Camera Man and Other Relationship Revelations: A Short Story
Chapter Four: Alas, before the afternoon was complete, the Camera Man came unglued.
We met in the parking lot at 10 am and started our appointments. I was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day. The appointments were very informative. Even I learned so much more about my Island. We ate lunch at my favorite family restaurant overlooking the water.
He was a perfect gentleman. His interactions with new acquaintances, his interest in photographing historic homes and buildings, and his interview questions and skills revealed a very bright, thoughtful, sensitive man who valued history, people from all walks of life.
The Camera Man seemed to embody all those things I valued in a person: he was curious, he listened, and he engaged in conversation, genuinely interested in hearing what I and others had to say. Furthermore, at the end of the day, our debriefing indicated that he saw something special in the individuals he met and, often that which was special had little to do with his article or the Island, but rather, about the passion individuals had about their part in our community here. He saw the good in people. And, still, he was a man.
I decided that he had earned quite a few points and was on the far left, near the dumbstruck side of the continuum.
But, alas, before the afternoon was complete, the Camera Man came unglued. He reached over and nudged my knee three times during the day. And, finally, as we were walking on the beach, I said something funny, he laughed, and put his arms around me.
Aha! Clear evidence! This was the cue to my resolve.
Slowly, with a delicate, soft tone, I told him what I had practiced in my head for the last couple of hours: “You are a very nice man and I enjoy your company. But, you must understand, that because you are married, our relationships will only be a business relationship. I know you understand.”
Simple, clear, economic use of language, not ball-busting, not male bashing, not ego blasting…just the truth.
He simply nodded. We finished our walk.
Then, he said, “Now what? Can we go to dinner?”
Weighing my words and measuring my eye contact, I said, “Yes, if you agree that we are business associates…I mean, you’re not going to try to convince me to change my mind? Right?”
“Right,” he nodded.
“Okay, as long as we are clear…I would like you to see this fabulous restaurant where you can eat outside and watch the sunset. Then I want you to hear the Blue Grass Pickin’ that takes place every Monday in the historic district downtown. It’s a hoot and more local color for your article.”