ND Shoot 5: hidden truths

It’s kind of funny how you don’t know the kind of person you might become until you are forced by circumstance to become what you’re not. I’ve made kind of a big deal for awhile now about my distaste for children – they smell funny, they’re way emotional, they’re totally unpredictable, and they tend to vomit in public at least as much as drunk college freshman. The most frightening thing about kids, I always say, is how they can see right through you. Not being liked by a kid is like not being liked by a dog, and not being liked by a dog basically means that you suck in a way mere humans can’t register.

But for the past two weeks, kind of by default, I’ve been entrusted with the care of two amazing children. And although I’m not super pleased about missing out on vital cinematic plot points, I’ve had the best time with this particular pair of siblings. It’s been years since I’ve played tag in a torrential downpour, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time trying (and failing) to catch a football. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun without being wasted – at least since I hit puberty. Kids can have such an awesome time with nothing at all… when is it, exactly, that we lose that ability?

Today I was dispatched to pick up the younger of the two, a ten-year-old boy with a face like the smiling sun, from his elementary school. I sat in the van, worried about how I would pluck him out from the sea of children streaming out to the buses, making calls on my iphone and checking my email, then suddenly I looked up, and there he was. He stood out from the crowd as certainly as if he were surrounded by some sort of holy aura, and I wondered: is this what it’s like when you have your own kids? Do you notice them this suddenly, this way? Is this how it works? And if so, how do you ever, ever, walk away from them?

I love shooting and I hate shooting. When I’m out here I am more of myself, and less of the person I’ve become – if that makes any sense at all. I don’t mean to devolve into some sort of confessional bullshit, but seriously. Life is amazing, and amazingly, poignantly, horrible. I kind of can’t stand it.

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