For all I know, she only exists in cyberspace and a memory that I can’t help but revive ever since she saw me. I captured her digitally, forever confining her to the ten megapixels of my Nikon d3000, the desktop image of my macbook, and these words that I’m slowing killing her with. Killing her by vainly attempting to describe someone indescribable, forcing words onto someone who is ineffable.
I remember when I first saw her skinny brown barefoot figure—covered with a shade of blue darker than the sky above us—walking towards the temple where I was playing with two little Indian children. She arrived as silently as she existed, reflecting all that was the brown earth with her brown skin, and all that was the blue sky and blue waters with her blue dress. She seemed to shoot me with her dime-sized chocolate-chip eyes, so I asked her if I could shoot her with my camera. Silence permitted me to enter her world and unfairly attempt to contain her whole being in something as mortal as a picture.
I shot her thirteen times before she revealed the serious face, which stares back at me in the photograph that I encounter everyday. Her reddish-brown lips aren’t pursed, but instead rest on one another as if they were something of this world. Her lips are her lips and nothing more. They can’t be clumsily equated to something like old tomatoes lying on top of one another in a moldy sandwich, or conveyed via something so literary as a metaphor. Her hair is easier to write about because I saw it on the heads of many other little Indian girls that I passed by. Its messy brown locks are flowing to the left with the wind, and is unevenly cut all around. Her bangs are shorter above her right eye, and the rest of her hair doesn’t fall much shorter than her frail shoulders. She carries the baggage of her life beneath her eyes, but shows glimpses of mortality in her child-like cheeks. It’s her pointed chin that attempts to communicate her world to me, but I’m not ready to listen. She wears a maroon necklace with white beads in order to pay homage to her patron Aphrodite.
Her face contains the world, and it is because of this that she fits perfectly with the sea of green grass and brown dirt that surrounds her. She began to move like water as I took more and more pictures. It was as if she was mocking my camera and I, both trying so hard to make one image of her stick, but she just kept flowing, changing, and growing with every photograph that I took. She spoke no English, but let out a wet “Hello,” when one of the boys I was with commanded her to reply to my greeting. I don’t know where she came from or what her name was, but none of those questions matter in comparison to who she is.
It pains me to write about her, and try to describe the way I felt, and still feel, about her. She was the most beautiful person that has ever seen me, because she was able to understand and inaudibly articulate all that I was and am with a stare. I was leaving her, and before I got out of sight she said, “One rupee?” I immediately wanted to give her everything that I had, but didn’t. I wanted to repay her back for all that she had given me in the ten minutes that I had existed with her, but couldn’t. And now I’m murdering all that she is by attempting to describe her. She was immortal.