Posted on April 13, 2015April 13, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair4.13.2015 Journal Prompt Image from A Most Violent Year April 13, 2015: These were the good times. Like this:Like Loading... Related
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I like the pictures of before rather than the pictures of after. Maybe that’s because my da took the pictures before and they is all a bit crooked, like he’d a drink in him when he was taking ‘em. And there’s colour in ‘em and always at the edge or behind, a pretty girl, or the flung hem of her skirt, or her hand resting on a table, or her shoe. If you put them all together, ‘em pictures, well, then the subject of ‘em changes and you see that the girl is who he’s really looking at.
‘Course that’s not how we saw ‘em back then. We passed ‘em pictures round and thought they was pictures of me blowing out nine candles on a cake or Sissie holding our dog or mam waving at my da not to take no picture of her and da not minding what she was telling him. Just ordinary is what ‘em pictures look like and just family. But after he left I saw ‘em different.
Her name’s Sandra and she was always the girl next door. Older than us by a handful of years so she was never really a girl to us. And I remember watching Sandra’s mam pegging out the washing and seeing a girl’s scant underwear flapping like well torn flags and imagining Sandra dressing and slipping into those lacey straps and cups and slim gussets. And my da winking ‘cross the fence at Sandra and saying as how she was pretty as picked peaches. And it’s the bits of Sandra I can see in all those pictures of before – her hair flying, or her cheek resting on her hand, or her toes under the table and not in her sandal. And da was looking at Sandra when we thought he was looking at us.
It was a street corner scandal when it happened and they said da was daft and thinking with his cock and not with his head. And Sandra was all kinds of siren and witch and what’s she thinking to be breaking up a family so.
And the pictures of after, well mam takes those, does the best she can to hold the camera steady so they aint blurry, and the ones she takes of me, well, I’m always looking over my shoulder and an empty space behind me which I’m looking into and which mam must be looking at also. And it’s the space he left behind when he left, our da. Like he’s been cut out of where he belongs. And in a hundred pictures, and more than a hundred, there’s just something missing and it’s obvious and mam sees it, too.
Been years now, a whole heap of years, and maybe the dust settles in time, and there’s other scandals shared on street corners these days and the price of bread to deal with and the choice between margarine and butter to make. And da, well, we see him sometimes, and he’s still with Sandra and they got kids of their own which I must call sisters and brothers, and da is always smiling when he sees us, me and Sissie, and he asks how we is doing and how mam is, asking that last in whispers so Sandra don’t hear. And he shows us pictures of what his life is now, pictures of Sandra not any more in bits and pictures of his new family.
And I look at ‘em pictures he takes and I reckon they is something the same as mam’s picutres, because it’s always like there’s something missing in ‘em, and that’s why I still prefer the pictures of before.