What do you see when you study the girl in the photo?

The girl may or may not know she is poor and either way may not take much stock in identifying herself in that way at such an age. She appears to be filthy yet it’s possible the sun has burned her skin and that what appears to be dirt isn’t. Maybe her hair is clean and she’s run into a Bougainvillea leaving the evidence behind in her bangs. The background suggests she is in the slums but maybe she is at the dump with a guardian who is dropping off old furniture. The yellowing in her eyes suggests she may have jaundice or suffer some other type of malnourishment but the photographer may have positioned his lighting to give this impression. It is difficult to tell if she is eating a protein bar or something more akin to half a Twix because her lips can be described as either a smile or grimace.

In this photo her eyes remind me of Princess Diana. If there were nothing else to look at I might think she is shy and has a hunger for food and something more than food but I wouldn’t think more than this.

The restaurant opened at 11:00am and my meeting was at 11:30am. I’d guessed correctly that they’d arrived before me based on the vanity plates on the car I’d chosen to park next to. As the waitress led me to their table I glanced around quickly and noted they were the only patrons in attendance.

They glanced at one another, an imperceptible millisecond, the glance you give your partner when you question what you see but don’t want it to be obvious except to me it was obvious. I smiled then put out my hand to introduce myself to him first. He stood then paused before reaching out to repeat my name as I nodded in confirmation but still he wasn’t sure so he repeated my entire name and my smile broadened as I said, “Yes”.

“The name is Bond, James Bond,” was the silent thought that widened my smile and had me near laughter before I’d even taken a seat. After working with me unseen for a while this is a common reaction to meeting me the first time. There are no childhood photos that precede me so the picture people most often form of me is based on my work and voice. Though I receive money for my work I pay for life in the currency of emotion.

I prefer it this way because I am the girl in the photo