He stands content, eating cookies, surprised at the softness of every bite, finding its hardened cinnamon exterior to be very misleading. I asked if he’d like to join us and he politely tells me my place of rest first belonged to him. He eyes the water bottle I must have missed in my desperation to sit. I laugh and make room out of appreciation for him not asking me to vacate a prime, shaded spot the second he returned.
As he settles, I glare at the decadent desserts on his plate as we melt away on the steps in the heat. I vocalize my adoration of a plump piece of watermelon he picked out and his first instinct is to mischievously lick it from the red all the way to the rind. This, in his opinion, was the best way to say “no” without ever actually saying it.
I think about how he’s been dodging my camera these first few weeks. And how he hasn’t been the only one. I opted to try a more forward approach as we conversed. This was the result of that:
Even though he’s turned away in very apparent distaste of my camera being so close to his face, this photo is one of my favorites. I love it because, without the story I shared of the moments before and after this snapshot, there are very few things we can truly know about Andrew just from looking at it. We will always only have assumptions if we never ask for the story. And even though he seemingly flees from attention, after spending a summer getting to know Andrew, something tells me he wouldn’t be too bothered with you getting to know him too.