I was photographing her somewhere on the south shore when she revealed her plan to me. To rise and leave this place, godforsaken in her eyes, and to travel out into the world. Long Island can be a difficult place to live; especially when one of those difficulties was in how easily one could find themselves caught living there. Rooting in, finding a job to afford the high cost of living and never having the time to escape it all, we had known so many people who found themselves likewise trapped, but the tide was moving outward for her now and so it was time to break free from this cycle of living. I had never seen such a mix of sorrow and determination in her eyes, a preparedness to fly however close to the sun as she could.
I asked her about her lover, his reaction to this news, and she softly replied that the news had not been broken. Though it caused her sorrow, she would be leaving him behind for the sake of her spirit; guilt could not be a factor or else she would certainly reconsider. The magnitude of this revelation sank in and I began to photograph with the thought that these images were capturing an ending, a face before the evolutionary toll an adventure would inevitably have upon it. Such were the tales of our age. Nearing the end of adolescence there was clarity in the drive to move outward. With my camera I sought to preserve this moment knowing well that it may never happen again.
The next week she would leave. Packed bags and a loaded car rolled up to the beach one last time for a final reunion upon the shore. With her lover at my side and a few of our friends in accompaniment we recalled our times here as children, before the weight of adulthood had been thrust upon us. Soon the cool autumn air told us it was time, and before long we were all shivering. A solemn goodbye, quicker than one could have imagined, very little said and still very much left to say.
We pulled our cars out and dispersed across the island. Her lover, with me now, was silent; silent except for the anxious tapping of fingers upon the car door and a breath so slightly quivering. It was never pleasurable to watch these deaths but likewise it was not so pleasurable to watch a spirit die trapped in a place like this. I couldn’t blame her, she was leaving nothing behind.
I thought to myself quietly of a similar escape, of rolling off to cheaper land and more beautiful places; the elimination of a stagnancy which was gripping my life now. Looking to her lover with pity I thought of his reaction to my leaving too. Perhaps it would drive him to break free of the island and chase us wildly outward, or perhaps he would further bury himself in his sorrow? After some thought I realized it did not matter, for I would make my decisions and live my life the same way she had and the same way her lover would. Regardless of anyone’s reaction it became clear that this time next year you would find me to on some alien coast.