View Finder

Neither of us is keen on heights, and I can feel his concern as the car tilts upward on the circling asphalt of the parking structure. He asks if Level 5 is high enough but I want the roof. It makes more sense; I can photograph the train station and the church on Coal. Then we reach the top and it really is better, not that feeling of having to duck, stay low under the thick cement ceilings.

The Albuquerque sky looms up: big and blue. A few thin clouds and the sliver of a pale moon. I get out and stretch. There are no other cars. It is very early Sunday morning. I have a sudden feeling of liberation –a kind of giddiness. We are the last people on earth.

He slams the car door, puts the keys in his jacket pocket. Of course, the alarm starts wailing for what seems like a full minute before he can wrestle the keys back out and click the correct button. We laugh. He predicts that security will come soon.

We move in opposite directions. At the roof’s edge, I look down on the town scattered below. Old wooden houses and vacant lots. Small industrial buildings.  A lovely Sunday sadness to everything. I take a picture.

Looking out, I wonder what troubled me up to this moment. I wonder what had been weighing me down. In front of the train station, two men are standing with suitcases. I take a picture.

I hear him laugh, at the keys I’m sure. Then I see that security really has arrived. He’s leaning in the car window talking with the officer. The security guard leaves, a short wave as the car drives by. I take another picture.

Now he is across the lot, close to the retaining wall, looking west over the wide-open view. I take a deep breath and move towards him. The air feels cool, unencumbered. Today is filled with metaphors.  The sky growing lighter. The pale moon. Even the car alarm and the suitcases. I could line them up like tidy parking spaces or pile them like story after story in a concrete structure. But I don’t want to. I want to photograph us instead; us in front of the west view.

I stand next to him. He puts his arm across my shoulder. I hold the camera out at arm’s length and click blindly, trusting that I’ll get the church steeple rising in the background and the flattened mesa miles off. And us, right smack in the middle of the frame.  

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash