What Happened Next?

I don’t know what happened next. This is a photograph taken of workers in a gold mine who are on strike. The police are called in to put down the strike. People are staying slightly behind, in the distance, because they don’t want to get hurt. And yet, they can’t pull their eyes away.

They want to know what will happen next.

Twenty-five years later: I want to know what happened next.

I have no idea. The photograph is not a story, but a frozen moment of extreme intensity. The photographer’s name is Salgado.

When we hear a story, or see a painting or photograph, or read a book or watch a show, often the “art” is complete. We get the beginning, middle, end. Then we  move on with our lives, slightly satisfied.

But life doesn’t follow good plotting.

One time (which I wrote about here) I had to fake being a respiratory therapist in a hospital for a week. In a hospital you don’t get a beginning, middle, or end. Someone comes in with blood all over their face. They are treated, they are screaming. Someone did this, someone got hurt, someone is guilty. But who, what, where, when? We don’t know. We move on. It’s a hospital. There’s more to treat.

When you kiss someone for the first time, the kiss itself is frozen, everything in your body is on fire. There’s a before and after. There’s excitement. There might be fear. But at that moment, its just electric pleasure.

The kiss finishes. It’s the first time your two bodies press together. And just like in the photograph above, I start to wonder: who is going to get hurt first?

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