The Bridge Snap: A Flash of Romance by Tyrean Martinson

Elayn crouched in the bushes by the river, waiting. The cool morning air prickled her arms, but her hands were covered in nervous sweat, and her glasses kept slipping down her nose. Would he come? And, did she really want him to?
The Bridge Snap: A Flash of Romance
The Bridge Snap: A Flash of Romance by Tyrean Martinson
The sun blazed over the tops of the weeping willows that covered the bridge in shade. Birds chirped and trilled. Bicycles whirred past on the path behind her hiding place, and then a few moments later, they blurred by on the bridge in a riot of colorful spandex. Elayn bit her lip and pulled out her phone. 5:58a.m. on June 21st. The longest two minutes of time, on the longest day of the year. Elayn shook her head at her own ironic melodrama. He probably wouldn’t come. The bridge stood empty, a perfect picture in the summer sun, water rolling and cascading through the archways underneath it. Elayn wished she had taken a picture of those bicyclists. She reached blindly into her messenger bag, and pulled out her camera. She framed the bridge, and snapped, then snapped again, changing angles and focus to catch the glint of sunlight on the water, or the shadows under the trees. A young man appeared at the edge of the frame, walking onto the bridge and into her picture. For a moment, Elayn’s fingers tightened in frustration. He was in her way. Then, she realized who he must be. She had almost forgotten everything for the snap of the moment. She zoomed her camera in on his face, which looked just like his blog picture. Curly, messy hair framed his angular face. His eyes, startlingly blue under that mop of dark hair, were accentuated by his rectangular glasses. She snapped the shot, then closed the camera and put it away. She wasn’t sweating anymore, but she had to move now before she lost her nerve again. She stood up. He waved to her. He had seen her taking his picture! Startled, she stepped back, tripped over a tree root, and went down in a crash backwards, her feet coming up like some kind of clown character in a bad movie. Angry, embarrassed heat coursed through her, and tears pricked her eyes. She felt like an idiot. What had she been thinking, setting up a date with a guy she didn’t know? He probably thought she was some kind of clumsy, geeky stalker with no life! She sighed. If he thought that, he would be partly right. She swiped away the drops of wetness from her eyes, and stood up, dusting the dirt from her jeans. The bridge was empty again. No surprise there. Hoisting her messenger bag on her shoulder, she turned to get back on the cement trail that ran the length of the river. Jogging footsteps came from the bend that curved toward the bridge. It was him. He came around the bend, saw her, and slowed to a walk. “Are you all right, Elayn?” he asked, concern tingeing his voice. “Yes,” she said, feeling her face flush with heat again, “nothing injured except my pride.” Elayn stood where she was off the path, feeling disheveled, but happy that he was here. He had come not only the bridge, but to her rescue, sort of. “I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, “but as soon as I saw you over there taking snaps, I knew it had to be you. Then you stood up, and it was you.” His cheeks reddened slightly, and he looked away for a moment towards the bridge. “That’s a nice place to take a picture from. Great lighting and angle. I have a tough time capturing things exactly at the right angle.” “Your pictures are amazing,” Elayn said quickly, and then she looked away, feeling too much gush. “Thanks, but yours look more natural, where mine are such a lot of work to find the right angle, and the right light.” He smiled encouragingly at her. “I just keep taking snaps, from different angles, different times of day, trying to capture the feeling. Sometimes I get pics I love, but even those don’t always capture what I was trying to say at the time I was taking them,” Elayn said, warming up to the subject. “I know what you mean. It sounds like such an awesome thing, to capture the moment with a photo, to get a picture worth a thousand words,” he said with some longing on his face. “Or more,” she said. “A thousand words don’t seem like enough.” “It depends on the words, or the picture, I suppose,” he said, gazing at her. “Would you stand on the bridge while I took your picture from here?” “Me?” she said. “I don’t usually get on the other end of the camera.” “You took my picture,” he said, pushing one of his curls away from his face. Elayn felt herself blushing again, and she twisted the messenger bag’s strap in her right hand. “All right,” she said, shrugging. A few minutes later, she stood self-consciously on the bride, not sure if she should smile, or pose, or just stare into the distance. She ended up looking down at the water, and then gazing at the stones further downstream, where the water sprayed up as the banks narrowed. A few minutes later, he joined her, leaning on the stones next to her. “Want to see my favorite places to shoot, or show me yours?” He nudged her shoulder with his. Elayn nudged him back. “Mine first,” she said. As they started to walk away from the bridge, he took her hand. She laced her fingers in his, and wished she could hold this moment forever. It felt like a picture worth more than a thousand words.

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