Alyssa is in the darkroom again. She drops the blank paper into the developer. The smell of ammonia is noxious, she stumbles about, just a little dizzy. It is midnight and no one is with her. The image of a face appears slowly on the paper. Alyssa uses the tongs to swirl it about in the chemicals. The face looks up at her. She does not know whom the face belongs to. She moves the paper into the stop bath and breaths deeply. Alyssa takes a painkiller at her enlarger, and chases it with the Budweiser she brought with her into the darkroom.
Alyssa moves the face, again, into the fixative. She is still alone. She will likely be alone for the rest of the night. Alyssa stands above the fixative and stares at the face. It is a collection of features, without color or very much definition. It floats and spins away from her. She spins it back with the tongs. Alyssa feels wild while staring at the face.
A number of faces have smiled at Alyssa. She remembers an interview of a porn star she heard on the radio once. The porn star said something that affected her greatly.
Journalist: You’ve never been known to keep a steady lover. Some people would say you’re incapable of love.
Porn Star: Yes people say that.
Journalist: Have you ever been in love?
Porn Star: I loved every man I’ve ever had sex with. The moments they were inside me, that’s when I loved them. I loved them all deeply. I’ve been in love hundreds of times. How many times have you been in love?
Journalist: Uh . . .
Alyssa looks at the face. She feels relatively loveless. She drinks her beer. Alyssa has herself been in love many times. No one has ever been in love with Alyssa. She drinks her beer. Alyssa takes the face out of the fixative. She hangs it on a line above the chemicals. It dripped as it hung. Alyssa looked at the face she just hung. Alyssa fell a little in love with the face.