Sometimes I forget my first name. My students call me Sir, my bills are addressed to Mr. H. Ravin, my financial advisor calls me Mr. Ravin... No one calls me Henry anymore.
I'm thirty-four years old, and have taught Art in various secondary schools around the country for the past twelve years. Before that, I worked in a café serving coffee and cakes to strangers. My favourite smell is fresh coffee, and in the morning if my mind hasn't fully awakened, I sometimes think I'm back working in the café, until Jet jumps up on the work surface and knocks the spoon from my hand. Her real name is Juliet, but she's far too cool to be named after an angst-ridden Shakespearian heroine and only responds to the shortened "Jet".
Jet has dominion over most of the house, but I won't let her in my darkroom, my favourite sanctuary of completely ordered chaos. My favourite possession is my camera; it's a beautiful old thing I found in an antiques centre and the photographs it produces have an eerie haunting quality about them, as though they have sent the subject back in time.
I'm fascinated with the human face and to relax in the evening I can often spend hours looking through newspapers, magazines, leaflets and so on for pictures of not the most beautiful, but the most interesting faces, to cut out and glue in my scrap book. The only thing I really dislike about my own face is the increasing depth of the lines in my skin. I'm not a vain person, but growing old scares me. It sometimes feels like I don't even know my own body. I can't even remember the last time I was naked in front of another person.
I lie awake at night, sometimes, and convince myself I will be alone forever. Then I lie to myself: it's not my fault if I am. I would love more than anything to curl up with someone on the sofa with a bottle of red wine and talk pointless trivialities till dawn. The last person who told me they loved me was my wife. Even after we'd agreed to divorce. I don't have any children. She couldn't have any. And I feel guilty for feeling disappointed at that.
TEXT by Sophie Playle + IMAGES by Marc Noble