I Accidentally Saw a Picture of You


I accidentally saw a picture of you because you are still a friend of a friend of the Internet.

It was a picture of a party with the appropriate amount of cool people in hip glasses… and a dude in a Paris, France t-shirt.  I didn’t know that Paris made shirts.

In this photograph, people are mid-conversation, their mouths shaped with what are surely interesting words.  One man stands awkwardly in his beard choice.  Old friends embrace center frame, most sincerely, with open clenched hands and softly closed eyes.

You stand in the back, slightly off-center, the only one looking at the camera.  You have that half-smile I recognize.  The one between pleasure and obligation.   You’re wearing your shirt the way you did… and do… down to the third button (or is that the two and a halfth button?).  You look comfortable and relaxed, with just the most tender amount of self-doubt.

You’re with a girl.  She’s brown-haired and side-swept.  I imagine that she’s the kind of girl who can easily shop for jean shorts, and speaks kindly more often than not.  She seems like the kind of girl who hates New York City because it wreaks havoc on her shoes (really she just thinks it’s a big and scary place), but once had the time of her life in Spain on a backpacking trip when she was 23.  Her gaze is focused on the embracing couple as near strangers capable of judgement.  She stands bolted next to you like you’re her anchor in the social storm.

You two seem finely matched… but what do I know?  (Nothing at all.)

I accidentally saw a picture of you and it reminded me that I was dating a man rightfully shaking his fist at God, while trying to hold my hand with the other.  I was reminded of how fiercely we tried to hold our relationship together,  and how devastated and relieved we were in its destruction.  There’s water under that bridge.

I accidentally saw a picture of you.  No big deal.  I wrote about it.

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316 thoughts on “I Accidentally Saw a Picture of You

  1. i was here recently. i found out, accidentally, that he is unhappy. and i hate to admit it but i’m happy that he’s unhappy…

  2. I have been reading your missives for a few years but lately have been otherwise occupied and not had a lot of free time. However, this morning at 4:55 am I took my coffee to the computer before I began to get ready for church. I had a free hour and I decided to read a bit. Your opening line was eye catching and after reading through it I thought, it could easily be the first page of a novel. For a young person, you have done a lot of living. Please take some advice from a person who has lived probably two of your lifetimes, put it into a book. Now that you have the proper connections, it will easily get published. I have been saving my heartaches for the right moment, and here I am 73 years old, still waiting. Don’t wait, hang your hat on that star and fly it to the moon. Love to you and your happiness. Cathy

    1. I TOTALLY agree with Cathy! You have such poetry when you write, you have IT!! Now, just go forward with your writing. :)

  3. Can *so* relate. This post – although there have been many others on non-foodie topics – this post is the one that for me flipped the switch from “Food Blog” to “Life Blog”.

    You, madame, are a delight in all ways. Thank you.

  4. Joy I love that you wrote this! We have all SO been here. I am in massive agreement with crazy_athens – I love the way you post non-recipe stuff too….actually I really quite prefer it because I get overwhelmed by all the yummy stuff I am desperate to make from your site! So ignore all the ridiculous people making comments about the reduction of foodie posts of late (just listened to podcast no. 59!)

  5. You made my heart melt. I don’t know you but I feel like I do because I read your blog quite often. I love your ramblings and recipes and sometimes crazy food combos. This post is so beautiful and so raw. you are so talented.

  6. Yesterday I accidentally saw a live version of what you describe. Ex boyfriend and new girl live in front of me. No hard feelings there either. Water from bridge too. I just wanted to say that I like the fact that although your blog has a cooking base you put bits from other things in there now and then.
    (ps I’ve finally ordered your book from the book depository and I’m waiting for it to arrive!)

  7. Joy… My heart just did a little jump for you in reading this… I hope you are truly OK.
    Even now, your writing is just beautiful and articulate and so very, very real. I’ve accidentally seen pictures of those people as well, and it’s the strangest sensation.
    Thank you again for being brave enough to share you’re vulnerabilities with the world… You are never alone for this and surrounded by many people (too deep?)
    PS – I have the same Mac as you… Snap! x

  8. Thank you for your post. I discovered your site months ago, and have followed it quietly but avidly ever since–as much for your tasty food exploits as for your expressive vignettes. You have a knack for pairing life with food like a practised sommelier. Your posts have always spoken to me, in part because of your perspective as a fellow Angeleno but also because you don’t shy away from sharing blunt, emotional experiences.

    Today I also accidentally saw a picture, but your post just dulled the sting of it. (Almost as much as the chocolate I’m about to eat will!) So again: Thank you.

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