On Valerie Hendon

I met a wizard on the corner of an unassuming street in the middle of a bustling city. It was right in front of her glass-paned studio—what passed for her wizard’s tower—as I exited a trolley, one that had turned in a direction I didn’t wish to take. I should say, rather, that I met a blinding flash of light and, just after, my past self.

Let me fast forward.

Glancing over my shoulder, I witnessed a frozen moment in time. It was a black and white version of the second I had stepped off that trolley, my foot just touching the sidewalk, my expression thoughtful. All had gone quiet. When I turned back, she was just lowering a sleek camera from in front of her face, revealing a rosy grin and keen eyes.

“*There* you are,” she said to me. Or, maybe, to the snapshot behind me.

Blinking, I asked, “Have we met?”

“We will,” she replied.

Through the windows behind her, I could see many such moments of stopped time, all lovingly arranged in cute frames along the studio walls. Shadowy patrons stood about admiring them. Somehow there was mine, too, though I had missed the moment of its appearance.

When I focused back on the present, the mysterious photographer had gone, as had her studio. Traffic roared by the empty corner, forever leaving me behind. Scratching my head, I made my way alongside the street, recalling then that I had a future appointment with a time wizard.

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