Take a Ride Image

Take a Ride

Take a Ride Image
Aww...come on, I just wanna sit on it!
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Even though I hadn’t updated the site here for a month, that doesn’t mean I stopped creating new images. It only means that November was very busy at RL work with lots of site moves going on and there was still some adjustment for me to make the change from illustrating a story and just wandering.

This was one of those wandering images. Sadly, I even failed to take note of where I was so looking back a month later now….I don’t remember!

As I pulled this from my folder of completed images – along with the originals and the photoshop document, one thing in particular struck me. This didn’t necessarily need to be a composite image. I was there, the lighting is from windlight using the firestorm browser. The only reason that I created it as a composite image – aside from my enjoyment of doing that – is for the blur or field of view effect.

I’ve not had much luck with FOV in the Firestorm viewer. No matter what I’ve tried, when I select FOV, though it may look good on screen, I notice a small amount of blurring to my subject also. So, in the interest of keeping sharp what I wanted sharp this is actually three images. Two are without Aedan in the photo ( I used a white screen behind him to pluck him out into a separate image) then took one photo of the scene without him and duplicated that.

One of those was then blurred as I felt needed. After that, they were recombined using a mask to permit the blurred image to come through for the background…including between the spokes of the wheel.  Finally, Aedan was placed back into the image along with his shadow.

Yes, it was actually several hours worth of work. Several hours of unmasking and fixing little bits.  Several hours of relaxing concentration.

This is why I am enjoying this so much.

 

Homeword Bound

Bring it on

Well, that was a long ‘spring break’!  I should also add that it was a very educational experience for me.  I learned a few things that work well or at least as expected and more instances that didn’t.  Though I am sure I will always stumble I’m determined to keep getting up and keep in mind that the goal here is the journey and not the destination.

Besides feeling more comfortable (though oh, so much to learn yet!) in Photoshop I have also come to the conclusion that publishing scenes or chapters of a story as soon as it and the image are ready is not something I am going to try to do going forward.  Working this way prompted me on several occasions to get something published because it had been a couple weeks since I had posted anything.  I feel this wasn’t guiding the story and reversing my priorities. Whether I wait until the story is done to publish images from it or not is yet to be determined.  In the interim, I’ll be working on images not directly related to the story.

Today’s image – actually from last week – is one of those – Aedan is headed home from his vacation but the prologue has been closed. This is incidental…as may be stops along the way while headed home.

Of course, other things learned over the summer is that I have so much to learn about writing.  Characters also need to be developed – which will certainly bring more pics.

Stay tuned!

Sail Away

Aedan tries yet again to call Noel before the boat leaves
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The sun hadn’t been up long when Aedan first opened his eyes. He laid flat on his back and thought about the coming day. He hadn’t been sailing for a while so there was a bit of excitement along with good memories that found their way to the surface. The couple he met two evenings ago, the Carlsons seemed competent and friendly. Since he was always keeping his eye out for his next boat he was anxious to see theirs. He was familiar with the model but had never been aboard one.

Beyond all of that though, what he was most excited about was having Noel along. Assuming the weather cooperated, sailing with another couple would be a great time to relax and have fun with no pressure and for sheer pleasure it is difficult to beat a beautiful sunset at sea. The thought of the long day ahead reminded Aedan that he needed to gather a few things to take along to eat while they were out. He built a list in his head of what he would take along,

Curious of the time, Aedan reached for his phone in the charging cradle but it was empty. He rolled over and found the phone beside his pillow. He must have fallen to sleep while catching up on the news. He muttered to himself and pressed the button on the side but nothing happened. Again he pressed but the screen remained blank. With words reserved only for himself when he does foolish things, Aedan set the phone on the cradle and immediately it began charging…from 0%.

Fully awake now, he glanced across the room to the clock radio and saw that it was nearly 8am. He had woken 30 minutes later than intended but there was plenty of time for a shower. He would call Noel after the phone had recharged to make sure she was up and getting ready.

 

With anticipation of the day ahead and the shower behind him, Aedan went through his normal morning routines. Shaving, brushing teeth, crunches and push-ups were all routine though truth be told, he did extra today. Noel would be there.

Once he was ready to hit the road and dressed, he grabbed the now partially charged phone, went to his call history and called the last number – Noel’s. After three rings, it went to voicemail. He would try again later.

The homeowner, Ms. Fernandez was busy in the kitchen when Aedan came down the stairs. Always pleasant, she offered Aedan coffee and breakfast. He took her up on the coffee and a couple pieces of fruit. They talked about his plans and other things to do in the same area of Havana. Aedan was anticipating spending some time with Noel after they returned to port.

An hour had passed with no response from Noel so he called again and again ended up in her voicemail.

“Noel, it’s Aedan. I just wanted to be sure you’re up and will meet us at the marina at 11. I’ll grab some things to eat while we’re out. Just bring yourself and plenty of suntan lotion. It looks like a beautiful day. Oh..and call me when you get a chance.”

Ms. Fernandez was smiling when Aedan put the phone down. “Please take some of this fruit with you! It will go bad tomorrow and I need to get more.”

Aedan suddenly felt a little embarrassed.

“Thank you but I can’t do that!” He responded.

“Nonsense“ was her reply. “It will go bad soon.”

Sensing this was a losing argument, Aedan agreed to take a few pieces and she nearly emptied the fruit bowl into a bag as he watched.

For thirty minutes more, the two of them sipped coffee and talked until Aedan decided he needed to get moving. He was concerned that he had not yet heard back from Noel but knew she was excited about going out. Perhaps she too had forgotten to charge her phone.

As they neared the bottom of the coffee cup, Ms. Fernandez called for a taxi for Aedan. He noted that she truly did bend over backwards to make him feel comfortable. Ten minutes later, a horn sounded from outside. Aedan grabbed his own bag in addition to the one that Ms. Fernandez had prepared for him, wished her a good day and headed out the door to the waiting taxi.

Along the way, Aedan asked the taxi driver to stop at a grocery store where he grabbed a few more things to take along. The Carlsons had already volunteered that they had plenty to drink so he grabbed more water before returning to the taxi and completing the trip to the marina.

He was an hour early but that was by design. Walking the docks to look at the assortment of boats has been something he has done frequently in the last few years. It is said that the best days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it. He had experienced both and though he often tells himself it is foolish, he still looks for ‘the boat’ that will draw him back.

While walking the piers, Aedan tried again to call Noel but once again got her voicemail. He was now starting to worry a bit. He hadn’t known her long enough to know if being late was a habit. Of course, she wasn’t late yet but why hadn’t she acknowledged his calls?

As he neared dock “D”, Aedan saw the Carlsons toward the end unloading their cart that sat at the end of the finger pier. Mr. Carlson noticed him and waved.

“Oh, great! You’re early so you can help me load the boat!” His laugh was unmistakable. Aedan assured him he was eager to help.

Together, the two of them pulled grocery bags, beach bags, a coolers and a plastic gas can from the trunk of the car. The walk from the car to the boat was over a quarter of a mile which gave them plenty of time to talk about the day’s plans. The weather forecast was near perfect. It would be a bit warm but there would be enough breeze to keep them moving well and cooling the cockpit. They would anchor for a bit to eat and swim and be back to the mouth of the port to see the sun set before returning to the slip before it got too late. It had been several years since Aedan had been out and he was eager to experience the power of the wind that could simultaneously bring a calmness encapsulated by silence yet create moments of excitement if one let their guard down too far.

Once everything had been loaded onto the boat and put into it’s place Aedan offered to help with rigging the mainsail but to no surprise, Mr. Carlson thanked him and suggested he relax while he and Mrs. Carlson completed their preparations. This was not unlike Aedan himself – there is a connection between a boat and it’s captain. Some things the captain wants to know are done a certain way while others just fall into part of a routine and upsetting the routine during preparations inflicts a bit of uncertainty. To be fair, Mr. Carlson did offer a few small errands for him to take care of while he watched.

With little else to do and it now less than thirty minutes from the time that they intended to get underway, Aedan called Noel’s number once more but again his call went directly to voicemail. He was growing more concerned by the moment.

“Have you heard from your friend, Noel yet, Aedan?” Mrs. Carlson may have seen Aedan looking at his phone or perhaps she was simply noting the time also.

Aedan signed and shook his head. “No, I haven’t. The hotel is just around the corner – well, maybe two corners but in any event it’s only about ten minutes away. I’m going to go check on her. They all agreed that at this point he should. Perhaps she had just gotten lost and was walking the docks.

Aedan looked in every direction as he made his way out of the marina hoping to see her on the wrong pier. There was quite a bit of activity this morning as people were taking advantage of the beautiful forecast and getting out on the water or simply spending time on their boats doing maintenance and socializing. In all the activity though, Noel was nowhere to be seen.

Arriving at the hotel, Aedan scanned the lobby both for platinum blonde hair and the check-in desk. It was a small hotel that was decorated comfortably but not lavishly. The desk he found easily but still no trace of Noel. At the desk, he made his best effort in Spanish to ask for Noel’s room number. The look of frustration and confusion on his face prompted her to repeat her answer in English.

“I’m sorry sir but I can not give you that information.”

Aedan explained that she was supposed to meet him, that she was late and that he hasn’t been able to reach her by phone.

The clerk shook her head and was about to say more when Aedan pulled his wallet out.

Please sir, I can not tell you her room number but“. she hesitated and looked to either side of her. Only she and Aedan were in the room. “Ms. Jensen checked out very early this morning.”

Only confusion remained on Aedan’s face.

“Checked out? Are you sure?”

“Yes sir.” She looked back at the book behind the counter “At 4:30 this morning she turned her key in.”

“Did she say why? Was everything OK?” Aedan was grasping for an explanation.

“It was before my shift, sir but I think Maria is still here, she would have been working the desk then. I’ll be right back.”

A couple minutes passed that seemed much longer to Aedan. The clerk returned alone.

“She had to catch a flight and seemed a little rushed but that’s all I know.”

Aedan still couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

Did she say where she was going? Was she alone?” He asked.

“No, I don’t believe she did and there was nobody with her.” she replied

The front door opened and both looked to see a couple loaded with suitcases coming in.

“I wish you luck sir. Please excuse me.” Her attention shifted to the newly arrived guests “Bienvenido!”

Aedan thanked the clerk and stepped away from the counter. He pulled his phone out and tried to Noel again. This time he received a voicemail box full message.

Still confused and wondering what he should do next, he called the Carlsons and told them that he wasn’t going to make it out with them today. Perhaps they could go out another day but he was going to to see what else he could find out and didn’t want to keep them waiting. Mr. Carlson expressed his understanding and that the offer still stood when he was ready. Since the boat was ready, they were still going out.

Outside the hotel, Aedan flagged down the first taxi and headed for the airport.

Awakened

Looking into the mirror
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“You don’t want to miss your plane, Mr. Charron.”  The clerk repeated as Aedan stared at her, not sure if she were ‘real’ or if he was dreaming.

“It leaves in one hour, there’s no time to waste!” she went on as Aedan slowly accepted that he should take her advice.  

The emotions of Aedan’s recent experience – be it a dream or some kind of vision – were still overwhelming him. At once he wanted to tell her about his experience because he didn’t feel it was a dream and yet he wasn’t sure what it was and even after a week in the hotel, she didn’t know him from Adam. He knew only her name, Louise, which he got from her name tag, that she was probably in her early twenties and had a pretty smile. No, this initial urge to share what he experienced needed to be digested.

Aedan pulled himself to his feet and brushed the grass from himself. Already on the move, she looked over her shoulder, smiling even bigger than she had in the past.  That it seemed the entire town was constantly smiling and especially friendly to him had initially bothered Aedan. It made him question their motives and sincerity. A week later and he had come to accept the smiles as genuine. There was something different about her smile now, though.

“Come on!” She grabbed his hand and tugged then laughed as she let go and started walking rapidly back to the hotel.

Aedan’s head was still full of all that he had just experienced so he followed after her somewhat blindly while trying to sort it all out. The older man at the table was not his father but it was him in the future. The boy was him as a child and then, there was no question about the other one at the table. They discussed many events in their lives but each remembered them differently. Some things Aedan wanted to talk about but the others glanced at the boy then shook their heads without saying a word. They discussed even bigger things – the meaning of life, of God, of being. Some of the ideas discussed with Aedan were foreign to him and yet, they seemed to make so much sense.  Others he appreciated technically and thought he understood their meaning but now he had actually experienced them and realized the difference was vast. And now? Suddenly he was following Louise back to the hotel as if he couldn’t find the way on his own.

The walk back to the hotel was less than 5 minutes at the pace they traveled. Aedan had everything packed except the clothes he had intended to change into. They were laid out on the bed along with his ticket, wallet and passport which were tucked into a pocket of his jacket. It wouldn’t take much time to change but the airport was another 10 minutes by car and then there was the hassle of getting through security. The realization of the short time he had brought his focus back to the present and away from his experience. There would be time to sort that out while on the plane.

Louise and Aedan barged into the hotel lobby nearly in a run. Not surprisingly, the lobby was empty except for the blonde haired woman behind the counter whom Aedan had guessed to be the manager. She was as friendly as the others but besides her senior years, was obviously the one called upon when there was a question about anything that the other clerks couldn’t address themselves.  

“Whoa! Slow down you two!” the lady behind the counter countered as Aedan was about to start up the stairs. “Mr. Charron, your flight has been delayed for a few hours. You’ve got plenty of time now”.

Aedan exhaled deeply, feeling the weight lift from his shoulders. “It is still coming today, right?  No offense but I’m really ready to begin this vacation!”. He laughed at himself.

“Yes, they had to do some unscheduled maintenance before leaving but I checked right after Louise left to find you about thirty minutes ago and the plane was taking off then.” She went on.

“Rats!  I was so looking forward to a bag of peanuts for lunch but… “ Aedan was cut off mid sentence.

“Nonsense, Mr. Charron “ exclaimed the voice from behind the counter. “Louise, fetch him a plate from the kitchen. “Today’s special is roast beef sandwiches and since you’ve been so pleasant in your extended stay here – and not too messy I might add – lunch is on the house.”

For the first time, Aedan saw Louise without a smile. In fact she looked horrified.

“Ms. Mann, I think Mr. Charron might prefer something else before his trip. There is a place around the corner with vegan options and am sure he can find something there”. Louise glanced briefly at Aedan briefly and then back to Ms. Mann.

Aedan studied Louise for an instant then smiled as he turned back to the Ms. Mann who was glaring at Louise. The instant of friction that Aedan had not witnessed since arriving didn’t last long.

Ms Mann nodded and a faint smile returned “Yes, of course, I forgot.’

“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Ms. Mann .“, Aedan responded. “I do like her idea though, a quick lunch before I change and there won’t be any more dishes to pick up after me.” He winked at the manager and she smirked.

Her focus returned to Louise “Don’t be too long and Louise, for Goodness sake, don’t be spreading any gossip!”  

For an instant, the gaze between the two was as sharp as a knife.

“Oh please!” was all that came from Louise’s lips before she turned to Aedan “Ready when you are!” Her smile returned.

The restaurant that Louise took him to was actually one that had become a favorite of Aedan’s.  Being so close to the hotel, it hadn’t taken him long to find it. Now at lunch time, it was busier than Aedan had seen it before so they waited to be seated.

“Thank you for your interference.” He chuckled. “I am impressed that you noticed.”

“Oh, I know a lot about you, Mr. Charron”, she laughed.

His brows raised “Really?  Like what? “

Her eyes rolled.  It wasn’t the first time he had noticed the sarcastic thread in her but the first in this setting. “Seriously, it didn’t take long to figure that out and I know next to nothing else about you except…except you are dedicated to your work and..and you have a nice car that you haven’t touched in over a week.  A lot of good that does you.” Her smile was interrupted by the hostess prompting them to follow her to a table.

Once seated at a small table beside the window with menus in hand and iced tea ordered for both of them, Aedan continued. “And…what else do you know?”  He enjoyed the facial expressions she made to his questions. The rolling of her eyes, lifting of her eyebrows and exaggerated mouth movements…open emotions being shared, always got his attention.

“Nothing. Oh! I lied. I know your full name and address because it’s on your bill.  That’s it.” She laughed and Aedan figured she had told all she had to tell…or was willing to tell.

“And all I know about you is your first name.  It’s a beautiful name but a bit unusual for women of your age.  I had an aunt named Louise. Not too friendly from what I remember“ Aedan chuckled, anxious to see her animated response to his intended dig.

“Oh…yes, it is a bit unusual but it was my mother’s middle name and her mother’s first.  I loved that she shared that with me. My mother is a very caring woman and we’ll always have this connection no matter how far apart we are.”

The waiter returned and their lunch was ordered right away. As they waited the conversation remained light and playful. There was a familiarity in Louise that Aedan found comforting though he reminded himself several times that she was less than half his age and he would be leaving a couple hours.  The light conversation kept his mind off of the day’s earlier events too. Really, she happened along at the right time several times today.

Among other things, Aedan learned that she had recently finished college and had come to this city on a whim. Spontaneity was something she inherited from her mom. Undoubtedly, she learned much about him too as he found her quite easy to talk to.

With lunch done, Aedan glanced at his phone to get the time. “Are you expecting a call?” Louise asked?

“Oh no…just don’t want to miss the plane.” Aedan laughed as he saw the relief in her face. Nothing could hide behind that face.

“Of course! I’m sorry. I hate to see the time pass so quickly.”

For a moment their eyes locked and much was said with no words.  Aedan had to break the silence.

“So….I don’t know your middle name!  Marie? Ann? I don’t know what goes with Louise.”

Her eyes dropped to her glass as Louise took the last sip of her tea. “Sara” she said “without  the ‘h’”.

Aedan looked at her in silence, struggling to find words.

“My mother’s first name is Sarah and I guess she didn’t want to say she named me after her so she dropped the H from my middle name.’  Louise looked a bit upset for the first time since Aedan had met her.

Aedan regained his composure and tried to smile  “No…it’s a beautiful name. Your mother must love you very much. We should be moving before I miss that plane.”

He flagged down the waiter to request the bill but Louise interrupted “I got this.” and pulled a card from her purse to hand to the waiter.

Aedan’s protestation was met with a “Shhh… Ms. Mann said this was on the house and besides….you don’t have your wallet on you.”

Aedan’s mouth dropped as he felt his pocket and realized she was right. He had made all the preparations for his flight, including putting his wallet, ticket and passport in his suit pocket.

“OK, you win but don’t get used to that. I’m really glad we got this time together before I left. You have no idea of how much this has meant to me.”

The bright smile returned to her face “and I am so happy we did too, Mr Charron.”

“Aedan, please call me Aedan – or were you lying about knowing my name?”

Both laughed and Aedan held out his hand as he stood. Louise took his hand and as she stood then grabbed her purse.

“I’m going to drive you to the Airport once you get changed so let’s get going” she volunteered and they headed toward the door.

Before they made it out the door, the waiter caught up with them “Ma’am…your credit card..and your signature please.”

Again, Louise made the most amusing faces of surprise and embarrassment and Aedan admired every motion.

Back in his room at the hotel, Aedan found his suit just as he left it lying flat on the bed and waiting for him though the bed had already been made. His bag of toiletries was in the restroom beside the sink but as he entered the room he was shocked to see the mirror was missing.  It wasn’t necessary for anything he needed to do but still, one gets used to staring at oneself, counting wrinkles, noting the losing battle with the receding hairline. With those thoughts he began again thinking about the morning’s events but closed his eyes, took a deep breath and pushed it away for now.

Once done in the restroom, Aedan undressed and put his now dirty clothes in a separate bag before putting them into his suitcase. When he lifted his suit coat from the bed his passport fell out of the inner pocket.  With little thought but to make sure he put it back in there better this time, he verified that his wallet was in the same pocket where he had left it earlier as was the plane ticket.

Once dressed and back in the lobby with his suitcase, Aedan asked Ms. Mann about the mirror.  She apologized and explained how it fell while housekeeping was in his room and expressed concern that all the pieces hadn’t been picked up as she handed him his receipt. “It’s been a pleasure serving you, Mr. Charron and I hope you’ll return one day.  Now, be on your way and don’t miss that plane.”

Louise dangled the keys before her “Your chauffeur is here.”  The smile on her lips didn’t quite hide her real emotions. Aedan wasn’t the only one that noticed.

The short trip to the airport was much quieter than their earlier walks. Louise asked about his plans, how long he would stay. Small talk. Aedan felt some regret in leaving at this moment and yet this is what he had been planning for months and he truly needed some time to himself to sort the day’s events out.

Arriving at the airport, Louise pulled up to the curb and looked at Aedan “I guess this is it. The next leg of your journey begins. I really hope it goes as you wish.”

“Everybody needs a break once in a while, Louise.  Don’t forget that. “ Aedan said jokingly.

“Is that an invitation?” She asked.

They both laughed as Aedan got out and pulled his bag from the back seat.  To his surprise, Louise got out of the car and walked around to him. Aedan set the suitcase down and they hugged. The fragrance of her hair filled Aedan’s lungs before they both let go and looked into each other’s eyes again. “Aedan, please don’t forget me…come back again, ya hear?”

“No, there’s no way I’m forgetting you.  Thank you for today. Now get back to work before Ms. Mann comes looking for you!”

With his bags checked in at the curb and having checked in the night before, Aedan headed straight to security. Though he would be transferring in Miami, when asked for ID, he presented both is passport and driver’s license. The guard inspected both and wished him a safe trip.  All the rush and eagerness was suddenly lifted. He had finally made it with time to spare.

It seemed as though it had been a month since he first tried to leave from this airport. This town was starting to feel like home. Aedan made his way to the terminal and found a seat against the wall where he could stretch out and relax. And think.  He had so much to think about.

When the arrival of his flight was announced an hour later he set aside those thoughts as difficult as it was and took a seat closer to the window where he watched the plane taxi up to the terminal.  Fifteen minutes later passengers began unloading and streaming past him. He remembered how not so long ago that would be the point of reunion with friends and family but these days, it was just a rush to get out of the terminal to meet them and wait on luggage.

The terminal was now full of people waiting to board the plane.  All headed to Miami…a good bit of them pale skinned and surely headed for a painful sunburn but all excited to be going.  And he sat among them though feeling a bit disconnected.

The plane had been empty for a good thirty minutes but no boarding had started yet. There was some discussion behind the counter.  Aedan caught a tone of frustration as he tried to listen to the conversation that wasn’t intended to be heard. It was at that time that the flight information sign changed to indicate that his flight was now delayed.

Within the terminal that he sat was an all inclusive sigh of disappointment and frustration. An announcement was made that there was additional maintenance needed on the plane but no ETA could yet be announced. Further information would be given as soon as possible but it was another thirty minutes before any more substantial information was given. Despite the earlier delay, the issue of concern had returned and the best course of action was still being determined.

Aedan hardly noticed the ongoing delays by now.  He was deep in thought again. He was in awe over the morning’s events and sorting out what it meant for him.  He was confused about the afternoon with Louise and what he had learned from her. He wondered if these two events were somehow connected.

An hour after the flight had first been delayed for the second time today, it was announced that a solution had been proposed and was being implemented but would take two to three hours to complete. Refunds were being offered.  Aedan scoffed at the idea. He had waited nearly two weeks. What was two more hours? Additionally, he had said hs goodbys and thought it unwise to go back to the hotel at this time.

So, he sat and thought more. The voices in the terminal became a background noise that he barely heard. He tried to meditate but his mind wouldn’t slow down enough. Perhaps the only thing he didn’t think about was work.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, boarding will start in ten minutes” is what pulled Aedan back to the present. He opened his eyes and saw for the first time that the sun had set and it was well into dusk.  From where he sat, he could look down and see movement in the illuminated cockpit and luggage being loaded. Finally there would be another step forward.

He watched the lights zip by as planes took off and landed. It was dark enough that he could see the reflection of people walking by behind him in the huge glass pane before him. He could see the attractive blonde haired woman a few seats from him without obviously staring.

What he didn’t see was himself.  There was a figure in the seat that he occupied. The clothes were the same but it wasn’t his face.

Aedan was bewildered. He looked right and left and saw the people on either side of him reflected in the glass. He slowly raised his right arm and saw the figure before him raising the same arm. He repeated this movement with his left arm and sat in terror, afraid to move. That was not his face that he saw.  The reflection was dim but he was certain it wasn’t his.

“Boarding is now beginning, please have your passes out”. The words passed right over Aedan.

He stood and walked slowly up to the glass until he could more clearly see the reflection. The face was his but from at least twenty five years earlier.

Illusions

Aedan meets himself - several times
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A fog that lasts for a week with no retreat, that seeps under door and down stairways should disrupt the mood of anybody. Yet, today Aedan felt a bit of sadness as the sun pulled back the curtains and fully immersed everyone and everything for the first time since he arrived in this town over a week ago. It was though an old friend had left while he slept without saying good bye.

In any other circumstance he would have been overjoyed to see the sun. His vacation had been delayed and he was stuck in a town in which he didn’t know anybody before arriving. And frankly, Aedan had always preferred the sunny tropics to the cold north. However, things had worked out well. He warmed up to the locals who were nearly always bending over backwards to make him feel at home.

When he learned that one of the cases he was trying had been rescheduled and that his physical appearance was no longer necessary, he made arrangements to work remotely until the fog lifted and he could make his flight.  His associate Cathy was quite capable and Aedan imagined she probably relished the idea of ‘being in charge’. Without the typical interruptions of the office to deal with, Aedan re-evaluated all of the cases in his office and when prudent, communicated his concerns back to Cathy. He felt way ahead of the game and physically, was also feeling better than he had in years. He was ready for a well deserved vacation.

It wasn’t long before he had all of his bags packed and after verifying with the airport, the time of his departure, Aedan set off for a final walk along the waterway. He had seen it many times now but none with the sun shining.

Approximately halfway between his hotel and the cathedral housing the tall statue that caught his attention on his first day out,  there was a small sitting area in an open garden that had become a favorite spot for him. It was secluded and he had never once seen anybody there. Best of all for him, it was surrounded by a small, block faced garden wall which he found very convenient for leaning against while sitting in meditation.

On the floor of this small patio was etched roman numerals indicating the hours of a clock along with smaller divides between each hour.  It seemed an odd place to paint a clock face but it was a perfect place for meditating and with three hours to kill he thought a perfect place to spend the rest of the morning also.

It was no surprise that he found the patio empty other than the table and chairs that sat in the center. With the sun shininig it was a brighter white than he had imagined and all around, in the heavy trees that surrounded the area, birds sang in celebration of the sun.  It seemed that not everyone here preffered the fog.

After the relaxing walk, Aedan wasted no time in finding an open spot on the outside of the wall and sitting with his legs crossed, he leaned back against the wall and turned his palms up as his eyes closed. Not only did he prefer to have some support for his back while meditating, he had given up long ago in trying to sit in a lotus position. He simply hadn’t started this practice at an early enough age he told himself. Normally he would set a timer on his watch for 45 minutes but since he had plenty of time, he didn’t bother.

After years of meditating almost daily, Aedan still dealt with the ‘monkey brain’. Often he felt that he was just doing something wrong. Occasionally dozing off and finding his head nearly in his lap was another struggle he dealt with. At least he wouldn’t fall backwards with the wall behind him. Occasionally he would hear conversations in his head or see things but he was never quite sure if they were day dreams or important…still he persisted if only because he always completed a meditation session feeling rested.

When he began hearing voices today he was sure he wasn’t dreaming. He knew exactly where he was and that he had never seen anybody there over the last week. Thinking it was just his monkey brain having fun with him he practiced letting the voices flow into the distant road noise and singing birds.  They were just notes in a beautiful orchestra.  But they persisted.

There were three voices, one a child and the others adult men.  He tried to ignore them but soon came to realize that one of the voices was his. A smile filled his face as he told himself in yet another voice in his head that surely the monkey was having fun today. He sat third party to a conversation that he was participating. It was both amusing and unsettling because he couldn’t feel any of the thoughts in that voice. He played back and tried to change the conversation in his head but it went on and payed no heed to him. Finally he gave in and just listened.

As he listened it became quite apparent that the three of them knew each other very well. As they talked, a curious feeling came over Aedan as the child’s voice became more familiar to him.  Maybe it wasn’t the voice but the questions he asked and his responses…they could have been his own at a young age. At some point Aedan tried to join in on the conversation but nothing he thought changed the course of their discussion. He tried again but only grew anxious when he was ignored. Finally, in frustration he spoke out loud “Oh! Just stop it already!” and decided this meditation was over. The voices stopped but he had opened his eyes and was pulled himself back to his feet.  He brushed the dust off the seat of his jeans and turned around.

On the other side of the waist high wall were three people sitting at the table not 5 feet away from him. To his right was an older man that resembled his father but directly facing him was a man that could have been his twin! Nearest to him was a young boy who had turned in his chair to face him. Aedan stood their speechless. They all smiled at him.  His mind raced as he looked at each one again. He hadn’t really seen his father the last few years of his life but this is how he imagined him to look before he passed some twenty years prior. The boy was a spitting image of the photos his parents had kept of him in the photo albums that got pulled out every Christmas. His gaze turned back to his twin. He stared and thought “this must be a dream”.

“No, no it’s not. Come sit with us” His twin voiced and motioned to the one empty chair around the table.

Completely overwhelmed and expecting to wake up at any moment, Aedan made his way around the wall to the entrance of the patio. He looked at each of the three of them very closely as he slowly approached the table. As he took a seat in the chair a feeling of joy came over him. It was as if a huge secret was being shared with him. He was barely able to speak as he listened to them one by one.  It’s not that they wouldn’t have given him the chance but they answered all his questions even before he voiced them. As he listened he realized that he already knew the answers, he just hadn’t fully appreciated their implications. He simply sat in awe of what was being revealed to him.

“Mr. Charron! Mr. Charron, wake up!”

Aedan grasped for his breath and opened his eyes to find the young clerk from the hotel shaking at his shoulder.

“Hurry or you’re going to miss your plane!”

Drunk in the streets of Rottendam

Back To Work

Drunk in the streets of Rottendam
Not what I came to get
  • After struggling with the new foreground select tool to clean this image up to my liking, I finally gave up and just used the lasso tool to take the pieces I needed to make adjustments too. I’m mostly happy but will spend more time tweaking the LUMIPro next time. 

Adjustments made were to calm down the skin tone of my arm and his face, tweaked my shadow a bit to blur the edges and make it a similar tone to the drunk’s (who’s shadows are not coming entirely from the light).  I also added a bit of shadow in the street for my head and the rat.

Finally, the background in the distance was blurred just a bit in addition to adding a gradient to make it darker in the distance.

You can read a bit more about my struggle here with the two previous posts:

Gimp Foreground Select

Good Help These Days

 

Location: Rottendam

My Outfit: 

His Outfit:
  • He refused to answer and stunk too much to check the tags!

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