>A Million Pictures Speaks a Life

>”Dad, over here!”

CLICK CLICK CLICK

“I see you. Don’t fall off.”

“I’m not gonna fall of-” THUD!

“Corey! Are you ok?”

Corey just sits there laughing. The fall off the playset didn’t phase him one bit. After all, sand isn’t the worst thing a kid can fall on.

“Dad! Watch this now.” Corey climbs up the chains of the swings and flips backwards, landing square on his feet. He gets a tingling on the back of his heel. Suddenly he lets out a scream, “AHHH-OW!” He stepped on one of his matchbox cars.

“What happened,” dad asks? Squirming and holding his foot Corey replys, “I stepped on a car.” “A car? How can a car fit into the sandbox?” “Da-ad,” Corey corrects him, “it’s just a toy car.” They share a giggle and Corey bounces back into action. “Get this one now!”

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK

Normally he’s doesn’t call out for his dad’s attention. But today Corey is acting quite rambunctious. He is a very active kid. Usually he doesn’t pay any attention to his dad or the camera. His dad follows him around everywhere with his cameras. He’ll squeeze in many different places in order to get a good shot. Corey just ignores him most of the time. Today he is just very happy.

“Let’s go look at them now.” “We can look at them here,” dad refers to the camera. “Nooooo. I want to put them on the computer.” Corey pulls his dad inside. Dad continues to snap pictures as they walk to the computer.

“I wanna do it, I wanna do it.” Dad walks Corey through the upload process: plug the camera into the compter. Open the picture program. Choose import. Name the folder where the photos will be saved. “Let’s call it crrrazy day.” “If that’s what you want to call it, Corey.” Then, Corey just stares at the screen as the thumbnails flash one after the other and the progress bar fills.

“It’s done!”

Corey and his dad browse through the photos. “Slow down, Corey. How can you look at the photos if you’re going so fast?” Corey blazes through the photos. One after the other he glances at it and hits next. He keeps going and going and then freezes. In a somber tone he mumbles, “mom.”

One of the pictures taken while the two were walking in the house shows Corey standing in front of the glass patio door. Reflecting in the glass is a picture, haning on a wall in the house, of Corey’s mother. She floats behind Corey in the glass. Corey’s eyes well up. Dad places a hand on Corey’s shoulder. Then he slowly reaches down to grab the mouse. He moves the pointer over the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen and clicks on one of them. The picture that comes up is one of Corey. He just flipped off the swing chains and is floating in the air. His clothes and hair are puffed up around him. He has a big smile on his face and his eyes are focused on the sand beneath him. He is in a perpetual state of bliss.

“This is what mom wants you do to.”

“Back flip?”

The two share a giggle. Then dad asks, “how about we go take some pictures with the high speed camera?” This camera can take multiple still pictures in a row, at a hundred pictures in a second. It can also take high speed video clips, only seconds long, but again with hundreds of frames in one second.

“Come on, Corey. Let’s set up the water wall,” dad taunts. The corner of Corey’s mouth begins to turn upward. His dad reiterates, “it’s a wall… made of water… that you can jump through…” Corey smiles and jumps from the chair. “Alright, lets go.”

—-

“Corey and his dad are outside again, taking pictures, again.” “Leave them alone, Mary.” Scott and Mary, the next door neighbors, have a boy around Corey’s age. Mary is a little uneasy about Mark, Corey’s dad. He is always taking Corey’s picture. He just follows him around everywhere taking pictures. He also takes pictures of any friends who might be playing with Corey.

DING-DONG

Mary walks to the door. She opens the door to find Corey standing there innocently enough.

“Hello. Can Trevor come outside and play?”

Mary stares into Corey’s soft, blue eyes. She can’t bring herself to deny Corey of one of his best friends just because she doesn’t like his father. “Sure he can,” she says reluctantly, “Just let me go get him.”

Mary calls down Trevor and reminds him, “now remember, Trevor, there are ok pictures and there are bad picture-” “Mary,” Scott interjects, “let the boy go and play!”

Trevor runs outside with Corey over to Corey’s driveway. They are playing with some small, remote controlled cars. They run them over “rough terrain” and ramp them over little matchbox cars. All the while, Mark continues to snap pictures. He positions himself a ways behind Trevor and gets down on the ground. He looks at the viewfinder and sets up his picture. Corey is getting ready to ramp a car through Trevor’s legs. As the car passes, Trevor bends over to watch the car travel the jump. The resulting picture is a small car in mid air; Trevor, upside down and wide eyed; and Corey, the driver, in the background cheering. “That is an awesome picture,” yells Mark.

“That’s a bad picture.”

Mark looks up and sees Corey running over to look. Trevor just stands there with an insulted, and somewhat scared look on his face. “What,” asks Mark? “No, it’s really cool,” Corey says. Trevor just stands there, defensively. Mark has an idea of what Trevor is thinking and trys to calm the situation. “Ok, I’ll delete it then,” he says. “Noooo,” Corey calls disappointingly. “There,” says Mark, “it’s gone.” He turns the camera so Trevor can see the screen. It says, “Deleted.”

Just then, Kylie runs over yelling, “hi Trevor, hi Corey!” Corey and Trevor just look at each other with wrinkled noses. Kylie is a little girl a year or so younger than Corey who lives across the street. She says again, in a flowery tone, “hi Corey.” Needless to say Kylie has a small crush on Corey. She walks in between Corey and Trevor and gives Corey a small kiss on the cheek. Mark snaps every second and narrates it as well. “Aw, that’s cute.” “Daa-ad,” Corey jeers.

Trevor just looks at Mark, as if to say, “I’m keeping an eye on you.”

The kids continue to play as Mark sneaks inside. He hooks up the camera and uploads his pictures. Then he prints one out. He walks back outside, with the picture rolled up in his hand. “Kids, stay in the driveway. I’ll be right back.” “Where are you going,” questions Corey? Trevor stops and watches Mark carefully. “I’m going to go talk to Trevor’s parents.” Mark opens the white gate and walks over to Mary and Scott’s house. Trevor walks towards the gate, but stops as it shuts. “Look at this Trevor,” Corey shouts. But Trevor isn’t interested in the cars anymore.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

“Scott, could you get that?”

“Coming,” Scott yells. He walks to the back door and sees Mark. “Hey, Mark. Come on in.” Mary hears that it was Mark at the door and dashes back down the steps. “Well, hey Mark. How are you?” “I’m fine,” Mark replies.

They stand in silence for a few seconds. Scott breaks the silence, “so, what can we do for you?”

“Well,” Mark begins cautiously, “I just took this picture.” He hands the picture he printed to Mary. It is the picture he told Trevor he erased. Mary and Scott examine the picture. Scott comments, “huh, that’s pretty neat.” Mary looks at him. “Ya, that’s a good picture. Is this for us?” “Ya,” Mark says, “you can have that one.” “Well, thanks,” says Scott.

Mark just stands there and rubs his hand through his hair. Mary, the intuitive one, asks Mark, “is there something on your mind?”

Scott turns around and looks back at Mark. Mary looks at Scott and then back at Mark. Mark slowly brings up his question.

“Trevor doesn’t like that picture.”

“What do you mean,” Mary says?

Mark doesn’t know how to go on. He’s not really good at talking about stuff like this. So he just bluntly says it.

“Right after I took the picture I said it made a good photo…” Mary and Scott listen intently. “Then Trevor looks at me and says, ‘that’s a bad picture.'”

Scott gives Mary a dead stare.

Mark continues, “I think that Trevor thinks I might have tried to take…,” Mark almost chokes on his words, “I think he thinks I tried to take a picture of his butt or something.”

Scott is sending a stare at Mary as if to say, “you better fix this,” but she just buttons her lip.

“I really wasn’t trying to take a picture of his butt. They were just playing and I saw an opportunity for a good picture so I just took it and I didn’t mean to scare him or anything and I’m really sorry, and if you want I can delete the picture.”

Scott interrupts Mark saying, “Mary, do you care to tell him, or should I?”

Mark stops. He is now more confused than he was about how to bring up this subject. Mary just stumbles on her words. So, Scott free’s the secret.

“Mary is worried that you might be-” “Lonely,” Mary interjects! She waves around the picture and continues, “I was worried that you are spending too much time trying to hold onto your son that you’re not living a healthy life.” Mark doesn’t believe her. “There’s nothing wrong with this picture,” she says, “and we’ll talk with Trevor about it.”

Just then Trevor runs into the room and dashes straight to his mom.

“Mom, I’m sorry. I didn’t want him to take that picture but he already did and I thought he deleted it…” Trevor begins to cry as his mother calms him down. Scott rolls his eyes and begins to appologize to Mark.

“Look, Mark,” he explains, “Mary is very overprotective. She thought she was being cautious.” They walk to the back door. “I tried to get her to stop.”

Mark is distraught and astounded. “You guys told him I take ‘bad pictures’ of people?” “Now look, Mark,” Scott tries to explain again, “no one thinks that-” “Except Trevor!” “Look,” Scott tries a third time. Mark interrupts.

“Do you even know why I take pictures,” yells Mark! The whole room gets quiet. Trevor, Mary, and Scott turn to him. “I take pictures of my son because that’s all I’ll have.” Mark pauses and corrects himself, “that’s all I have… now.” Scott and Mary catch the grammar switch, but Trevor is oblivious. Mark didn’t want to tell anyone… and he’s still not going to. He sighs, turns towards the door and stops.

“I’m not a monster,” he says solemly, “I just want something to help me remember this time.”

—-

“It’s been a whole week, Scott,” Mary whines. “Where do you think they are?” Scott teases, “well, after what you’ve done I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s bought a new house.” As they are talking Trevor walks down the steps. “Mom? Has Corey come home yet?” “No, honey,” she says. Trevor hangs his head low and sighs. He really wants to go play with his best friend.

“Trevor,” Scott says softly, “I don’t think Corey is going to come home.” Mary and Trevor both look at Scott. He hands Mary the newspaper and calls Trevor over. Trevor climbs up on his dad’s lap.

“Corey had to go somewhere.”

Mary glances over the page Scott had open. It’s the obituaries? At first she thinks something might have happened to Mark. Then she stumbles upon a picture of Corey. Corey? Alarmed and concerned she reads through the article.

“Where did Corey have to go, dad?”

Scott, who is usually a straight-forward kind of guy, can’t bring himself to tell his son the truth.

“Trevor,” Scott begins, ” you know how we take pictures at the family reunion?”

“Ya…”

“Well, we take those pictures so we can remember the good times we had until the next reunion. And you know how Corey’s dad always took a bunch of pictures?”

“Ya…” Mary, finished with the article, walks over to the table and sits down.

“Well, Corey’s dad took all those pictures because Corey has to go somewhere. His dad wants to remember all the good times they had together.”

Trevor looks at his mom who smiles softly, in a comforting manner. Trevor looks back at his dad and asks, “So, Corey and his dad will see each other someday, then?”

Scott and Mary look at each other. Trevor slides off his dad’s lap and walks into the other room. Mary feels bad about treating Mark so poorly. Trevor walks back in the room with a piece of paper. He sits back on his dad’s lap. He’s holding the picture that Mark snapped of the car jump. Trevor looks at the picture and runs his finger along the path of the car. A tear streaks down his cheek.

“I like this picture.”

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