Summary: ALL – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia; the most common childhood cancer. Daffodil: genus Narcissus; means rebirth, happiness and new beginnings.
Luke: the one who was born to shine and become an inspiration to the world.
Cody: the girl who takes photos and captures people's lives... in her own way.
Portrait with a Daffodil
I got my very first camera at the age of nine. Even at this age, that might still be a bit too young to be handed such a valuable – or as others prefer, such an expensive – piece of technology. Digital cameras were just coming out so despite the small screen, 2 inches diagonally across, compared to today, it was quite a piece of treasure. Why was I, who was less than a decade old, given something that might have seemed so fancy (and yes, I was on the receiving end of quite a number of envious glares) to other kids my age could only dream of even holding? Simple.
My parents dragged me to the opposite side of the world without telling me until two weeks before I had to get on the plane that would take me away from the only home I knew.
Although I have to admit that the camera did appease my young self – I wouldn't touch it without cleaning my hands first for the first three months from when I got it – I was still upset and very scared. Upset because I had to leave my very close friends (but of course, us being nine and all, we lost touch and I probably wouldn't recognize any of them anymore) behind and scared because I was, most obviously, suddenly thrown into a new environment. The difference in accent did not help much and it took me almost a year to finally get used to the accent. In fact, I have the accent myself now.
That camera (a Canon IXUS by the way) was my consolation for the first few months when I was finding it very difficult to make friends.
I am, by no means, a professional. Seriously, I just aim and click. I don't even know how a camera works. In the digital age, I just take the shots, go to the computer, do a bit of editing and cropping here and there... then I press "print". Simple. No hassle.
I take photos of everything but I love taking photos of people the most. I don't choose based on looks though but on expression, whether they are joy, melancholy or annoyance – it doesn't matter. Of course, I've been told a few times that a lot of people probably think it's rude if I just take their photo without asking. But I found that most people think I'm harmless by how I look (it seems being 5'8", huggable and wide-eyed is considered "harmless"). What do I do with the photos? I have them all printed out and in various photo albums. Each photo album represents a particular expression or emotion. These photo albums are always a source of comfort for me. Whenever I feel sad, I look at the album that shows happy faces. When I feel mad, I look at the albums that feature silliness and I just laugh. Whenever I felt as though the world is against me, I look at the album that show sadness and I end up being thankful for what I still have. They always make me feel better and I treasure each album greatly.
As for my parents, I don't know if they're still trying to make up for the moving without the telling me but they have always encouraged my fascination with taking photographs. I now have two cameras: a more updated version of a Canon IXUS and a Canon PowerShot.
So where am I getting at?
As with all stories, one day, I decided to go to our local park. It was 3:30 in the afternoon on a weekend – it was a time and day when many families would go to the park and spend the afternoon there. I found out early on that I also love taking photos of children – and that children love getting their photos taken.
I mostly recognize the people who go to the park and most of the regulars know me by name. In fact, they were so used to me that they would sometimes ask me to take their photos and send it to them via email. I've even shown some of them some of my albums. Although I love the regulars, I would also be quickly curious with any new face I see. That day, as I was sitting on the park bench, someone new arrived.
The first one I noticed was the dog (an adorable Collie-cross). We have a dog actually – a very intelligent and mischievous Border Collie x Kelpie named Swift. He's a hyperactive thing who does not know the existence of "rest" despite all his intelligence. He's the most charming dog anyone could ever meet though and I love him to pieces. As I eyed the dog, I felt mild regret that I did not bring Swift with me since he was the most sociable dog I know and would love a new playmate.
The dog suddenly looked back and whined. Wondering why it had that reaction, I finally brought my attention to the dog's master.
I actually, unexpectedly – and quite embarrassingly – gasped before grabbing my camera and holding in front of my face, my finger furiously pressing down on the zoom button.
It was a guy my age with brown hair and eyes. He wasn't tall and was possibly even shorter than me. He was lean though and from what I could see, fit. Although his appearance was not out of the ordinary, he could still probably turn a number of girls' heads. But it wasn't my female hormones that made me – ahem – gawk at him.
It was the reason the dog had returned to his side to whine before sitting patiently at his feet. He had a faraway look - as though he could see something beyond the slowly setting sun. To me, his expression was absolutely – as the gasp proved – breathtaking. I could not stop with just one shot.
As though he finally realized that he had attracted someone's attention other than his dog, he turned his head and to my great surprise (actually, I was a bit shocked), his eyes pierced right through me. His expression was so strong that I actually leaned back as my right foot involuntarily took a step back even though I was sitting. My fingers had also slackened, causing my camera to slip. Panicking, I quickly tightened my grip and tightly brought my thighs together in case the camera did fall. But that caused me to break eye contact with him. As I was looking down at my camera, that was when it hit me...
A guy just caught me staring at him!
What was worse was that he also saw me taking a photo of him!
It might seem stupid but I have NEVER taken a photo of a guy my age. Why? Because it could be taken the wrong way! They could think that I like them – or worse, that I'm stalking them!
I began feeling all hot and I could just feel my whole body go a flaming red. In utter humiliation, I stood up and walked really quickly – or I think they call it jogging in some parts of the world (sarcasm dripping?) – out of the park. That probably made it seem even worse for the guy. He probably saw me as a guilty, perverted hormonal teenager who wants nothing more than to get in his pants...
If I wasn't glowing tomato red yet, then I would be shocked.
Without saying, as soon as I got home, I stormed to my room, threw myself on my bed, buried my face in my pillow and screamed. Then as soon as I finished screaming to my heart's content, I grabbed my camera to look through his photos.
They were so beautiful but the mortification still wasn't completely gone.
So it was no wonder that I did not go to that particular park for a while. Two weeks had gone and I was almost starting to get on with my life and photography.
...Then I got that call...
A/N: I know that my readers probably thought it was going to be a new instalment of A Fine Line Between Hate and Love but inspiration struck me today! What is today? Today is Daffodil Day! For those who do not know what Daffodil Day is, it's one of the biggest cancer fundraising campaigns in the world. As someone who has a very close and beloved relative who's had cancer, cancer is something that – I won't say something I'm completely passionate about... but it is something that I do often think about. But for those of you who do not like reading very serious stories, this won't be a story filled with angst and drama. It will be like the daffodil represents: a story of joy and celebration and, of course, love.