Sunshine, grass, trees, wind catching at her hair, shadows falling in patterns on the ground, the gentle sounds the world made, when it was left alone. And Avner, always Avner.
He crouched beside her as she bent close to a wild flower, perched on a boulder as she climbed up to where there was a better view. Brachy grew to know the steady click of his camera's shutter, as he snapped frame after frame, always staying within breathing distance.
Brachy giggled, as she watched the group gathering around one lone blossoming tree, surrounding it on all sides with their cameras and eager gazes. She flipped the lid off the lens.
"Makes you feel sorry for the tree, doesn't it?" Avner whispered into her ear.
Brachy jumped. She smiled up at him, but moved away, putting some distance between them.
He continued, ignoring her reaction. "So much pressure. I sure hope that poor tree is photogenic."
"Rather it than me." Brachy said.
"Oh I'd way prefer to take a picture of you any day Brachy. You're much prettier than the flower blossoms."
Brachy's face froze. Shock, embarrassment, dismay. She opened her mouth, then closed it again, without speaking. Her eyes were two admonishing guardians, gazing at Avner with disapproval.
"I was joking! Don't worry Brachy, I know you're a Dosit. Forget it, OK? Look, there's a squirrel, think we'll catch it in time?"
Brachy felt stupid, she knew her reaction to his compliment was extreme. She forced her mouth into a more normal expression, and shrugged, nodded, kneeled beside Avner to snap shots of the squirrel now disappearing behind a rock.
"If you hold a stalk of grass, or something, close to the lens, it will blur, create a halo for the picture. Try it, it makes an interesting frame." Avner passed over a twig
"How do you know so much, anyway?" Brachy asked Avner. "I thought this class was for beginners?"
"They taught me photography in the Army." Avner said.
As if that explained it all. "The army?" Brachy pictured a row of soldiers in formation, all taking artistic portraits of the sunset, or perhaps chasing butterflies? Photography didn't fit in with Brachy's image of basic training.
"For reconnaissance. I was in intelligence. " Avner didn't say more.
She'd forgotten that Avner had been a soldier, forgotten that he had done so much already in life. She'd begun thinking of him of another friend, doing the same things that she did.
Nobody in Brachy's family had ever served in the army. Not her father, not her brothers, or cousins. She had never seen a man come home in uniform, was never taught the army slang. Soldiers were heroic, powerful, beings. They'd endured basic training, they'd trekked across deserts bearing loaded packs, they'd risked their lives for the country.
True, lately the soldiers she saw on the bus and the street were looking smaller, younger, more vulnerable. Brachy began to realize that she was older than most of them, that they were just boys really.
But it was still exciting, thinking of Avner as a soldier. He suddenly seemed older than he had before. Brachy saw, as if for the first time, the shadow of stubble on his chin; she heard the thick huskiness of his voice.
She wondered if it was true what he'd said before; did he really think that she was pretty?
4 days ago