August 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

My white feet, my white legs, and a black man with a bicycle.

He is the first of all the passersby at the beach who has noticed me snapping his photo. I’ve muted the sound on my smartphone so there’s no well-known taking-a-photo click, but in this case, the sudden movement I make to get into a better position for the photo gives me away. I’m ashamed and even a bit alarmed. Will he come over to me and ask me what the fuck I think I’m doing? Grab my smartphone and throw it into the sea? Tell me: Woman, don’t you think I have enough troubles in my life right now, do I need to play model in your stupid holiday photos, too? For a second his pace changes, he almost stops, and he examines me with his eyes. It’s in this second I instinctively press the touchscreen button.

He does none of the things above. He pushes his bike just two meters to my right and a bit behind me, where a tree throws thick shade on the pebbles. He spends all his midday breaks here. He lies on a big piece of cardboard that he has hidden in the tree’s branches. He drinks only water. He keeps his clothes on. If it’s very hot, he takes off his t-shirt. He never swims. I come back to this beach three times and he is always there: sometimes sleeping, sometimes looking at the sea, sometimes looking at me. I always nod good day, he always nods back. One of these times, he finds that another man has occupied his secret refuge. He wheels his bike away. I know he’s disappointed. He checks and rechecks until the spot is free again.

I took only this one photo of him and he knows it.

(This post is a ‘footnote’ to my post Homespotting.)


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