Leigh didn’t know where best to turn next; bombarding him with friends and their versions of his life was not helpful and since then she had hit a wall miles high and Leigh was finding it hard to scale. Then came a long awaited epiphany in the form of a book, a book of photography. Leigh found it while Charlie was sleeping, it was stacked haphazardly on one of the bursting bookshelves, an a4 sized book full of photographs ranging in subject and style, colour and black and white images; in the very centre Leigh found a photograph by Charlie. As she stared down at the faded black and white photograph an idea formed and so she quickly set to work. Leigh spent hours working, searching, printing, photocopying and talking quietly on the phone as not to wake him and when she was done with everything it was time to bring Charlie into the loop. She wake him gently,
“get up, we’re going out” she said and before he could protest she added, “hurry up we don’t have a lot of time, move it” 30 minutes late he was ready and together with Beau they left for a destination that was no more known to Charlie than were his memories.
The building was marred by a thick fog that had lain upon the city for a few days, Inside it appeared to be a simple block of flats however it was what occurred with-in the individual apartments that made it so special. The flats had not been lived in for many years, the building had been long ago condemned as living quarters however after one man had poured in years and millions of dollars worth of money for the apartments to still be unliveable he turned them into workspaces instead, work spaces for artist. Leigh had rented one of the spaces just for a few hours so that her plan could come to fruition and as she led Charlie into the space she believed that her plan would work and it did though not in the way that she had wanted. The room they walked into was papered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with photocopies and print outs of images that Charlie had created or rather photographs he had taken. As he walked over then, turned and examined the images and stared up at them his eyes widened and for a second Leigh was sure that he was remembering something but then he turned to her,
“What is all this?” he asked
“This is you, your photographs” she replied gesturing to the room
“Me, wow, um...” he said falling silent
“This doesn’t jolt anything back to life, does it?” she asked, he turned with a look of worry in his eyes
“I’m sorry” he said touching her arm gently, “I know you must have spent so long doing this...” he started
“It’s fine Charlie, let’s go home” she said begging to leave the room
“wait” he said grabbing hold of her hand “this didn’t dislodge anything but it made me fall in love, with photography, again; this is all so beautiful, these images, the people I want to do this” he said, Leigh smiled,
“Well you have all of the equipment so why don’t we go home and get started” she replied
“Don’t you think I should take some kind of lessons?” he said as they began to leave the room once more,
“No I think that what the mind forgets the hands and eyes remember” she turned and smiled.
Leigh watched Charlie as he ran his fingers over the camera he held, he owned more than a few but this one had taken his fancy, he had been looking at it for nearly an hour, with his lap top by his side and numerous web pages open all containing information about the camera.
“Will you help?” he asked suddenly, Leigh had moved from his side to the kitchen she returned carrying two cups of tea, “both of you, will you help me?” he asked again looking at her as he absently stroked Beaus soft ears
“Of course we will, wont we Beau” Leigh replied, an hour later they left the apartment and made their way into the city. They spent hours, Leigh and Beau watching as Charlie took photographs of random people, statues, trees, stray animals and sweeping birds, the night fell dark, the air chilled in the summers eve and suddenly without warning it began to rain. Fat cool shimmering droplets pattered against Leigh’s naked arms, the water ran from Beaus shining coat as it grew heavier, she turned to search for Charlie who had been snapping pictures of a fresh faced, newly in love couple however he was not there now and they had begun to run for cover from the ever-changing weather, panic set in instantly like that of a child whose mother had turned a corner in a shop without their knowledge, she turned frantically her skin heated in the cool rain, and there she found Charlie taking cover under a towering oak tree with Beau by his side, he smiled at her, Leigh did not smile back instead she began to make for the dry cover of the fully blooming oak,
“Wait, stop!” he yelled as she began to pass beneath a street lamp, “stay there please” he added
“What, I’m soaked already, Charlie..” Leigh started to protest
“It’s the perfect picture; I took one just like this, 4 years ago. Pleas I’ll be just a few minutes” he said and with those words Leigh froze, she smiled and she stayed still; he had remembered something she was sure though she did not mention this fact until after he had finished pulling his jacket up over his head to shield his camera, until he had taken more than a few photographs and turned her in numerous directions and until after he had included a reluctant Beau in the final shot then she mentioned it,
“Charlie” she said as they made their way home
“Yes” he said glancing at her through the poker straight rods of rain
“Do you realise what just happened?” she said pulling Beaus lead in preventing her from snuffling at the hands of a young woman sheltering in a shop doorway from the rain,
“What?” he asked stopping and staring at her
“You remembered something back there, you said ‘a photo you took 4 years ago’ you might have seen a picture like that in the room but there was no indication of year” she replied. He stopped suddenly and at first Leigh though he might be angry or upset but then he smiled in fact he grinned,
“You’re right I did, I remembered something” he declared happily wrapping his arms around her and lifting her from the floor twirling around,
“put me down you fool” she laughed, the few people on the streets threw funny glances their way but Leigh didn’t care,
“Thank you” he said, “I wouldn’t have remembered that without you” he added
“No, you wouldn’t have remembered that without following your gut, your instincts and your heart” she replied taking his hand as they continued to walk home.
After returning to the warmth of the apartment and showering Leigh curled up beneath the fresh duvets on her bed, she had spent most of the night planning the room for Charlie and her eyelids were heavy with sleep. She had been gone only two hours when a strange clicking, snapping noise filled the broken dream she was having, she tried to ignore it, to sleep through it but it became too regular to block out. Her eyes flickered open slowly to the blurred image of Charlie holding what seemed to be an old school Polaroid camera, on the floor lay numerous photographs framed in white each showing a photograph in a different stage of development,
“Charlie stop, you’re being extremely creepy” she said waving a hand lazily at him,
“Creepy, really, well maybe if you woke up little miss sleepy” he laughed setting the camera down, he began to tickle her. It was playful and innocent, effortless and fun as they laughed and giggled together, as his eyes locked with hers and she lost herself in the dusky blue of his eyes, his mouth met hers and she sank into him, the heat of his body, of their bodies growing with every second that passed between them. As hands wandered, tongues traced and moans filled the air something other than euphoria filled Charlie Winters mind; memories began flooding back from every inch of his mind riding on a wave of her breathing, the rhythmic sound of her heart beat providing the sound track to his life as it returned to him; in that singular moment he never felt closer to someone, they were one and she gave him his memory back.