"Oman" he murmured barely meeting my eye
"Laura," I said offering a rhetorical handshake
"Do you live here?"
"No, but for 50 years I visit my boat every day"
I nod and stare at him,
His face was gem but his English and patience limited
Earlier on, before I approached him I pondered the following steps:
1) He agrees to be shot
2) We try and connect
3) Will he take me to a new location?
He narrowly allowed me 3 frames for which the sun decided to come out in a blast and ruin the flat light. Gutted, I opted for the only grey wall I could find to match his attire.
" To another 50 years!" I say trying to close the moment with charm. He smiles and flaps a hand at me as he walks off trailing the words: "I hope so"
I continue to explore and the rain begins. There is nothing in this fishing dock, nothing ...until I see it. The perfect backdrop. Layers of shrubbery and foliage of all tones of yellow and green creating a perfect hole to fill a subject.
Could I shamelessly approach a man who barely tolerated me for a mere 30 seconds and ask again? I felt like a rejected teenage boy asking for another first date.
I weighed up my bravery as I returned to my bike. I had now surrendered to the fact that the ten-minute walk would be a near-impossible sell; even to a willing subject hopped on the now soaked saddle and intentionally cycled towards where I saw him escape to and stopped at the wooden stilted shed. An arch above the entrance read LOGAN. Ah! Well, at least I knew his name now.
I paced the narrow alleyway to build up the courage.
"Logan?" I called as I tapped on the outside fence.
A rosy-cheeked old man with a thick grey mustache leaned out from the cabin followed by a puff of smoke.
"Is Logan there please?"
I had seen him working through the window. He emerged; unimpressed at the sight of me.
" I am so sorry to bother you Logan but I wondered if I can take just a few more?"
His friend, amused by the request agreed on his behalf for entertainment and opened the door to a smoky and warm sanctuary. He poked at the fire and then walked over to me and passive-aggressively took my picture using his phone. I smiled and poked my tongue out. I denied a few frames due to immovable objects and lowered the camera awkwardly, dragging out the moment.
He refused direction and the few frames I did get didn't work. It was frustrating. I snapped anyway... before he did. I asked to send him the pictures.
To my surprise, his thick, grubby large paws reached into his overalls and pulled out a small brown paper ticket. On it was printed his name and address in blotted dark ink.
I placed it in my pocket wary not to lose it. Maybe I should snap a pic on my phone in case I do. No, no I'll be careful.
The rain was getting louder as I cycled back. I pulled my phone from my pocket to check I was on route. My fingers searched my woolen pocket for the piece of paper. I've lost it already?? FFS
I felt sad and disappointed. How and why did it disappear? It was such a turning point in the interaction. Why should he ever need to carry around a booklet of printed address cards? For who, when?
I thought of Paddington bear...