This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge posted earlier today by the colleagues at WordPress.
“I wish I could open this lock again”
I took this photo on the winter of 2010, right after coming back from studying abroad in the US. Having trouble readjusting to being home, I planned a trip to Paris to meet a group of friends from DC that were going through the same little reverse cultural shocks. On a freezing December afternoon, I took a walk along the Seine with my friend Yovan. We crossed the Pont des Arts, that links the area of the Louvre with the 5th arrondissement, and had a close look at many of the love padlocks hanging from the bridge. One of them had a caption in Spanish: “I wish I could open this lock again.”
Quoted at the Daily Post, Merilee Mitchell says that a photo doesn’t have to be blatantly macabre to be eerie. It can have a mysterious, otherworldly vibe. A story to tell – one you aren’t quite sure you want to know. More than eerie, this photo is perhaps intriguing. “Can a relationship gone wrong really be scary?,” I thought to myself before posting. It actually can! Specially if you consider the lover’s determination to get rid off a symbol that is nothing more than a representation of vanishing feelings. Did he or she live in Paris, was this easy to do? Did he travel all the way there to track the place and write the message down? Or did he just take advantage of a new trip to the city to pass by the spot that once had a romantic meaning?
“I wish I could open this lock again” doesn’t really mean that. A little more than a year after taking this picture, I traveled to Cologne (Germany), yet another city with a padlock-covered-bridge. Heartbroken souls over there seemed to have developed a more efficient way to destroy the symbols: the custom to cut the wire holding their locks.
Our Spanish lover in Paris could have gotten himself a pair of pliers, but he got a black marker instead. Deleting history or destroying what documents it doesn’t make it less real, but writing a new chapter on top of the old one does help to move on.