the foot: part I | love story VIII

It began almost a year ago. It was an effort, not to dwell in the past, but to celebrate where we’ve been, what we’ve been through. It was a way to share with the world a piece of who we are, and how we came to be.

I’m a self-proclaimed cynic… at least I was until he came along.

If this is your first time here, take a look at this page if you’d like to catch up on the previous stories.

After writing out this installment of our story, I decided it was best delivered in two parts. This is part I. Complicated, but stick with me. I like to call this one “The Foot”, mainly because it sounds sort of ominous. Just wait and see…


I had two tattoos already, but this one was just so pretty. It was the word “light” written in Arabic, and had a deeply personal significance for me. Ask me about it some time.

I made myself a deal. Final Portfolio was coming up at Hallmark. Yes. It Has To Be Capitalized. It was that big of a deal. Pass or Fail. That’s it. Either you’re gonna make it, or you’re gonna tank it in the photo industry. After 10 months of working our tails off, this is what it came down to.

Pass? I’d get the tattoo. Fail? No tattoo. Ever optimistic, I made an appointment for the day after my review. Review. That word should be capitalized, too. I was terrified. Don’t get me wrong, I was confident in my work. I knew I had done the best I could. But just the thought of waiting, waiting for my portfolio to show up on that huge screen…

One photo at a time, it would play through, while the voice in your head nags you relentlessly about everything you could have done differently. Then, the pause. Oh, the dreadful pause. Your name is called. You stand up, legs shaking, palms sweating, eyes crossing, heart pounding in your ears, not sure you’ll even make it onto the stage.

I did make it. There I sat, facing my firing squad—er, portfolio panel, silence screaming in my ears. What came next? One of two things.

“Portfolio Accepted.” or, heaven forbid, “Portfolio Not Accepted.”

Simple as that. My entire future hung in the balance, wholly dependant on a verdict from four perfect strangers deemed worthy enough to bless or condemn me.

I passed.

The rest of the review went by in a blur. I was barely aware of the comments and criticisms made. They were helpful, I’m sure, and here’s hoping my subconscious held on to a few of them. What mattered is that I made it. I was good enough to be called a “professional photographer.” 

Drew and I had fought spectacularly over something trivial the night before. We hadn’t spoken yet that day. I was in a major funk, and had thoroughly convinced myself that I was terrible at relationships. In fact, I was pretty positive that I should be kept away from all other humans. Not having him there when my portfolio came up felt something akin to stabbing a fresh wound with a rusty fork.

But wait. He was there, in the back of the room, quietly supporting me. I just didn’t know it until later in the day.

We made up, we celebrated. I got the tattoo. And then it happened.

'Til next time.


[For the record, Drew passed his portfolio, as well. It just happened a few days later.]

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