I don’t know when the idea first occurred to me. To come here. I suppose it could be the stories my mom used to tell me. They must have been lingering around, in that way certain memories might seem forgotten, but really, they’re right there waiting, and some day something or someone happens to push that memory front and center, as if you have been remembering it all along.
Maybe that’s what this was at first. A kind of pull toward my mother, to the city she always dreamt of. Or it could be that I haven’t been able to shake off Mr. Jackson yet, that the pull is toward him, toward the version of him who lived here first, and I want to go back to that time before me, and find him. Or maybe – the exact opposite. Maybe I want to be equal to him, to best him, after what he did to me. I want to do what he did, and prove that I can survive on my own. Now that he has cast me out.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just looking for a horizon. Maybe I’m just looking for something to look at. After all of that looking at me.
I reach inside my bag, swing it to the front of my hip for safety. It’s still there, his Leica M6. I run my fingers over the raised metal and the smooth round of the lens. I don’t know why I need this proof. I’ve been feeling the weight of it this whole journey, the heavy bump and knock against my thigh. It is not as if the camera could have suddenly disappeared from inside my bag, but I need to feel that it’s there just the same. This is what I have. This is what I have brought with me, and it is a small triumph to know that he will soon realise what I have taken from him. If he does not miss me he will at least miss the way he used to look at me.
Everyone’s lost something, Alice.
Isn’t that what he told me just the other day.
~ Alice, What We Have Left