The Photograph

The way in which she looked. Yes. I remember the way in which she looked. She could look right at you and you might think she was staring. But at the same time distance filled her eyes as if something far off behind you posed enough interest at which to look. Yes, now it makes sense. I think this to be the reason why most people became annoyed by her seemingly inattentive attention during conversation.

However to myself, and a handful of others I can only imagine, for I never met anyone else in my circle of acquaintances who thought the same as I, her manner of sight was most intriguing. It was as if you were looking at a photograph just out of the realm of clarity. Perhaps the subject had moved just slightly before the photograph was taken. Or the photographer had a sudden itch to relieve, and wishing to snap the picture as quickly as possible, thus lost concentration on the immediate task before him.

These many years later, I’ve never met anyone else who possessed the sight that young woman held. Oh, there were certainly rumors and suppositions of all sorts of colorful tales, assuming what had become of her. All I know is that she rather amazingly vanished. Right before my very eyes. And the eyes of all the other guests at the party. A clichéd hush fell over all of us. We all held our eyes open wide. First in pure disbelief, as if something impossible had happened, but in the manner of a dream. Then in realization that this wasn’t a dream which led to eyes filling with confusion. Myself more in absolute astonishment and wonder. How could any object, alive or inanimate, simply vanish? Some suggested a trap door, but certainly the police and private investigators would have found something of the sort.

No. I think the explanation to be much more simplistic than that and one I have previously stated. She simply disappeared. In plain sight; before our very eyes, so-to-speak. Yes. She simply vanished. As if she’d wished herself away in the middle of the night, to be elsewhere than another dreadful party, even if it was a one-in-a-lifetime party: a New Year’s Eve gala at the turn of the century. Even still, she must have liked to be elsewhere and so she decided to leave. I recall how it reminded me of the famed ghost of Shakespeare’s King Hamlet. Here in the moment, seen by perhaps only a few, then gone.

But she was certainly real. I remember. She handed me her champagne glass, full of course, as she disliked the drink. She then took the white glove off of her left hand and slipped off a ring and held it out towards me as I reached up to take it. It fell into my palm and when I looked up, she was gone.

I’ve kept the ring on my bedroom dresser all these years. Should she decide to come back, I might like to give it back to her.


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