Yesterday, being my birthday, I decided I would give myself a present. I would convert the five rolls of film sitting on my shelf into photographs. As much as I liked them there, holding their secrets, I wondered what they contained. Even though I know that airport x-rays are safe for film these days, I wondered if perhaps they had been zapped, blanked, and in fact they held nothing. How would I feel?
I already feel a sense of loss from the two packages I sent myself that never arrived, full of my carefully collected paper ephemera. I can only imagine that the envelopes fell apart and scattered my cards and notes and papers through the bundles of mail, the better-packaged envelopes. There is something spooky about sending things to yourself, like it is something that is not meant to happen. So perhaps if I had used my pseudonym, my packages would have arrived safely. I still hold hopes that one might appear, like a bedraggled pet, wet and dirty from mystery journeys.
My photos were mostly of Berlin, and when I spread them out and looked over all their greyness, I tried to make the key turn in my memory, to put myself back there. But it is difficult, when I am back in the most familiar place I have, and I am now surrounded by so much colour. I look out my window and count the bright orange hibiscus flowers, being supped at by a red wattlebird. Things smell right again, and I can choose from about a hundred dresses rather than three. But I have not totally been gobbled by my return to everyday life. What I did feel again was a sense of how it felt to walk around and explore, that lovely, open feeling, where you don’t know what will be around the next corner.