verb (used without object), eloped, eloping.

1.to run off secretly to be married, usually without the consent or knowledge of one’s parents. 

2.to run away with a lover. 

3.to leave without permission or notification; escape: At age 21, the apprentice eloped from his master.

4.(of a person with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment) to leave or run away from a safe area or safe premises.

Elliot is of variety no. 4.  He always has been.  He’s not interested in what the rest of the family is doing most of the time–especially not when there’s a whole world out there that he could be exploring.  This is of course if he’s not pretending to be asleep on a bench in Gallery 1 at the Hammer, which was where I had last seen him while walking around admiring some photography around the corner from where his feet were hanging off the edge of a bench.  

But that’s all the time it takes.  Two seconds of not paying complete and full attention and he’s gone.  It’s his prestige.  He has a radar that goes off when I let my focus wander to anything other than him and in a flash he’s gone like Keyser-fucking-Söze. What’s funny is that the second I realize that I’m not keeping a full eye on him I always know he’s gone.  I don’t even have to double check.  What’s more is that I knew he had a good enough head start that he would duck, cover and maneuver his way through the galleries so deftly that I had zero chance of finding him until he got to where he wanted to go.  Poof.  Gone.  It’s irritating as all hell, but he’s a damn good participant in an unwitting game of hide and seek.  

I remember when he was 4, Elliot, Ester (who was two at the time) and I when to Fältöversten Centrum to do some last minute Christmas shopping–this was back when we still lived in Stockholm, before we moved to LA.  I was at the toy store with Ester on my back, while holding Elliot’s hand at the checkout counter.  I realized I needed to grab my wallet and without thinking let go of Elliot’s hand, reached into my back pocket, took out my wallet and handed my credit card to the woman behind the counter.  That was all it took.  Elliot was gone.  It was the first of many times he would elope but it scared the shit out of me.  There are at least three exits from the shopping center that go directly to the street and he knew where all three were.  I ran around like a maniac through Christmas shopping crowds looking for him for 20 minutes before calling Anna Maria to call the mall security.  She was calmer than I thought she would be by the time we hung up and five minutes later, which incidentally felt like and absolute eternity of running up and down holiday shopper packed halls, she was back on the phone telling me to head towards the electronics shop where security says they’ve cornered a young boy who may or may not be Elliot.  I was maybe 50 meters from the shop, so I bolt over there and sure enough, a group of Swedish rent-a-cops have him surrounded and won’t let him ride the escalators up and down any more.  Then he looks at me like, what’s your problem.    

So it’s always been this way.  It’s one of the million things about Elliot that make him Elliot.  In fact I could write a book filled with stories about how Elliot eloped from pretty much everywhere on the planet at some point in time or another.  One day I’ll write about what he did at our wedding reception.  That was a hoot.  Point is, at that particular moment when he hauled-ass out of the gallery I wasn’t as concerned as I maybe should have been or would have been if this had been the first, third or twentieth time he had pulled this shit.  At this point I’m honestly convinced that no matter where he goes I will find him.  That’s maybe naive on my part but I have come to believe that’s the case.  I know I should panic a bit more but I don’t.  I know I should be upset but I almost can’t be.  Well, almost.  I tend to get pissed now more than anything.    

Anyway, back in the present day, sure as shit only five minutes later, Ester points down at the courtyard and there’s Mr Escape-from-New-York himself playing on one of the chairs that you can sit and spin around in that cost $700 at the Museum book shop.  After a brief mental note is taken regarding Elliot sitting and spinning, I notice the scene.  There’s a gentle harmony to the geometry in stark contrast to the massive irritation bordering on rage I feel at having to chaise my child.  

I let that irritation break on the concrete composition unfolding below me and made an image of my irritating beautiful eloper. 

Mamiya6MF, Kodak Tri-X at 800, processed at the Icon.    

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