Week 5: I bet she’ll need some looking after

2 Jan

They say a picture captures a little bit of your soul. Clearly, from a scientific standpoint, this is wrong and non-sensical. Who, exactly, is this ‘they’? A reasonable individual only believes in science, because if it cannot be proven, it is not worth thinking about. So tell me, exactly, what is the very first photo you have of yourself? You’re an infant, swaddled in clothes, red with anger and fear and hunger and yet everyone coos around you, mindless zombies drawn to the perfect coincidence of a sperm and an egg.

You are a pretty little mistake and already your soul is shattered. You’re so sweet, later on, a year old, a spark of creativity in your eyes. Now raise that photo, until you touch it with the tip of your nose and swear to me, beyond any doubt, that you are alive. That there is nothing dead or dying in your eyes, that every little black spot is just a trick of the light and that really, there you are, all of you, all of you dammit, no matter what I say, it’s all of you.

School photos. Family trips. Every single shard of your soul is in those photos, despite the laughs. Look at the adults, I mean really look at them. How scary is their gaze? Does it frighten you? How much fear can one feel when parts of your soul are trapped in little photos strewn across the ages? If you could find them all and burn them, would that release what was trapped, or would it just kill you inside a little bit more? Graduation, hats flying in the sky and all of you, all of the vapid, shallow people you mocked for years, all those loners smoking on school grounds, all the hippies, the weirdos, the potheads, the jocks, all of them are dead inside. Can you hate them still, knowing what you know now?

Marriage. Confetti and happiness tied up neatly in a box and your lover smiles, a wide wide smile that looks, for a split second, almost real. If there is an afterlife, let photos be banned, so you can cherish this moment and have it fade into your memory, have it become unreal and dream-like, have it fall apart in old age and rooms that smell of sanitizer. Have that smile tucked away in the corner of your mouth and share it with no one and when you gaze back at your lover, know that a soul is there, behind matter and bone and blood. As it stands, watch the photos remain faithful to your impeding break-up, have that moment frozen in time and know you can never retrieve it.

And then keep going. At this point, after so many years and so much soul lost, abandon yourself to photography. Knowingly let it be stolen from you, until you cannot breathe for the lack of feeling, until pain would be welcome because then, at least then, you could be part of something human.

I am raving. They are coming for what is left of me. But I know, in my heart, they cannot take what I take first. Know you are loved, know that I loved you and when they find this, they will find the first photo we ever had together, with your leg in a cast, high on pain meds and me, my dopey smile, holding some flowers awkwardly for you. Know that I love you, and in that moment I loved you more, but already we were dead inside. If there is any justice in the world, I will come back for you. And please, my dearest, when I do, don’t lock your door, don’t pull out the shotgun, take the pills and lie down. I will come for you and you will come back too and finally we can be together, a picture-perfect scene, dead inside and out.

Yours always,



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