Friday, March 5, 2010

Seeing Pablo

I know my son Pablo very well. Do I have to say I knew him? I am not capable of saying that today, so bear with me. I will continue speaking about Pablo in the present tense, because he is with me all the time, everywhere, no matter what.

I saw Pablo every day of his life, unless I was out of town, which was sometimes.

I saw Pablo.

Pablo saw me.

Pablo saw all of us.

He was the kind of person who looked you in the eye. In the eyes. Both of them. At the same time.

Today, I looked at the IN box in my email program, and saw a note from Scott Henriksen, a dear friend of ours, and the dad of Pablo's friend Eli. Scott is a cinematographer, and therefore has a camera with him at all times. He's just that kind of guy. Scott has documented the lives of our circle of friends since before I was in our circle of friends. Scott has photographed and video'd the children of all of us. I love beautiful photos, and so having Scott's photos of Grady and Pablo has been a real gift.

What I saw in Scott's email was completely unexpected: he'd found photos of Pablo that no one has ever seen. And, for all my love of Scott's photos and how they've become the memories of our world of friends and kids and holidays and stuff, three of the photos (the best ones) were not taken by Scott. The photos were taken by Scott's nine-year-old son Eli.

Here's the note Scott sent:

Hey you guys. I got some film back from the lab yesterday and I found some Pablo pics that Eli shot when he grabbed my camera at Tracy's birthday party at Mexico City. At least I think it was Tracy's birthday. We were all together anyway. There's some pics from Pablo's bday that were on another roll too. I love them. I hope you do too.
I clicked the link, typed in the password, and sat, stunned and in tears. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Lots of tears. Weeping wall.

Clicking on the first image, I saw Pablo looking at me—straight into me.

But then I realized, he wasn't looking at me at all. This is a photo of my son looking at his friend Eli. I'd been around Pablo and Eli a million times, running, screaming, going mental. I'd been around Pablo in many ZIP codes, many cities, many states, doing this very class of behavior—kid stuff. But I'd never seen Pablo looking at one of his friends.

So, nearly nine months after Pablo's death, I am seeing him in a way I'd never before seen.

Remarkable. Simply remarkable.

This photo was taken at the restaurant Mexico City in Los Feliz. Pablo and I had just gone to the Steven Alan store down the street and bought that shirt and bowtie. I have the exact same shirt, in Papa size. I almost wore that bowtie today—it's Friday Tie Day here at Dangerbird.

Here's another great shot, clearly framed by a kid shooting a kid doing kid stuff:

And this one, I recall, was Pablo hitting the wall, wanting to go home. You can see in his eyes how tired he is. Knowing what we now know, we can only imagine what was going on inside his little body. This was only a couple weeks before he passed away. I can see the tumors taking away his smile and his energy, and it makes me angry.

Here are two photos that Scott took at Pablo's sixth birthday party at Silverlake Park. It was Sunday June 21 2009.

That's Eli on the blanket.

Another birthday party shot: Pablo's on the far left

Thank you Scott.

Thank you Eli.

You are great friends and we love you.