“Don’t move, it’s the right light. “She heard a voice saying. Then she heard the rapid successive clicking of a photographic shutter closing rapidly.
A young man in his mid thirties faced her. He had a couple of 35mm. SLR cameras hanging from his neck and a light meter secured around his right wrist. ‘Don’t go away. Order another drink on my account. I’ll be busy for fifteen minutes capturing the real essence of The Rocks. I’ll be back for you. I’ll buy lunch and we can talk for a while.’
That man is presumptuous. How dare he be so sure of himself? Dolores thought. He didn’t even wait for my answer. He is so confident, giving orders. He is so bloody arrogant, taking me for granted!But inside her she was confused, expectant and curious. She had the desire to know him better.
The waitress, who saw and heard it, came to Dolores’ rescue, ‘He is one of the most popular photographers in Sydney. From time to time, he comes to The Rocks and I’ve heard he’s famous. He will be back. He always does, so you can order your drink without fear.’
As promised, he came back. He had an athletic figure, was well tanned, wearing fatigue clothes. He had long curly hair and was no more then thirty-five.
He may be famous, but he doesn’t look rich, but then again, I can’t tell from the way he dresses. His long hair certainly makes him look shabby. But again, from my experience at The Brazil, I know that not all rich men are necessarily well dressed.
He came to Dolores’ table with a smile, ‘Another drink?’ And to the waitress who was attending the tables, ‘Please two more large cokes with plenty of ice.’ Again, he smiled back captivatingly. ‘I couldn’t stop before, the sun was at the right zenith for the shots I was taking, or else I would have missed out and I wouldn’t have caught the deep shades of those old buildings. I’m Thomas Mc Gill, and thank you for letting me take some photos of you. I saw a special light in you that people rarely have, and I had to capture it.’
Dolores wanted to tell him that he hadn’t asked permission before taking those shots, and again asked herself, what kind of light was he talking about? Is he talking about the sunlight? I definitely sat in the shade the whole time.
But she didn’t want to let him know her ignorance on photographic matters. She would get a book at the library and learn more about it.
Thomas was studying her. He raised his hands and with thumbs and index fingers formed an imaginary frame and looked at her through it. ‘You are quite attractive and you have an exotic look. I’ll take more photos of you later at Circular Quay. From there, I’ll have the city and the harbour background. Within an hour the afternoon will offer shadows with reflections in the water.’
Dolores again was taken by his arrogance and presumption. He talked in a matter of way, presuming she had already accepted. How dare he? He didn’t even know her name and was talking in a way that suggested he wasn’t expecting a refusal from her. She was ready to tell him that. Then she realised that this was the first time, since she had arrived in Sydney, that a man had shown this kind of interest in her. She couldn’t deny the fact that in many ways she liked him. It was most likely that within the hour they would separate and never see each other again. Perhaps she was wrong. Perhaps she could have a change…
‘Are you asking me to pose for you, Thomas? I will do it only on one condition. I want a copy of the photos.’
‘Sure. It’s a deal. Give me your phone number and we can meet again one day next week before I leave for Japan.’
‘How long will you stay in Japan? I’m going back to Rio within six months.’
‘I didn’t ask before, but I thought you were Brazilian. Unmistakably your looks reveal it. But where do you work? I have the impression that we have crossed paths before’
‘I’m working in a night club in town.’
He looked back to Dolores, trying to remember. ‘Yes of course, I saw you at The Brazil. It’s quite an expensive place.’
‘I know what you mean and what you are thinking. Yes, you are right in your guess. I’m a hostess at The Brazil. I need the money to buy my future in Brazil.’
He looked straight into Dolores’ eyes, ‘You are not a lesser person because of that. Many reasons could have taken you onto that path, and it is not for me to judge. I can only tell you that when I approached you, I saw your inner light. I saw in you strength, courage, and the will to win. I saw the one in you, when you were still young and others compelled you to do things that you didn’t want to do. That’s what I tried to capture in my photographs. I don’t blame or condemn you for what you are. For me you are only the woman that I see through the lens of my camera and try to capture what my imagination sees in your intimate being. I hope you understand what I mean.’
‘You don’t need to be apologetic with me, Thomas. I am what I am and nobody has forced me into this profession. I chose it freely, but not cynically. I’m doing it only for the money I can get out of it. Yes, I’m a hostess. I choose to be one, not for carnal desires but only for the money in it. That money will buy a new life, a new future when I’ll get back to Rio. No matter what I am now, when I’ll return to Brazil I’ll again be an honourable woman. The money I’m saving now will be to create my future, my family and my life. I know, this is a boring life, night after night, moving from man to man, without love or a future. In fact it is a miserable life, I have to admit, but then it isn’t forever. I put a time to it. It’s five more months and I will be myself again. It doesn’t matter what I do in life, because on the outside I still look exactly the same. Do I make myself clear, Thomas?’
‘Yes, sex is a boring life.’ Thomas concluded, and silence followed his statement.
It seemed to Dolores that they had reached the end of their conversation. Pity she thought, I know he cannot be my man and he would never look at me in that way. I haven’t anything good to offer him. I am nothing but a prostitute and he has in his life, fame, money and respect from his peers. There couldn’t possibly be a future for us. Dolores looked at her watch, ‘Soon it will time for me to go. But could you tell me why you said sex is boring? You are young, healthy and most likely rich. I presume your profession pays good money, and many women, I’m sure, are interested in you. So why did you come to The Brazil chasing prostitutes?’
‘Yes, I have been there and I took one of your colleagues out. It was on one of those occasions that I noticed you. I went there not because I have problems in finding a woman. There are many of them that always want to share my bed and are prepared to declare their love for me. The problem is with me.
Dolores felt some jealousy for this handsome man, but knew she would not be able to hold him. She had to find out what was wrong in his hidden ego. It was inconceivable to her that a young man couldn’t love a woman and be capable of holding her. What was wrong?
She said, ‘I have spoken openly about me and my life. You also read deeply into my soul and you possibly know me better than I do. On the contrary, I don’t know anything about you. The only Thing I know is that you are a photographer. Why don’t you talk frankly to me and let me understand you better? Honestly, I can’t figure out the reasons for your disinterest in making love to a woman. Is it a physical problem?’
‘No. That’s part of me. I don’t have any particular interest in sex and I seldom make love twice with the same woman. Why don’t we take a stroll? It’s such a beautiful afternoon and I’d like to walk down to the Opera House. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee there.’
They wandered down from The Rocks all the way to Circular Quay. Ferryboats were loading crossing passengers over to the North shore. Many people who had finished their day’s work were ready to go home. At the same time, others were entering the city for their afternoon shift.
Sydney, like many other metropolises around the world, never rests. People are always on the run and it seems like they are running out of time. Husbands and wives hardly had time to share their lives, harassed by the chaotic city lifestyle. Dolores could understand why so many marriages broke up.
She enjoyed the long walk with Thomas. She felt the pleasure of having a man at her side. He wasn’t her lover, but you never knew what destiny held for the future. She knew that some chemistry was starting to develop between them, even if others things were conspiring against it.
What was Thomas’ problem? She had to find out. She had learned how to heal people having psychological problems. Many men had come to her with bundles of personal worries, about family, lovers or work. She had always been able to restore their confidence, so why not Thomas? If only he would talk. The rest would roll out easily and she would be able to find the cure for his disinterest in women. She recognized her talents in this particular area and she knew it was worth a try.
Doing it possibly she would break into his heart, and that was her greatest wish at that moment.
She knew that her goal in those days was to earn the money necessary to return to Brazil, but she felt the sense on loneliness and she needed a friend, if not a lover, who would care for her. She knew that the time had come for a man to enter her life. She needed someone to love and be loved. Was that too premature? Was it an evanescent dream without a beginning or an end? But then, even dreams, many times can become real.
* * *
End part 2