The mystery of the rose
Oct 1, 2013 / 5:00 am
I emerge from the RCA building to spritzes of rain that mist the railings, the benches and the yawning waste bins. Droplets hang on the underbelly of giant, silver rings emerging from the concrete like Olympic hoops. But no bikes are tethered there, and they entreat my camera’s eye. Through them it blinks in time to capture the intrusive strut of skinny jeans.
The monitor opens and relieves my disappointment with a perfect image: silver studded, black stilettos uplift broad shoulders and a honey-blonde mane to what I imagine is six feet. A large black purse hangs from a naked shoulder tattooed with the image of a heart entwined in thorns. My camera wants more of this now welcome intruder. But the lady walks the tiled pathway with clicking purpose, so I store my boldness for another occasion.
When I return from the bore of misty webs and wet autumnal shapes, I see that she has paused beneath a spreading plane tree. Boldness arises anew, withdraws a card and impels me toward her. She removes music pods when I arrive, but one gets stuck in a burnished ear-ring that hangs like a spangled chandelier. I introduce myself and confidently ask if she is willing to be photographed, saying that I will share the photos. She slowly untangles, and with sad surprise says, “Okay…why not.”
The rain stops, clouds mute the afternoon sun and nature collaborates to create a perfect light. Her bare shoulders are thinly strapped with a revealing scarlet camisole. It disappears into a black knitted skirt through which descends the duo of jeans and elevator pumps.
When I notice the red rose pinned to her hair she turns a stifled smile away from me and remarks that some guy gives her one every day. “Sounds like he’s in love with you,” I venture. “Yeah…” she replies, “I guess.” And says it like a woman who has given a man a tender refusal.
My camera captures several images but I notice that there are moments when her eyes shut as if she cannot help it. And when I ask her to look directly at me, they roll upward and eyelids flutter as if obeying an impulse that is not hers. When she sees the photos she likes them and says she will e-mail me for copies; but the request never comes.
As I type, the lady’s image appears and a thought reasons that a rose is only a heart entwined with thorns. Is that her suitor’s heart tattooed upon her arm, or is he the knot of thorns entwined around hers? Flower and thorn cannot be torn apart. The mystery of the rose is that two come as one.
Read more Finding Kelowna articles
- People of the Cart Nov 26
- Anatomy of a neighbourhood Nov 12
- The wisdom of generations Oct 15
- The mystery of the rose Oct 1
- Confessions of a street photographer Sep 3
- In praise of summer's umbrellas Aug 20
- The priest was right Aug 6
- Men without chests Jul 9
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