Gulf Coast State (then "Community") College. I was seated behind Jameson, Marisa and Nathan. Michael York was about to take the stage for his "Will and I" one-man show, in which he told stories of his times portraying characters from Shakespeare. He was there as part of FSU's "Seven Days of Opening Nights." The kids had gotten a chance to see him earlier in the day as part of a school trip, and this was his public event.
I just looked up the date this happened. I found a TV news report of coverage.
Feb. 23, 2005.
I tried to get all three of the kids to look back so I could take a photo. Jameson actually shifted away, thinking I was trying to get a picture of just Nathan and Marisa. I got this shot, and my camera battery promptly died. I tried several times to revive it.
At the time, I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to get a photo of Michael York. Now, there are very few things I would trade this photo for. I have a shadowbox in my writing space that contains York's autograph on my DVD of "Logan's Run" and the brochure for his performance. I'm adding this photo to that tonight.
Three years later, to the hour, we were gathered in the theater lab at Gulf Coast, the "black box," with Marisa's friends, fellow students, and loved ones, telling stories about her and trying to ease each other's pain. We woke up that day in a world that no longer contained her, and we've been struggling ever since with her absence.
And now, five years further on, somehow, the pain has eased. It's an ache now, though it can still pierce, still bring tears. I feel it in the center of my chest as I write this. Yesterday seems so far away.
That is, until I ran across this photo tonight. I stared at it, and it seemed like only yesterday again.
We're still in the process of moving into a new home, and we were going through pictures to put on our "Family" wall in the staircase. I pulled this one out, not because it's going on the wall, but because of the look in her eyes.
Look at them. What do you see there? Look again.
Don't look away. Don't blink.
Look again, and she might be gone.