The Other Guy in the Picture
By ice rivers
We all have those pictures of our beloved children sitting in the laps of department store Santas. We may even have pictures of our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles or ourselves in similar poses. I was lookiing at just such a photo a couple days ago. Naturally, my eyes went immediately to my loved one in the picture as if no-one else existed. Then I realized that there were in fact TWO people in this picture and in all similar pictures.
I took the time to look closely at the "other" person in the picture, the man in the red suit.
This is the picture of a man who has had hundreds of such pictures taken in the preceding days.
Is this a man who understands that his image, this snap or that, will be seen and held as precious for years, perhaps even generations to come? A man who embraces the particular moment for its perpetuity; understanding that his is a picture that might be shown to the grandchildren of the beloved as proof that once Gammy or Gampy was a child who also believed in Santa?
Does he carry any of that generational awareness and responsibility or is he an oblivious, lonely soul trying to survive another onslaught and get the hell away from the throne, the elves and the kids?
Does he realize that he will be almost invisible to whomever subsequently looks at the image and thus cloaked, willing to release vulnerabilty unimagined to the uncostumed?
Take a look at the guy in the red suit. The guy you've overlooked during the dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of times that you've looked at this image. You'll be surprised at the sad and beautiful complexity of what you see.