A photograph from the inspiration file – 8

A picture can paint a thousand words, or more, or less, but…

The interesting thing about a place in the dark, in the distance, and behind a chain wire fence usually means something. Especially when there are mysterious lights involved.

We were at a night sports event, watching over a thousand screaming and yelling kids from five to eighteen pretending to compete in a variety of athletic events.

I was there to nominally to support my granddaughter in her endeavours, but right at that moment, on the far side of the track, what I was really there to see was what was behind the wire fence

“Are you watching, Poppy?”

Well, at that moment I wasn’t, but I did turn just in time to see her clear a meter high high jump and execute an elegent backflip, a result no doubt of the ballet training she had since the age of four. Seven years later those lessons had transformed into a high jumper with a great future.

Except, she couldn’t really care less. It was more about the parents and athletic organisers expectations, than hers. I was there, she told me in a secretive tone, to tell everyone to back off.

if you think spying was a dangerous occupation, then let me tell you trying to navigate a safe path between child and parents, and then the rest of the word, forget it.

So, with my trusty phone camera, slightly modified, I was pretending to take pictures of surrounding trees in the high density lighting for the athletics oval, whilst zooming in on the real target.

And, about to take the money shot, I could feel a tugging on the side of my jacket.

I looked down to see the petulant face of a child not happy.

“You said you were coming to see me perform.”

I had. I looked over at the woman the boss had assigned as my ‘date’, Nancy, and whom I’d introduced as a long time friend who deigned to suffer my invitation so she could meet the girl I was always talking about.

“Yes, Poppy,” she said with an evil undertone. “You said you wanted to see her high jumps. You’d better get over there, while I take some pictures of the trees for you.”

“Why do you want pictures of dumb old trees?” That was a question I would have asked myself, and I didn’t quite have an answer for it.

Nancy did. “Because he’s odd like that. It’s one of the quirks I like about him.” She took the camera out of my hand and shooed us off.

And, heading back to the high jump, she asked, “What’s a quirk?”

“Just ask your father later. He knows all about quirks.”

© Charles Heath 2021

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