Mulling over a bagel about today’s schedule for the past hour. We were set for a walk through of all the locations for the event, finding the vantage points is the main objective today. Not a day to eat light as it’s going to be a long one. I was on my second cup of coffee, when Matt came.
“Morning, sleepy head!” I replied smiling
“What’re you having?” he asked still standing.
“Cream cheese and bacon?” he asked, cutting me out.
“I see. Gonna grab a plate. You want anything?”
“Uhm, I forgot to get eggs.”
“Okidoki! Two over easy eggs coming right up!” He chirped, as he turns and heads over the buffet table.
He’s cheerful, a good sign. Hoping he doesn’t bring up last night.
“Here you go.” He said, sitting down with two plates on hand.
One for me, and another one piled up with almost every food served.
“Trying to eat everything at the buffet?” I asked laughing
“A lot of walking today. Besides, you’re going to order me around like a slave. So, I better eat up.” He said laughing.
Conversation was light. It was mostly about the work set out for the next three days. We had our route set out. The plan was to start from the farthest. We’d take the beach walkway first and work our way towards THE DECK where the wedding reception would be.
“I’ll get our gear. Anything you need from the room?”
“I’ll go with you.”
“Stay here. I need a shower anyway. Enjoy the view, while I get changed and pick up our stuff. Meet you back here in 15 minutes.” He insisted not really waiting for an answer.
“Fine. I’ll finish my coffee.” I said, conceding.
On my third cup already this early in the day, I looked around and noticed that the place is still quiet. The crowd last night during our dinner is nowhere to be found. They must still be tucked in bed after a long night at the bar. A family of four now walking in, with a girl around seven years old towed by her dad. She obviously wasn’t happy being woken up this early. There were also three couples lounging around. One seems to be on their honeymoon. Seeing them made me think of Xavi. I could picture his sweet face. His smile still etched in my memory. I thought how different Phuket would be if he was here and I was not working. I wondered where we were headed. It’s unclear. All I know is that every time we talk or whenever I’m around him; it feels like I’m right where I needed to be. Like everything will be all right. No clouds over my head.The telephone conversation this morning settled that sinking feeling in my heart. I told him about the wedding that I will be covering. Told him how beautiful Thailand was at this time of the year. How perfect the weather is. No rain. He listened to me patiently as I talked about how my day would be going although there were times that it felt like he phased out on the conversation. He must’ve been tired. I wonder if we would ever get past this awkward stage of being unsure whether to take it a step further or not. But I was happy. He finally answered my call after ignoring me for days.
“Let’s go.” It was Matt, interrupting my thoughts.
He had a blue striped t-shirt on paired with white mid-thigh shorts and loafers. His blue eyes accented by the light blue hues of his tee. His wavy hair ruffled a bit to perfection, as some of the studio staff describes it – in whispers. It was like looking at a model plucked out from a fashion magazine. He was carrying his camera bag and my D800E with the 24-70mm lens already attached. He knows for destination weddings, I shoot around 80% of my stills with it.
“I’ve got 2 extra memory cards in the bag. One for each of us.” He said, before I could ask.
Took the last sip of my coffee then stood up taking the camera from him.
“Off we go!” I said cheerily. Now excited to see the whole place.
“Hi Ho Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go.” He sung over and over again, swinging from side to side, skipping in beat.
4 hours and a hundred stills after, we were back at THE DECK coordinating with the videographer regarding the layout, who goes where – An essential part of the job. We have to ensure no one gets blocked and both teams capture the beauty of the event in its entirety. In another hour we’ll be meeting with the bride and groom together with the entourage for pre-wedding photos. I’ve heard they have been with their makeup team since morning. The meeting finished earlier than expected. It seems they did their homework as well. We decided to head back to the room right after the meeting. We still had a good half an hour to burn. The weather was dry. We both needed a change of clothes. Matt was taking the lead this afternoon. He’s better in directing people and making emotions cut through the glass than me. I prefer capturing life – life in action, not portraits. It was what got me into photography. I would be walking down a street and I would see kids running around and I would think, “That would be a nice picture.” I would be in an airplane and I would wish I had a camera so I can take a snap of that old couple sitting together talking. But PR shoots bring in the money. So I learned portraits. Took some time getting used to. The good thing about events is that it fuses PR shots with life in action.
“15 minutes, luv! We can still grab something to eat. You ready?” he called out.
“Ready.” I answered walking out of the washroom.
“Nice” He said letting out a sigh.
I had changed to a short gray V-neck cotton dress with pockets. We were going outside and I was expecting the winds to pick up later in the afternoon and the dress would allow me to work without the nuances of trying to hold it down all the time. I knew how the dress looks at me. It fits me just right, hugging me in the right places. “You coming?” I asked already at the door.
“Matthew O’ Connor!”
“Babe, how about we skip to dessert?” he said still frozen in place. No smile, mischief in his eyes.
“I’ll see you at the resto.” I shouted. My back already at him a few steps away, hurriedly heading straight out. I could hear him chuckling.
“Matt!” I thought. He makes me feel uneasy sometimes, and he sure knows it.
“A little to the left, luv.” He said.
“Higher. Higher. Okay hold it right there.”
I was the assistant today. Holding the reflector while he continued shooting. Rachel in a wedding dress and Dan in his suit, we were at the beach walkway, it was perfect. They were both wearing their second dresses specifically for the shoot. Not the ones that they would be wearing two days from now when they say their I DOs. Endless water as far as the eye could see. Our day was almost over. We were taking the last shots. Sunset.
“Hey buddy!” Matt said.
“I think you can kiss better than that!” He was teasing.
Dan was a little reserved about kissing Rachel in front of the camera. And it was not looking good. Matt had been encouraging them not to mind us. He took a different route today. There were times that he would just let them be and would start shooting a few minutes after without telling them. He was capturing life. I’ve seen some of the shots as he goes and checks them with me. They were beautiful.
“He doesn’t like kissing in public!” Rachel says giggling.
“C’mon mate!” Matt chided.
“Dan, did you write your own vows? Or are you going the traditional way?” I asked.
Matt raised his eyebrows at me but kept mum about it.
“We’ll be writing our vows.” Dan answered
“I’ve written mine.” Rachel volunteered
“Oh, lovely. Can we hear it? I mean not the whole, bits of it?” I said
Rachel looked at me wondering if I was serious.
“You don’t have to say the whole speech just a few lines.” I said with a gentle smile.
“Uhm, okay.” She answered hesitantly.
“Just look at Dan. When you say it.” I said, still smiling.
I looked at Matt. He caught on and was all set.
Rachel looked at Dan a little hesitant.
Dan, on cue, took both of her hands in his, raised them up to his lips and gave it a kiss. With that, the beautiful sunset beside them, the warm Asian breeze blowing strands of her hair off to the side, Rachel said her vows.
“Dan. The road we took was not easy, but being here now makes it worth every bumpy road. I promise to love you forever, to hold you through every sunsets and sunrises.”
“Uhm, it goes a little more after that.” She said laughing a little but still looking into his eyes.
I could see Dan’s eyes were watering a bit.
“I LOVE YOU, HONEY.” She whispered.
And they kissed.
The day was so exhausting that I crashed in bed right after the shoot. He worked through his shots while I slept. A few hours after – we left the room for some late dinner.
“You did great.” He said in-between bites.
“We did great. Team work!” I said a little high-pitched, sounding too excited.
“Ooh, someone got too much of sleep!" He laughingly said.
I smiled, wondering why I was hyper and all worked up.
"Seriously, luv. That was great. I think those were the best shots of the day.”
I knew he was talking about the sunset shots. The kiss.
“Thank you.” Calming myself down.
“I saw you tearing up as well.” He said, teasingly.
We both were laughing by then
“What’s the plan for tomorrow?” He asked.
“I might go off the hotel. Explore the islands a little.”
“You might? I’m not invited?”
“Oh. I assumed you’d be working on the stills from today.”
“Yeah, I think I will. Don’t wake me early. I’m going to sleep in.”
“And miss the breakfast buffet? I hardly doubt that.” I teased.
“I’ll be back by the afternoon. “
“Sounds like a plan.” He said sounding disappointed.
The band was already in full swing by then.
“Is this love – is this love – is this love – Is this love that I’m feeling.”
A drink in hand I stood up. Started dancing to the song, going for the dance floor. It was easier than face the questions that would be coming up. His eyes followed me, still with that disappointed look.
“I – I – I– I– I– I– I– I– I – I’m willing and able.”
I sang together with the band waving for him to join me. I saw his face resigning to a smile. Picking himself up he joined me at the floor. We danced.
Beep. It was Xavi. I looked up and caught Matt’s eyes. He smiled. He held his hand out and willingly I gave him my phone. He walked over to the bartender, told him something and handed my phone to him. I resigned to what was in front of me, a lovely view of the beach. Coconut trees swaying with us. Music – intoxicating our senses.
In a different country – feels like a different world, far from Oz. People started joining us on the dance floor.
“We’re all sensitive people.
With so much to give, understand me sugar.
Since we got to be. Let’s say, I love you…”
“…Let’s get it on, Let’s love baby.”
4pm, Wedding Day.
“Matt?” I called out, walking in the room.
“I can’t find my cuffs!” He said, irritated.
“Where have you looked?”
“Everywhere!” He answered not even raising his head to look at me.
He was throwing clothes to his side. He started pushing everything off the bed.
“Babe, let me find it for you.” I said softly, not meaning to call him that. But it was too late, it was out there. It got his attention. He stopped and looked at me.
He smiled, “Sorry. It’s just not the right time to lose ‘em”
“It’s ok. Finish up. I’ll look for it.” Noticing he still had no socks on and his bow tie still undone.
We have made it a point to blend with the crowd at events. If it were a halloween themed company event, we would also be dressed up for the event like any guest would be. If it were a cowboy themed party, we would be wearing plaids and cowboy hats on. Today was no different; it was a black tie event. He went for the classic look – black tux and white dress shirt with black bow tie. His hair was brushed and styled neatly – his Beckham look, as he calls it. I decided to go with the wedding motif – short blue heart-shaped wrapped dress, paired with nude “So Kate” Louboutins. Five minutes after he was all set and I was helping him put the cuffs on.
“You look beautiful.” He said.
“She was right.”
“Who?” I asked
“The manager. We do make a lovely couple.” He smiled.
“There.” Tapping his wrist, ignoring his words
“You look gorgeous, as well. The ladies would DEFINITELY be smiling at all of the pictures – with you behind the camera!”
Chuckling he turned around to look at himself in the mirror.
“Not bad, eh?”
“Not bad.” I agreed.
He took me by the waist and drew me close. Both of us now facing the mirror, him behind me. My petite frame barely covering his body. He wrapped his arms around my waist, bent his head and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I let him. His face still right beside mine. His eyes holding mine in the mirror.
“Someday, we would have to talk about us, Babe.” He softly said
We stood like that for some time. It seemed like forever. I didn’t want to move. I wanted to just be there with him. Finally, taking a deep breath, I turned to look at him. He was gorgeous. I wanted to touch his face but I knew it would send us both reeling to places I dare not go now.
“Someday, luv. Right now, we work.” I said, looking into his eyes.
“Let’s go then.” He said still smiling.
The place was still empty except for the video crew setting up. We have already taken our prelim shots of the place while it was empty an hour ago, and we were just waiting for people to start pouring in. The plan was that we would be both shooting. He will take the stage facing the guests, parallel with the minister and I will be down the aisle working my way from the entrance up to the stage. In that way we would be covering both angles of the wedding. Lighting will not be a problem, we figured, as the videographer had a light man tagging along beside him. Guests started to pour in lightly. Matt walked up the aisle to take his position by the stage. I took a few shots of the guests. Here and there not really asking them to pose. Doing what I love best – capturing life.
Half an hour later, the place was bustling. You can feel the excitement in the air; kids getting restless, friends talking about the couple – how much they were meant to be and families catching up with each other’s lives.
There is something about weddings that bring hearts together. Maybe it’s the truth and the honesty behind the wedding vows. Or the dresses, the frills and the hype leading to it. Maybe it’s the love that is being celebrated. Whatever it is, weddings transport everyone to a happier place. I wondered if I would ever get here – My own wedding.
Not soon I admitted to myself. No real relationship in sight; Hesitations and uncertainty flying around with Xavier, questions and doubts with Matt.
“Belle, put a pin on that. We'll deal with that on another day.” I whispered.
I raised my camera and pointed it down the aisle, there were a few people already in their seats and I wanted to capture the anticipation in their faces, the excitement in the air with the altar at the background. Peering through the eyepiece I took a shot, I zoomed in at 50mm for a closer shot of the stage. I caught a glimpse of Matt. He was near the edge of the stage, fiddling with his camera. I couldn’t resist. I took a picture. He was handsome as ever; more handsome than when we first met. He started walking towards the center of the stage. He stopped and looked straight at me, he must have noticed I was taking pictures of him. Lowered my camera and caught his eye. He smiled and winked and mouthed something. I was frozen in place. Every reason in me flew out of space. His smile does that every time. I raised my camera and took a picture. That picture would be permanently burned in my memory.
The altar decorated in white and blue flowers. Him standing there in his suit. His smile as he purposely stood still for me. His blue eyes looking through the glass straight to mine. The entourage was now arriving one by one. I looked away from that beautiful scene to focus on work. My mind keeps drifting to what he tried to say.
“What were those words?” I thought
“… Nah, I must’ve gotten it wrong.”
“It can’t be. How can he? When he was the one who walked away….”
“I LOVE YOU.” Now running through my head – was it really what he said.
Previously: I. Sunsets and Sunrises
Up Next: III. Silence
22 October 2015