大少參加 WYNG Foundation 舉辦的比賽，需從攝影獎得獎作品中選一張照片作一篇不超過1000字的文章。今年的主題是︰垃圾。他選了一張滿是舊酒瓶的照片，寫了下面的文章。
Bottles. Bottles, bottles, bottles. Bottles everywhere!
Wine bottles. Beer bottles. Whisky bottles. Brandy bottles. Vodka bottles. Some cracked, some fractured, all broken in one way or the other. Bottles left over from the times when we were drunk. Drunk on those glorious spirits.
We were drunk indeed. Back when we were young, wild and free.
When we were young, we had so many drinks left in those bottles. Those bottles, they were full to the brim. And we drank away. All day, all night. Left ourselves inebriated on the bitterness and the sweetness and the fizz of that lovely liquid. We laughed at the rain and we sang in the fields and we talked around the campfire and we danced until the sun rose from the horizon. And no matter how much we drank, there was still more. We believed that those fluids could last us our lives.
That is, ‘til good old life decided to poke a teeny-tiny hole in our bottles. Or two. Or three. Big holes, small holes, holes of all shapes and sizes. Holes to mark all the cracks in our heart.
“You aren’t going to that school you wanted.”
“She doesn’t love you anymore, okay? Get used to it”
“Of course you can’t go to the audition! What are you talking about?”
“I’m sorry baby, but we just don’t have the money for you to finish that degree.”
“We stand here today, to honor loving wife, mother, and mentor…”
Bit by bit, drop by drop, little by little, that enchanted elixir drips out of the bottle. Faster and faster, with each split in the glass. For some, it takes forever for that bottle to drain. Yet for others, for those who sip and stay put, for those who waste day after day after day saying “I will” when they mean “I won’t”, the bottle runs dry when you’ve barely had a taste.
If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the dripping.
And suddenly, you awaken. You sober up. Your drink ran out, and that’s that.
Naturally, you find it weird for a while, sad almost, the deepest melancholy in your soul. Like something is missing. “But of course something is missing!” You think. “The booze!” But no matter how hard you try, you can’t conjure up any more of it. You find little droplets of it, sometimes. But those are gone almost as fast as they appear.
But that’s okay. You get used to it. Just like everyone else does.
And when you do, when you finally stop shaking your bottle, trying to force another drop of alcohol out of it, you decide to write a note. On a little rumpled piece of paper. You shove it, quite forcefully, into the empty vial, and seal the lid tightly. Then the empty bottle disappears. Vanishes with the letter you put inside of it. What the message on it is, only the person who wrote it knows.
And when you let that magical bottle go, it materializes here.
Here, in a wasteland comprised of bottles that embody our wasted hopes, our wasted futures, and our wasted dreams.
This is where the bottles lie.
Until, someday, you find it once again. Don’t know how; don’t know why. But somehow, when the time is right, it reappears, and you stumble upon it, the bottle nearly buried in the sand. You, who had long since forgotten it, long since settled down, long since faded away with the rest of us. And then, you do what even you yourself didn’t expect.
You pick it up. Scrape off the sand. Unscrew the cork. Stick your finger in, slowly but surely, and wiggle that wrinkled piece of paper out. And you read that message from oh-so-long-ago. That message which you wrote to yourself. And suddenly, you feel drunk again.
Some people rediscover their bottles early on. Go for a walk on the beach; stub their toe on the cap. Some people rediscover their bottles much later, but not until they depart, in which case the bottle is much like a conductor to them, leading them to the final station.
But most people, most people never find their bottles again. They slurp up the drink and discard the bottle in an abandoned corner, because they know not how important, how vital, how essential its contents are. They live the rest of their lives sober and clear-headed, without the bliss of a drink. And that, my friend, is how this field of wasted bottles came to be. This, dear reader, is how it grows ever larger.
Yet these bottles are not the only kind of waste that is growing in number. Our world is filled with waste, waste thrown onto everlasting fields on its surface and waste cast into endless pits deep within it. Waste polluting our very being. Waste needlessly discarded, just like the bottles that are the vessels of our dreams. And that brings us, yet again, back to this world of empty bottles. Empty bottles, and empty souls.
What a pity. What a waste.
2014年 WYNG Masters Award 大師攝影獎 Ringo Tang 的作品。