Take up a stand there. A little bit more to the right. Stop, that’s already been too far. … Again a bit to the left. Stop! Keep standing like this. Stomach in, chest out. Yes, that’s OK. … And more of your profile. Very nice. Say cheese! … Come on, give me a smile. … Put a smile on your face, darling. Yes, that’s good. And 3, 2,1, zack! Her facial muscles shaking after his camera let her be. The jerky sinking of the frantic strained corners of her mouth. Her eyes’ crow’s feet continuing to simulate a forced smile as if their reaction time was retarded. Or, they wanted to distract the attention from the gaffe around her mouth, untill he turned around and looked for a new background she can take up a stand in front of, as an eye-catcher. Between the shoots there was no need to hide, as all parts of her face wanted to surrender to gravity. She let it go without restraint.
Take up a stand beside the child and talk to it. … Don’t make such a fuss! … OK, that’s fine. And … zap! Good, that’s in the can. „Encouter with natives“, that’s how I’ll call the picture. He wanted to kiss her, which she did not like and turned her head away from him. His wet lips on her cheek, while his mouth talked itself away. Hungary, summer 1962. At lake Balaton were only a few tourists. Tired waves slapped against the beach.
The holiday estate looked like a façade. When she approached the bungalows made of chipboard she was always afraid they could collapse. The staff had done their job and talked little. Both of them did not speak either. They got to know a couple from Dresden. Their talks circulated around the meal and the weather. He worked at the local state administration. She was a Russian language teacher and the leader of the Communist Youth at her school. A sticky trap shut. She tried to avoid meeting them and crept into her room, when their self-righteous voices went for a walk around the bungalows.
He excused her several times because of indisposition. – Are you pregnant? the couple from Dresden curiously asked her once, when they were on a boat trip and she stared into space. She gave them the reason they looked for and said Yes. Lean against the railing, darling, legs loose. Come on, relax. … Good. And now put up the ball in front of your chest. … No, that’s too high. … Yes, good. Stay like that. The position is perfect. Say cheese. Cheese please, cheese.
Her, under the control of the camera: Stiff from the feet to the hips, itching at the torso – The swimsuit could be more provocative! – sweat trickled from under the swimming cap. When he pressed the ball into her hands, her head wanted to send a jolt into her arms, but it remained a reflex strangled at birth: Pushing him into the lukewarm water and staring at him with her gravity face while he came up gulping for air. And then – Wanna fight your way out, um? – her, the camera under control: Unscrupulously aiming at his ruffled forehead, the biting flashes in his eyes and his line-shaped mouth searching for a swear word – You bitch! – and … cut:
The film is not full yet, darling. Just look out of the window, so we have an impression of how nice our bungalow is. I’ll also take a picture of our room. Take away the dirty towels on the bed! His shiny surfaces against her shady missed opportunities. Memories without past dozing in her mind. Back home, when he doggedly sorted out the pictures she had made during their holidays – You just cannot handle a camera, my dear. It’s a shame about the money! – and later withheld them from the Schröders during their joint slide show evening, she long since had vanished from the field of view without trace.
The slides were found on the street.