Posts Tagged ‘script writing’

A brief exploration of my protagonist’s past, and his discovery of the perfectionism of a photograph and its ability to distort memories.

The camera never lies… or does it? 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The old photograph of my Mother is something I seldom look upon. When I do, I still doubt the sound exposure and fear the sun may snatch it away. I was barely fourteen when I took it, with some assistance, after pleading with the studio photographer who had just opened up his shop underneath our home. I borrowed his camera, and used one plate, and paid him a penny. A pittance for him, I knew, but it was all the money I had in the world.
The camera was new, but even so the exposure took four minutes. The little moustached photographer squinted at the sun through the window, and timed with his pocket watch. I remember him nod to me surely. My heart beat wildly as I twisted off the stiff metal lens cover. I could hardly believe that this funny little box could capture an image.
Waiting breathlessly, I still expected her to rise, to jump back to life. Even in death, with the grey pallor of her face and unnaturally posed limbs, she looked as always. Her hands lay twisted in her lap, as though plotting to grasp at my hair and beat me like a misbehaving school boy. Her severe grey dress, made from thick heavy wool and clasped at the throat, made her a dark and formidable form. She had always been an imposing woman, well-built and standing at nearly six feet tall. Brief sickness had not withered her.
I knew that never again would I be subject to her spontaneous and humiliating blows that stung for hours after the pain left my body. Yet even in death she looked undefeated, ruling her domain from the throne of her rocking chair.
Father wasn’t home. I knew he would be down the road, drinking at the tavern. I knew he was there mourning – in his own way. My father respected my Mother, though he never loved her. She never allowed herself to love him back. For all that, he had been a consistent and adequate provider, if rather stoic and distant – and with a penchant for gin. In some way, I felt some deep-seated pity for my Mother, in spite of her coldness.
I looked upon that grim tableau of death, and it seemed that something had changed in her. It unsettled me deeply, and I wondered if this was the case for all death. I didn’t have the nerve to ask the photographer as he packed away his things. I only realized what had changed after the plate was exposed, and lay in my trembling hands. The dim and ghostly likeness of my Mother, a week and a day after her funeral, had been brought back to life.
It was a look of peace, and of resignation. All the knots of motherhood and hard work and spite had softened. It was hard to imagine her limp arms being raised in anger. Her eyes, which stared past the confines of the blurry edges of the frame, seemed to look beyond our world. At times my eyes could trick me into seeing warmth in them. She almost looks like a Mother.
I slipped the photograph back into the deepest recess of my case.

Advertisements