I am a professional journalist and blogger. I never published this particular story as a journalist but I blogged it and have included pictures at the address below.
The following is absolutely the way it happened and the pictures are completely untouched. I hope I can submit my story in this way.
It was a warm, Saturday morning - with an azure sky as far as the eye could see, interrupted by only a handful of white fleecy clouds - that Egil and I headed to Jaunpils Parrish, about an hour southwest of Riga, to visit the beautiful Jaunpils Castle. I knew nothing about this early 14th century castle, but Egil assured me that, although it had been rebuilt and restored many times over the past 7+ centuries, parts of it remained impressive examples of ancient architecture.
Factually, we were both longing to escape the noise and stress of the city, for the day - as much as we loved Riga - to commune with nature and hopefully experience a few Kodak Moments with my new digital companion.
We took our time driving to the castle - Enjoy The Journey as Much as The Destination is generally our motto - meandering through the bucolic Latvian countryside...
I was aware of a man, woman, and child sitting at the table on the far left wall and initially thought they were simply a family out enjoying the beautiful autumn day. Gradually, however, I became aware that the child - a boy of 9 or 10 - was extremely agitated about something: Initially whispering - albeit very emphatically - that he wanted to go home. His whispering became louder until he was announcing to his father that, with or without him, he was leaving. The father was replying with soft, distracted responses like, "Oh lighten up, son. We are here to enjoy ourselves." I wasn't sure what "We" he was referring to because the boy was obviously not enjoying himself at all.
As my eyes further adjusted to the low light I could see a middle-aged man - let's call him Clueless - groping a very young woman in a most inappropriate manner. I was thankful for the table that somewhat obscured our view, at least below the waist. The young woman - let's call her Giggles - was laughing pretentiously, although not the least bit embarrassedly.
At one point Clueless put food in his teeth and then leaned in towards Giggles who obligingly nibbled it out of his grimacing mouth, while he fondled her. I was thankful I hadn't ordered anything solid to eat, or I'd have possibly lost it.
I understood that without an internal appropriate behavior barometer these were difficult times, but this man had a child acting as his own built in barometer - and he was ignoring him! The scene was appalling on so many levels with the primary one being: The poor child, obviously saner than his hormonally imbalanced father, was feeling completely humiliated by the adults' (chronologically speaking) behavior. And this fact haunts me to this day: How does a child have more inborn integrity than his parent?
(Okay, so this is a great example of the kind of behavior I was talking about Re. The collective identity crisis creating some really bizarre conduct. As an observer there was almost nothing one could do - in the absence of laws or even standards of acceptable behavior - but watch and cringe. Frequently it seemed like the person performing such acts had seen a movie and thought, "Oh! So that's normal! Okay I'm good to go here..." and then went out and reenacted some ludicrous Hollywood performance on the street - or in a café, as it were.)
I cleared my throat loudly, several times - thinking perhaps Clueless and Giggles hadn't realized they had company - in a tone that clearly stated that their fellow diners were not enjoying the show. If anything our announced presence seemed to encourage the adults (I cringe at the use of this word) and further outrage the boy.
We'd ordered our tea upon entering the establishment - and not being the kind of people to waste money - we decided to drink and run, as the drama across the room unfolded.
"I'm going to turn my flash off and try to capture the beautiful candlelight in this room," I announced, as I neared the end of my tea. Egil looked at me with his, "Um... Seriously? Alrighty, then..." facial conversation that ended with "I'd rather cut and run immediately, but... Yeah okay, just be quick..." (unlike me, Egil frequently speaks without words.) I can't imagine what it would take for me to pass up a potentially nice picture; but Clueless and Giggles were not it.
With all patrons seated and the only waiter present hanging out in the backroom (good call in my opinion), I held my camera tightly in both hands; elbows propped firmly on the table, to avoid any movement and began clicking away. The room was absolutely still as I took several pictures, trying with each shot to hold my breath and steady my hands.
In our haste to miss the final act at the table across the room - and reconnect with nature and silence - we quickly left the café after I felt I'd taken an adequate number of pictures. We did not preview any of them. Giggles and Clueless had so disrupted our peace that we called it a day almost immediately and returned home.
That night, I downloaded the pictures I'd taken throughout the day onto my computer. Initially, when I looked at the pictures I'd taken in the café, I failed to see the ghostly figure that appeared in one of the pictures. What I saw instead were a group of blurry pictures, one of which included a distorted image where light had refracted in some weird way... Then as I looked closer and my eyes focused, I gasped, as a human image materialized in front of my eyes. To me this looked like a woman - perhaps a servant, but not one living entirely in the material plane.
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