You can see the moment they get it…
When their tone changes: “Must be just for show; the whole thing – car, suitcase left casually on the luggage rack…”
“What makes you think that?” the woman asks.
“Just look at the number plate!” The man adds, cocky…but sensing fragility.
It’s usually one of the women who sees it first.
“It’s not STAG, Ken, it’s 5TAG…”
And then Ken goes quiet, and you can see his eyes wander up to the black case, strapped to the rack, where he reconsiders whether this is really an ‘art installation’. But, in reality, he’s never heard of an art installation, so he can’t… Instead, he gazes at the car and case, wordlessly.
The woman – the clever woman who spotted the flaw in Ken’s logic – now goes quiet…if she’s the wrong woman. If she’s the right woman, she looks up at the bedroom window to wonder whether the lens reflecting like a full moon is a telescope behind bedroom glass… Or whether it’s a camera.
It’s a camera, of course. That’s what I do… I film their reactions. I’m not a voyeur. I do it for a purpose.
When she was leaving me, I begged her to give me another chance.
“I need some space,” she had said. “Take your money and go and set up somewhere nice… somewhere I might actually like living. Somewhere we’ve been where we were happy together. Wales was nice.”
“You might never find me,” I said, already losing the argument.
“That’s a risk you’ll have to take,” she said, simply.
So now I wait. My art installation is the car – the one we lovingly restored over a ten-year period, the one she loved to tour in. The black case is always there, perched on the luggage rack. There’s nothing in it… just love, and a readiness to move on.
Any day now she might just walk down this street, to the sound of the gulls and the smell of a fresh morning. If I miss her, the camera will tell me she’s been here, and hopefully, remains close. Until then I write, and film people… and hope.
The right woman is out there, I know her and I know she is…
(Photo of Triumph Stag by the author. This is a work of fiction. The car does not belong to the author, who thanks the owner for the photo opportunity)
©Stephen Tanham 2021
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.