She walks in flowers: a swirl of spring perfumes, the soft flutter of pale petals. A gentle season walks with her scattering broom, meadowsweet, and oak blossom in its wake. She is beauty. She is love. But pure beauty can be callous and love embraces shadow as well as light.
Alan grabbed his camera and ran out into the bright sunshine of an unnaturally mild spring morning. Every year he tried to photograph the cherry blossom, really tried to capture its fleeting and fragile beauty, the fresh air no-scent of the blooms, the pink cloud mass of blossoms that looked like it should feel like silk candyfloss. He loved it, adored it, was obsessed by it, but could never do it justice. Every year, however, he tried.
He was taking photographs of the trees in the park when he saw her: slim on the cusp of frail, a delicate heart-shaped face, apple blossom skin and angel blond hair – his dream girl. She didn’t look old enough to be labeled a woman. She was standing, head thrown back, arms raised, innocently immersing herself in the beauty of the blossom. She immediately became his new obsession.
He took photographs with her in them, surreptitiously took photographs of her, followed her discreetly and eventually worked out where she lived. Now he could watch and photograph her at will. For a while it was enough, but only for a while.
Her beauty is timeless, as is she. She has existed since Mother Nature births her in a flurry of flowers, feathers, and blood, as humankind first experiences something they will later know as emotion. She is ephemeral as cherry blossom and as lasting as death. Rumours of her stalk pre-history and more recent millennia, emerging as myth and legend and fireside tales told when the night is dark. She is love and passion. She is loss. She is betrayal and hate and vengeance. She is a frenzy of flowers and contradictory emotions, the softness of feathers, the terror of beak and claws and, because she is born of nature, her soul is veined red.
The photographs of the girl, Alan still did not know her name, were all over his flat. They were good, but they were not enough. She was like the cherry blossom. The pictures were pretty and, in the case of the girl, arousing, but they did not capture the truth of the subject. The photos of the girl did not do justice to her beauty, delicacy, and vitality. He needed something more.
Alan hung around outside her house, discreetly, of course. He didn’t want her noticing him. Not yet, anyway. He didn’t know how long he’d have to wait, but most mornings she went for a run, often just to the park and back, but sometimes she took a longer run in the direction of the downs. He hadn’t followed her on the longer run, but he’d watched her head off. This morning she came down the front steps of her house and headed towards the park. She was dressed in black lycra running shorts and a pale, tight-fitting pink vest top. He took it as a positive sign. Pink was his favourite colour.