My response to ARTSTUDI 170 Final Project: 10 prints on a common theme. I took this class last quarter, but only just got around to scanning, editing, and formatting it. I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to B&W film, and I’m still lacking skills when it comes to making prints. But I really enjoyed putting this together, and I hope you enjoy it, too!
For anyone who has ever been a long way away from home, or who has struggled to bridge the gap.
Hand wedged between the pillow and the mattress, feet tucked neatly one behind the other, she was still sleeping when the alarm went off.
And then, she had to rise, feet learning, again, how to bear their load. Crusts of rheum, brushed away from her eyes. At least the water was warm for once, clinging to her hair, pooling beneath her fingernails, in the crease of her elbow, between the ridges of her collar bones.
She was so very tired.
It frightened her, like the dust that wormed its way beneath the keys of her keyboard, like the cracks on the pavement that she had stepped on the other day. Like the quiet life that exists and is forgotten.
She decided that she missed the city very much, the hustle and bustle of numerous Craigslist missed connections, multiple motions along unfamiliar patterns that her mind did not comprehend, but enjoyed nevertheless. The city exhaled cigar smoke and exhaust and fog, and she opened her chest and took it in.
She missed the eternal summer of home. After her family moved out of the suburbs and into a city apartment, they no longer had a garden. But her mother transformed the apartment itself into a lush, green garden, weaved creepers into the window grills (which were installed to keep people form falling out the windows, but always blocked the view of the sunset) and put flowers in every room. A physical manifestation of her yearning for the things they had lost and left behind.
Keep the change, she told the shop owner.
Telephones are like magic black boxes, she thought. Speak into them and a long ways away someone hears your voice and believes you are near. Modern-day teleportation tools, they were.
Ah, she had run out of change!
After the train service back home was suspended indefinitely, everyone scrambled to walk the railroad tracks. She remembered taking the sleeper train and waking up in a whole new place the next morning. Not too long after, the railroad company retrieved the metal rails, melted them down, and sold them to other companies that made skyscrapers.
Perhaps if she aligned her footsteps to the direction of the rails and kept walking, she would end up somewhere near home. Or she might get lost in a whole new place.
At last, the train roared into the station, screaming as it ground to a halt.
Above all, however, what terrified her more than the gaps of water and earth between states and countries, was the gap between where she was now, and where she wanted to be; the gap between her tastes and her skills. Slowly, discreetly, this question had wormed its way into her heart, and rested its immense weight on her.
She jumped and took a shot. And missed.
However, she had time. And if she did not have enough money, she still had time. That comforted her, like the smell of potpourri that someone had placed in a room.
Somewhere, a million people were waking up and getting out of their warm beds. A million missed connections were made, and a million connections were found. Flowers were blooming, and telephones were ringing. Trains were both pulling out of stations and pulling into stations, unrelenting with their sounds and movement.
In the midst of it all, she had herself, and a home that existed a phone call away.
For now, this was enough.