Three months ago:
It was my penultimate shift at work. I’ve been at Next since last September, making ends meet to fund my gap year, but I leave on Friday to start the next bit of my life. Today was similar to all the days in the last eleven months. At lunch time I had the job of standing at the front doors and harrassing customers over whether they would like to have an online account with the store. We have a quota to meet, normally, and in general I’ve found that the people to pounce on are young women like me - internet savvy and likely to spend money. So when a girl around my age walked in I did my pitch and she politely declined, and that was that. But a few minutes later she came back to me.
“Hello,” she said, “It’s Rosa Joy, isn’t it?”
If someone calls me Rosa Joy, as opposed to my last name, I know it has something to do with photography. So I stared at the girl, trying to work out where I’d seen her before, and she said, “I’m Alesha Joy, vintageheart on Flickr.”
Alesha, from Australia, who takes film photographs of those intimate moments I might have experienced, on a nondescript street perhaps when the world gave me a decisive moment, but which I always manage to miss. Alesha.
Really, how incredible to walk into a photographer you’ve followed and spoken to, who lives the other side of the world to you, as though they had literally fallen out of the sky. My managers were nowhere to be seen and we had the moment to ourselves. We made a plan to get back in touch when she returns from her tour of Europe, and meet up for a shoot.
This is Alesha
She came to visit me this weekend.
We walked down to the city through the fire-coloured forest, and experimented with double exposures. Cyclists overtook us on the riverbank which we followed out of town, until we crossed a bridge and made our way home at the side of busy roads choked with traffic.
She took me to places she knew, which felt a little surreal, but she’s been here before. When we caught the bus back to the university it broke down before we left the station, but back home she showed me Tim Tam Slams and we talked about the people who inspired us. As the train pulled out of the station I ran alongside until the platform disappeared, and then walked home by myself in the autumn colours as she began the journey back to spring in Australia.