“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Prove it! This week’s challenge couldn’t be simpler: tell a story based on this picture. You can take this in whatever direction you’d like. Write some fiction. Who are these people? What’s their backstory? What’s going on in this picture? What happens next? Construct a history for us. Write from your own experience. Do one of these people remind you of someone you know, or of something that’s happened to you? Connect the dots for us. Go on a flight of fancy. Who knows what pops into your head when you take a look? Grab the first thing and go with it! We’ll tell you the truth behind the photo in next week’s challenge post, but we’re sure it won’t be nearly as interesting as what you come up with!”
Yes, that’s our dad holding our hands. My mom took this photo. I’m three. My brother’s five. Greg. I’m Anne. My neck was sweating between the coat collar and the bonnet. Itchy, really. Greg’s cap is hiding a bad, homemade haircut that my mom gave him. What? Oh no, we weren’t angry, just serious. We were a loving serious family that day about to go to church. Mom’s wearing a lovely royal blue dress with light pink trim around the collar and long cuffs, a matching trapeze coat and low black heels. She was, as my dad used to say, “a real looker.” She had to put her pocketbook down because it was making her arm shake and interfering with the photograph she was trying to take. Then she and my dad switched places, and he took one of her, me and Greg. I don’t know what happened to it. Too bad. It pains me. I ought to have both photos.
If photographs reflected reality, not just as a snapshot of a moment, but as ongoing reality, I would be the only one in the photo. An absurd take on Dorian Gray.
Last week Greg had gone to the assisted care living facility and picked up mom and dad, you see. They were so lucky, the two of them, able to continue what remained of their lives, together in the same place, each slowly fading from the other’s memory, recalling pieces of the past, sometimes smiling at us and wondering who we were. I was going to go down to Greg’s, about an hour’s drive north of here, the next day for a family dinner and a week-long visit. The four of us together, along with Marge, my sister-in-law. Marge had hired the home aid of one of her friends for the week to help with our parents. “Anne, this woman’s a real gem,” Marge had said.
I hadn’t visited them in six months, my parents, I mean, and really, believe me, I felt guilty about that, but I would have a week to make it up to them, and that was a relief. Really. I promised myself that I would visit more often, share the driving with Greg, the obsessive texter. He was always more attentive than I was. In fact, he had always been more of a nurturer, and that open heart of his inspired him to become a veterinarian. My dad used to say to him, “Greggo-Boy, that soft side’s gonna get you killed one day.” We would look at each other with our there goes dad look.
My cell chirped that evening, but I didn’t pick it up right away. It was either a text or email message, and it could wait until my nails dried. Two hours later I checked.
“Behind sked but”
It was a partial text message from Gregg’s cell number. He was behind schedule. Probably got a late start back. But what?
A partial text.
No, it was an interrupted text.
Three lives interrupted in a Hyundai on a road at night with the moonlight shut out by the curtain of trees.
- Weekly Writing Challenge: The Photo (wanderingcandy.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words (ilovemandaue.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words (justxjosh.com)
- DP weekly challenge. A picture is worth a thousand words (mbrizz.wordpress.com)