By the third week of class, it was like someone flipped a switch. Instead of hesitating before leaving the house, I actually looked forward to going. It seemed that I was not a complete failure at photography, and I was actually understanding what all the buttons were for. Also, I had several photos of flowers that I was pretty darn giddy about. Well, sort of. And, I had made these friends.
That’s right, friends. Plural. It was sort of an unexpected (but good!) side effect of taking this class. Sure, I was there to have something for me, but it was so nice to be meeting people who were so different, so great, so nice. They weren’t like the friends I have had my whole life; the ones who knew everything about me. And they weren’t like the friends I have made through having the kids; the ones who, like I did, talked about diapers and pacifiers and breastfeeding. It was nice to talk to new people.
Jill and I hit it off immediately, bonding over a shared love of coffee and pie. It was because of her that most of us ended up hitting The Rox Diner after class for some bottomless coffee and apple pie.
Even our fearless leader came out a few times. And it was because of her that we started doing assignments together. Safety in numbers, she had said. And it made total sense to me. I needed all the extra help I could get.
“Jill’s not coming,” he said.
“Oh, okay. Is everything okay?”
“She said she had a family thing that she couldn’t get out of. She said we should go ahead and she’d text if she could meet up with us later.”
Without Jill, there were just four of us. Chris and Marina – aka the two who can’t keep their hands off of each other. Jackson. And me. It’s not that I didn’t like Jackson, I did. I mean, he did lend me a really nice lens and still hadn’t asked for it back. But I didn’t really know him all that well.
“This is, um, awkward, I said, awkwardly.
“Well, tell me how you really feel about me, Lyla.”
“I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about them,” I motioned to Chris and Marina, who were walking in front of us, attached at the hip, not really even realizing that we were behind them. The rest of the day pretty much went on like that. The two of them in their own world, and Jackson and I trailing behind, helping each other complete our assignment.
It was actually so much better than I had expected. Jackson and I were more alike that I would have guessed, seeing as he was still in college and I was, well, a mother of two and most definitely older. Much older. Old black and white movies, classical music, British comedy shows. He was an old soul. I liked that about him. We talked about my kids. It was such a pleasure to gloat about them without feeling judged. We talked about Joel and he talked about his girlfriend.
At the end of the day, when I wasn’t looking, he snapped a shot of me. I normally hated having my picture taken, but, when he said, “I do believe this is the nicest photo I have ever taken,” I smiled and actually wanted to see it.