That Picture 

Facebook memories recently offered up a memory from a year ago when I changed my profile picture. It was the photo I had till my return to Facebook a month or so ago, the one I had on Tinder. I shared it and said I had so many memories associated with it. Here are some of them. 

That photo was taken without my knowledge. You can tell if you know me. I dislike photos with a passion but it candidly captured a moment of joy. A friend commented and said I looked really happy in the picture. She knows me. 

It was taken at the World’s Loudest Library (WLL), a monthly event I used to attend that featured a book exchange, music, and assorted mood-altering substances. All good fun. I’m at my happiest among books and lovers of books so it’s no surprise that my face is alight. 

I was dating a man then. The person I was then thought we were a good enough fit. Yet when I look at that picture the enduring sensation is the freedom I felt being there – away from him. We lived together and he came by later that night to pick me up. There are no photos I can find from the time he arrives. 

This informs the other dominant memory: the cycle of relationships I didn’t even realise were unhappy. The feeling that grips me every time I see that picture – look how happy you were to be away from your  boyfriend. 

A lot of the things captured in the photo are now past. I haven’t been to WLL in a while; I’m rarely out after 7pm. I don’t even know if it’s held these days. I gave away the hoodie I’m wearing soon after; it was a gift from a person I no longer speak to. I will be single this one year on Thursday – I broke up with a person I dated for slightly over a year and I’m still recovering from the abuse that marked that relationship. 

The picture marks a moment of joy. One I wish I would inhabit more often – unfettered, true, consuming. I work now to take myself there, to stop and look at myself and say: look at that carefree Black girl.