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.

316 thoughts on “I Accidentally Saw a Picture of You

  1. “One man stands awkwardly in his beard choice.”

    This! One short sentence that paints a perfect picture of that hipster.

  2. My dearest Joy: As many others have commented before me, you eloquently wore your heart on your sleeve in this post. My sincere thanks for showing your vulnerability to those of us who love you so…
    Waxing poetic about a past love will only strengthen your resolve to never ever let anyone but yourself control your own happiness. Broken love hurts, but only for as long as we hold on to it. Releasing the pain through writing, prayer, and tears will allow the sun to peek through the cloudy skies so that we can think clearly again <3

  3. Joy, what a beautiful entry, made me remember and relate. You have endless talent – a true gift. Thanks for sharing such a personal moment – we’ve all had them. Superb!

  4. I don’t know the words in English, but like Charlotte “I felt my heart flip and a little tear form reading this.”.
    It’s sad and wonderful at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I just want to say that we all go through this and as painful as it is, we survive. I dated a guy I adored for 5 years back in the 70s. I always imagined one day we’d meet on a corner like in the movie “the way we were.”. I deed years later we bumped into each other, he was in my state with his girlfriend, I was out to lunch with my sister and my 3 year old son, I’d already been married 4 years. My heart sunk and although I loved and still love my husband deeply I wanted to wrap my arms and legs around him and hold him. Instead we gave each other a kiss, had small talk and went back to our seats. I ha ent seen him since but it 20 years later and occasionally we will talk. Sometimes you just never forget but move on because it’s the best thing to do.

  6. I read this post in my google reader without paying attention to which blog it was from … I was surprised to see it was you, Joy! Very beautiful and poignant. I’m just going through the breakup of a 5.5+ year relationship … I wonder if this will be me, later. Probably.

  7. It’s funny, reading this, makes you stop and think just for a moment, about those in our past. It makes you think about how you feel about them, if you feel anything.. sadness, anger. Hrmm.. makes you think.

  8. This really touched me. With everything and everyone being on the Internet nowadays, it’s not surprising it happened. But I love that you acknowledged it!you are a strong woman and every time I see my ex, I get nervous and cringe (we work in the same building, never doing that again), but this made me feel like I’m not alone!

  9. Your writing is superb! Have you ever thought of writing a book or love story? Sometimes when we have so much built up inside its a great release to write. Based upon this small writing sample I think you’d have a best seller. You’ve already done a cookbook, might as well go for the gold and write a novel. Beautifully written.

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