We had another meeting today. The group was smaller than it’s been in a while, but I think I’ve lost one of my students. She may have discovered my deep, dark secret, the one where I’m a lesbian and it might have freaked her out.
Sorry, kid, people like me are a part of your life, no matter where you go or what you do.
But I digress. I still have my three core kids, the ones who I believe show the most promise as writers. Today we talked about what we’re reading and the diversity of subjects was delightful. None of them are reading only one book at a time. They pick up whatever tome suits their moods at any given moment. Or whichever one is handiest.
One is working on an historical fiction piece about WWII in London, while another is enjoying a biography of FDR. Me? I’ve recently picked up a book on Ireland’s Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley and I can’t wait to dive into it.
But one of the students brought up an interesting subject, and it became the topic of our writing today. He asked if some people really believe that camera’s steal bits of your soul whenever your photograph is taken. That got them all talking and the suggestion came up that we should each write a short story on that particular topic. Since I hadn’t anything better for them to do, we grabbed paper and pens and went to work. What follows is my contribution.
The Soularoid 100
The day came when Benny decided to stop staring at the camera in the pawnshop window and just go in and buy it or at least ask about it. When he heard the price, he was delighted as it was exactly what he’d hoped to spend.
“I’ve seen you looking in the window at that camera, son, and I wondered when you’d be in to buy it.”
“I collect old cameras, but I’ve never heard of this brand before. Can you tell me anything about it?”
“Nope. It’s a one-of-a-kind item, but it does take nice pictures.”
That afternoon, Benny loaded the camera with film and went to take some photographs. He was very curious to see the quality of pictures he’d get from an unknown make of camera. His first subject was a lovley rose of deep orange red, with yellow center and bright red at the outer edges of the petals. Just as the shutter clicked, the rose appeared to fade as thought caught in a shadow for a moment and Benny wondered if he would get a good image.
He turned and saw a young couple basking in new love. They held hands and smiled warmly at each other and everyone around them. Benny took their photo, but when the shutter clicked, the couple stumbled as though overtaken by a momentary bout of dizziness. When it passed, they clung to each other even tighter as they continued their walk through the park.
A young man assisting an elderly gentleman were the next to be captured by Benny’s camera, but like the others, something happened when he pressed the button. He continued wandering through the park, spending the entire roll of film, capturing the lovely things he saw that delighted him.
That evening, as he developed the roll, a very strange thing happened. A woman appeared, dressed in a gown of glorious orange red, with dark blond hair and sweet red lips. She held out a hand and said, “I am the woman for you, Benny. You took pictures of things that were important to you, lovely things, happy people, kindness and joy. I am the one you love, and the one who loves you.”
The camera was never used by Benny again, but it held a place of honor in their long happy lives.
One of my students, a fellow who seems to be infatuated with death and despair, snorted at the happy ending of my story, but I had to remind him that sometimes a happy ending is exactly what people need.
Here’s to many happy endings.