The photograph is of a general-store-cum-luncheonette late on a hot summer’s day. Its windows stare blankly at the empty street in front of it.
Left of center of the picture are two lean, blond young men (they are in their twenties), dressed in light-colored t-shirts and shorts; they lie on their backs, reclining on sacks of potatoes.
All is still. There are no other figures in the photograph. No other people caught in a moment of arrested movement. It is a scene of purposelessness; nothing is being done; nothing will be done. It is a picture of decay.
The photograph is in black-and-white.
It is part of an exhibition.
The exhibition is entitled “ENTROPY.”
The meaning imputed to the photograph is untrue.
I know it is untrue, because I am one of the men in the picture—the one on the left.
I know that it is not a depiction of laziness, of purposelessness. My companion and I have just completed a stage of our trip to view the eclipse. Our bicycles and backpacks are on the left, outside the frame of the picture.
But what I have just written is also untrue. I am not one of the lean, blond men in the picture. Yes, I had dark-blondish hair in my younger days, but I have never been lean. And, besides, I have never ridden a bicycle.
The black-and-white photograph is not part of an exhibition entitled “ENTROPY.” The photograph and the exhibition do not exist. They were in a dream I had early this morning. The men seen in the photograph have never existed. The country store has never existed. The heat and the stillness of the air have never existed.
And the female photographer—who is left-handed—never existed.