The Photo Not Taken

Two summers ago, we spent a glorious fortnight in Marina di Venezia, a campsite near Venice that’s situated right on the beach. About five days into our holiday, I was lying awake in bed, cranky after a bad night’s sleep, and irrationally irritated that everyone else was still snoring (including the four-year old source of my wakeful night).

I decided to go for a walk on the beach to clear the cobwebs, so I stuck on runners and shorts, and went out into the bright morning sunshine. Something clicked then – something about how quiet it was in the not-yet-blistering heat – and I realised I wanted to go for a run. This was out of character – usually holidays are about doing as little as possible, and at home I sometimes pray for rain just to avoid  my weekly run. But there was something about that morning.

Marina di Venezia Andrea Mara Office Mum

I ran through the shady campsite trails, zig-zagging over and back to build up distance, then I ran to the beach, and continued along the water’s edge until heat and tiredness stopped me. I slowed to a walk, then a stand, and stood staring out to sea as the babble of accents washed over me.

Beach at Marina di Venezia - Andrea Mara

Instinctively, I pulled out my phone to take a photo of the sea, and one of me – proof, in case I needed it, that I’d done a first ever morning run on holidays.

Then a woman caught my attention. She was in a low deckchair in the shallow waves, her face tilted to the sun, a book dangling from her hand. She looked so content and relaxed, utterly at ease as paddlers and swimmers splashed around her. Again, instinctively, my fingers reached to take a photo. I could already see her picture on Instagram, captioned “how I wish I spent my twenties”.

But I hesitated. What if I took her photo and put it online, and somebody saw it – what if she was on the run from the police, or hiding from an ex, or just somewhere she shouldn’t be? What if someone saw the picture and became obsessed? What if my photo was her undoing? Farfetched though the what-ifs were, I decided not to take the photo. But the idea took hold – what if someone put a photo of a stranger online, and it had unforeseen consequences? I didn’t take the photo of the woman that day – I put her in a story instead.

The running bug took hold though, and I went out most mornings for the rest of the holiday – mostly for a short run and a longer walk. It gave me the headspace I needed to deal with the inevitable squabbles that arise when five people spend a fortnight in very close quarters. And now that beach is special to me – a place that reminds me of peace and calm and sunshine and stories and a woman in a deckchair who’s now in a book.

*Competition time!*

If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a signed copy of One Click, along with a copy of The Other Side of the Wall, just comment below to enter the draw. You can also enter by commenting on the post on my Facebook page when it goes up later this evening, or RT’ing on Twitter. Good luck!

One Click andrea mara office mum

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Author: Andrea Mara | Office Mum

Blogger, freelance writer, author, mother - muddling through and constantly looking for balance.

19 thoughts on “The Photo Not Taken”

  1. I’ve heard great things about your first book and I’d love to win a copy! Exams will finish next week after a long 2 years so either way I will get a copy 🙂 Oh and yes running is the best stress release ever. No matter how much you don’t want to do it when you start, you feel amazing afterwards

  2. I started reading One Click on my Kindle yesterday. Already addicted and can’t wait to get home from work and get all the domestic stuff out of the way to get stuck into the story again tonight. Thank you Andrea for another great thriller.

  3. Totally with you on the running… and pausing to consider consequences of posting photos is so important in the click&share culture…

  4. I would absolutely love to win copies of your books, that has definitely picqued my interest. I’m so curious – did you see her again on your other runs?? Sounds like a blissful way to spend a morning – the reading in a deckchair that is… not running!

  5. Wow how imaginative is that to turn one moment into a book. I havent got back into reading since having my last baby (who is 2) but Im considering it lately. All I need is the right book!

  6. I was still asleep in my caravan while you were being so active!! Looking forward to reading the new book. Anne.

  7. Fascinating insight into how an Author gets inspiration for their next bestseller.
    I’d have been too busy listening to the waves to even notice the woman reading. Never mind the ideas explosion afterwards..

  8. Loved your first book so if I win I’ll donate it! Either way I’ll be definitely getting your second. Great story. However the idea of running on holidays seems so alien to me 🙂

  9. What a great idea for a book. I’m going to have to get my hands on a copy, regardless of if I win the competition or not. Sounds intriguing.

  10. Thanks for sharing your inspo-moment Andrea. Can’t wait to read the book. I was so enthralled with The Other Side Of The Wall so I know this one will be brill as well!

  11. Those early morning runs on the beach are what I miss the most when I come home. Perfect start to the day, sharing the sand with the seagulls. Maybe a lone figure in the distance, they always intrigue me. Then back to the madness of 7 in the mobile for breakfast. Can visualise your moment on the beach, looking forward to reading it!

  12. What a fantastic story!! One click is definitely worth thinking about when posting things online!! I’m glad it wasn’t there in my youth

  13. I’ve been wishing to read your books, and keep meaning to ask my library if they can order copies in – but I keep forgetting! You probably don’t want to ship to the US, but if you do, oh Random GEnerator of All Internet Contests – PICK ME!

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