It was different – not out of focus, not over-compressed, not chopped off – the person was looking at the camera, directly at the camera, wearing glasses and smiling. The picture looked well lit and posed, the subject had no dark pinch marks from tightly-fitting underwear. I think that the photographer was a professional.
The person was wearing next to nothing – like most of the others on that website – but I won't elaborate. Imagine someone you really like, male or female, someone you are really attracted to. And that person looking directly at you, wearing glasses and smiling. Wouldn't you like to meet that person?
But how, that person could be anywhere on the planet in the internet. But I had two clues: the electric wall socket in the picture and, less obviously, some text in the picture file that I downloaded: Clarke Photographic
The socket and the furniture in the picture probably meant Britain: type G mainly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Malaysia & Singapore according to international plug and socket types.
I had some spare time on my last trip to England, I had already made a list of four Clarke Photographics via the internet and printed out several copies of the picture head-only.
In the first town I tried nobody recognised the face in the picture, just one man said that he had seen her, but in another town on the coast.
I tried it. Clarke Photographic? Laughter. “They've been closed for years.” However several people recognised the face. “I think she lives in the street parallel to the seafront.”
I knocked on the first door. “I was going to ask you if you recognise this face.” It was her. I explained that I had found her face wonderful in the internet and had come to England to find her. I mentioned the electrical socket and Clarke Photographic, but not the rest of the picture.
“You had better come in.” She looked better than in the picture – I was entranced. “I think I can remember this picture. My son-in-law, ex-son-in-law now, persuaded me to sit for photos here in this room, with lots of lights and a big camera on a tripod. He had a small photographic business, you know, passport pictures, picture framing, weddings pics and so on. It closed and he left town and left my daughter too. I never saw the pictures.”
I had to show her the full picture. “Well, I must say, I look pretty good, even if I'm not wearing much, next to nothing really. I'm not ashamed of it, though I wouldn’t like the neighbours to see it. And you're telling me, you've come all this way and spent so much time trying to find me just because you liked a face in a picture. I don't believe it.”
“But it's the truth.” I told her the story of my life. She told me hers – she lived alone. “I'm inviting you to dinner. You must know somewhere really good...” “Oh yes, in the next town, the Grand Royal.” I kissed her on the end of her nose.
“No, no! Get in on the other side. The steering wheel is on the left.” The meal was good, I persuaded her to swap plates halfway through. We went for a walk on the prom and watched the sun sink into the sea.
She made two mugs of cocoa and we sat on the sofa in the room where the photo had been taken. I may have kissed her, I can't remember. I don't remember much. We woke the next morning on the sofa, she slumped on me. We were both fully clothed.
“After breakfast we're going to Splash Point.” The sun shone, we walked in no hurry to the end of the promenade, the sea splashed over the rocks. “You should see it in a storm, the sea splashes halfway up the cliffs.”
Back on the sofa she studied the whole picture for several minutes. She pointed at the picture, at a specific part of the picture, and stared at me. “You want me to...” “Yes, I do.” So I did.
“Hubby never wanted to do what you are doing now, but he's gone now and I must say I like it. Keep at it.”
I must say that I liked it too. But who was Hubby, was it short for Hubert? However I couldn't ask, I couldn't speak.
“I like you, I really like you. I think that you like me, you liked my picture, but you like me more. I am persuaded that you like me.”