The photograph…

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April 25, 2016 by Whispering Smith

The photograph

If you stared at her photograph long enough the hint of the smile deepened, became real, a warm smile, a teasing smile. And if you looked into the large eyes staring back at you it was easy to believe they blinked. You just had to engage the image, take it on, make it real, remember the moment you took the photograph old school style, Kodak Tri-x monochrome film in a 35 mm reflex Canon camera, up there, her sitting by the lake with her back to a tree. An oak tree as I remember it. She wore a neckerchief, a patterned silk scarf the sort that cowboys wear, a flowered blouse open at the throat and a Fairisle sleeveless jumper. But that isn’t important, you cannot see them in the photograph I printed later that evening in my makeshift darkroom. I faded the edges, sepia toned the print to give it an old fashioned look, it is just that I remember what she was wearing. I remember everything about her. Gentle like a summer breeze, easy on the eye. She laughed a great deal, was smarter than me but never let me know it, see it, never put me down when I wandered thoughtlessly around a problem I should have dealt with head on. When the rain came and then the storm that followed she faced it head on and took the lightning in her stride, the thunder she heard, I feared, hid under the table of my mind hoping it would go away and we could resume our path, our highway to old age, hand in hand along the promenade smiling at children, remembering. But forked lighting gives no quarter, it marches inexorably along the horizon  of our days, it hammers into the ground somewhere beyond our vision, that is the way of it, but we know of its passing, the inevitable journey into the earth. Is it right to wish it would strike elsewhere, drive someone else into the darkness? She would have said not, sadly perhaps. The photograph, that single moment in time, one of hundreds, tells me all that I need to know, looking out at me, not at the Canon’s polished lens with its antiglare coating. Hearing my heart and not the click of the shutter as it freezes forever that blossoming smile from the large hazel eyes, that single, timeless, forever moment. Then the fire and the ashes and our lives changed forever…

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