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  • Writer's pictureTuananh

West Palm Beach

September 13, 2010

As native as I think I am to the world of Leica, it comes to show that my arrogance distant me than proximate me. Splashed on my screen in bold was Leixpo. Leixpo? Could this be a curse by the German gods as a punishment to shame me for my mortal ignorance? Whether it be a store within a store, store outside a store, or a store of any store that badged the crimson red; it surely could not have passed me. Ignorance is not bliss after all. With jaw to the floor, eyes affixed, fingers guiding each written detail on the page, I was overwhelmed by its ironic proximity. Perhaps the gods have pardoned my arrogance this slight time earned through the many lifetimes of loyalty.

As I wielded through the maze of boxes that will soon take me home, I am blessed to welcome a sweet goodbye and not a bitter one. But before my departure, there is one last adventure to embark. Not some scenic rendezvous nor sweeping concoction of perfectly framed images, rather it was a homage home to meet a friend’s family of elves. How can anyone get any shuteye with the sort of excitement that fails to refrain any child of St. Nick – for once the night was too short.

With the Miami skyline in the rearview, I skipped to the beat that only Darius can set, an old friend returning to his roots. Swerving through the turnpikes, Sunpool, and “whirlpool” of defensive driving, a condition pertaining to all those non-descendants of a little island ninety miles southward, I finally rolled into the quaint village of West Palm Beach. Right. Left. Over. Back. Forward. And there I was, my feet touching the holy land itself; it was fate that had brought me on this mecca and nothing less. Giddy as school girl I stomped into the Photographic Centre with eyes wide opened, humbly rushing through the short Raymond Gehman gallery and exhibits held by local gifted servants of the lightbox, finally, I had arrived. My composure had quit somewhere between my bed and the front door, but in all humility with my piece hung proudly against my sternum, I paced into the world of black & red. Welcomed by an alluring host, I gripped the heirlooms that lied behind each glass panel with much respect. Each meticulous line and corner, the sharp but silent shutters, and the love that comes into crafting this ensemble was simply, perfection. Endearing conversations with the agents in their cloaked uniform with the slew of stories from both ends made the setting on par. With a few written words and a new outfit with a cap, it was time for a stroll around town.

With my belly grumbling up and down Clematis Street, I stumbled into a “reef” that lived a welcoming bartender. With puffer fishes as bar lamps and the week’s nightly schedule chalked onto side wall, I was ensured that my Long Island ice tea was not mistaken for some neighboring Connecticut or Jersey shorelines, but definitely from it hometown. A brief lecture from the man behind the bar led me to the nearest trolley station; there I was invited aboard a classic wooden paneled box by a white bearded conductor who “silently” narrated his way around town. From the town square to the amphitheatre that hid in the outskirts of town, I hopped off soon after then journeyed by foot to the water’s edge. Adorable swings overlaid the skyline backdrop, with short docks that extended into the narrow harbor edge. The mood was pleasant and I pushed on. In the corner of my eye stood a solid Navajo warrior, now set as a degrading bouncer for the local cigar shop. A narrow alley way with its web of wires, fencing, and steel fixtures reminded me that like any city, the glamour is only a false front to the slum that lies within. With that in mind, would you blame me for consolidating in some chocolate ice cream and a quick stop at the local convent? On my way to find Mr. Flagler’s place, I was sidetracked into a beautiful coastal niche that was lined by the soft Bermuda sand. Pressing my body against the soft sandy sheets with His Highness’ rays dancing on my flesh, I felt a moment of peace – with life, faith, and myself. It comes to show that meager short adventures come no less than the grandeur of foreign lands, for it is the treasures that lie within which will be spared in the course of a life.

~West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach

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