|THE LITTLE BOY by Agnes Yu Hsin Su|
My mother was called Agnes - Geraldine Agnes Andrews. It is an old-fashioned name. When I met Agnes Yu Hsin Su, she did not appear to be part of the present. She was of a different time. A different place. In fact, I wonder if all that took place on that day did happen or did I fall asleep in the long grass and dream it? I met her for the first time on the concours at Brighton Railway Station. She was looking around, like me, awkwardly. We both raised a hand in acknowledgement and we came together and, as we greeted each other with a formal handshake, we were at one.
We drove to the Seven Sisters Country Park on the other side of Seaford. Oh, what memories. I had been to Seaford many times before - for the Hoffman Process and before that, to visit my younger sister at her new home which she shared with her new husband, a man with a mission which, unfortunately, did not include my sister. We left the car under some trees and crossed the busy road into the park. The sea and the cliffs were some way off but Agnes began to look for some long grass. We had been talking to each other since Brighton; two people who had not met before and who were unlikely to meet again locked in a conversational embrace which now and again included the serene silence of friendship.
We stopped alongside a large open area next to the path and she asked me to lie on my back at first and then on my side and then to close my eyes and allow myself to drift away in thought and deed. She went up on to the hill above me and the sound of her feet brushing the grass faded as she moved further away or was I falling asleep? I heard the other visitors strolling by, their chat and laughter muted as if they were in another room. Then, click, beside me. Agnes had come back or maybe she had never gone away. I opened an eye and through the fresh green stalks of meadow grass, I saw her kneeling very close, looking at me intently. It was one of the few times that I would have liked to photograph my photographer. I closed my eye and I felt her circle my body.
I was drifting into slumber when she asked me to stand up.
The wind was brisk and Agnes was fascinated by the sea foam which was blowing on to the bank of the inlet which snaked into the park - it looked like a special effect in an old and not very good British film with a small snow budget. I feared Agnes was going to ask me to lie in it but she merely asked me to stand near it for the final shots. She was satisfied with what she had got and, although she had also intended to photograph me inside a favourite cafe, we both knew that we had some good photographs and, anyway, it was getting close to the time by which she had to return to London. We bought some ice creams and ate them before crossing the road to the car. We arrived in Brighton and we hugged goodbye like brothers, brothers in arms, and then she turned to walk into the station and I turned towards my car.
Had it happened? It must have done because who could have taken these beautiful pictures?
No-one but Agnes.