body of a boy. With this, the first and last shoot i would come to do of him, I felt my spirit grow, not by inches or feet but by lifetimes. He made me come alive again, he made me feel almost brand new.
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maya wheeler

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