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silly pictures

Silly pictures.

That's all they are now. Just silly, little pictures, snapshots that could very well be from another life. Another life that was lived by another person, not you, oh no. The plastic cover falls to the floor as you hold the photograph in your hands, a little piece of yesterday.

The girl on the swing is laughing, something that you forgot to do along the way. There was a time when you would laugh, laugh because you were just happy to be alive, so happy. No worries or no cares on your mind, just the wind and a pair of strong hands on your back as you swung, higher, faster, the sun beating down on your skin.

That was you, once. That was you, laughing before you even forgot how to smile.

The boy in the picture's grinning too. He's pale, paler than the girl, the dark shock of hair falling into his eyes. You always kept on telling him he needed a haircut and he always kept on telling you that he knew what he needed and a haircut was not one of his priorities. He's smiling, a wide grin, even though the look in his eyes shows that he's far, far away.

A silly little snapshot from another life that you forgot about. The boy's long gone, six feet under by now. You were the only one who made him smile and you should be happy about it, but it's so little to be happy about. He looked beautiful when he smiled.

He looked beautiful when he slept.

He looked even more beautiful in the coffin, eyes closed as if he was sleeping, hands clasped across his chest. Of course, you didn't see him in the coffin; you couldn't bear to see him there. You stayed away that day, letting someone else tell you until you couldn't take it anymore and you ran to your room.

That's was the day you hid that silly little photograph. That was a year ago, so much time that you had even forgotten about it. It remained there, in the space between the cupboard and the wall, wrapped in plastic. It remained there, hidden for so long until you took it out today.

The boy in the photo smiles. The girl laughs. You close your eyes. In your head, the boy's stopped smiling and it's raining. The girl still sits on her swing, looking up at the boy with the hair that falls over his eyes now matted to his forehead.

And you can smell the rain, the earth around you. You can feel the droplets on your skin again, and you can see him standing in front of you. He lets the rain trickle over his skin, soaking both him and you to the skin and you can feel the cold wind, you shiver because of the chill that you feel. He turns his face to the sky, eyes closed.

He looks beautiful, like an angel that had forgotten how to fly, an angel with broken, bedraggled wings.

And you hear him talk, above the patter of the rain and the wind slamming the windows of the house behind you shut, you can hear his voice speak, softly. It doesn't make sense to you at first, it doesn't make any sense until you realize that he's not talking to you now, he's talking to someone else, someone up there in the sky.

"Thank you for this," he whispers, and for a second, it's like all noise stops, only his whisper, hanging in the air, echoing in your ears. And his footsteps as he comes towards you, the mud under his feet and his hands on your cheeks. Cold hands that brush the wet hair out of your eyes as he kisses you, on your forehead. Just like your father used to, so long ago.

For one second… everything's okay. But when you open your eyes again, there is no boy. There is no rain and there is no angel with broken wings. There is no angel looking up at the sky and longing to back to where he belonged because…

He's already gone.

And you smile, one small smile, because you know that at least, he's back home now. Where he belongs. You smile because at least you hold a piece of him, with you forever.

A piece of him… and a silly picture that will never fade.



© Marziya Mohammedali, 2001-2013