In August 2018, Zeroflash published my story on the stand alone flash pieces page of their website. You’ll have to scroll down the page a bit to find it. Or read it below. This is a story of a photo found in the trash and a remembrance of the moment it was taken.
by DL Shirey
Her eyes flame from the camera flash. Mother looks like she saw the devil and is just about to scream. In the picture she’s with her sisters. Beck is celebrating thirty, Maggie six years older, Mother in the middle. Beck’s puffed cheeks prepare to blow candles. Maggie, always talking, is caught mid-sentence, so her teeth show like a grin. Mother has seen the camera, a blurred wine glass rushes to block her face, the flat of her irises reflecting fire.
Halves of this photo, found in the garbage, are now whole under yellowed cellophane tape.
The picture taker was seven. He now knows why Mother got so angry. Why people were family one minute, then the anger made them act like strangers. But at seven he wondered why parties were never at his house, and when everyone did get together, why his folks were always first to leave. Dad said it was the long drive back. Mother didn’t say anything, had her arms folded tight against her chest.
It was a long drive. Me in the back seat. Dad never talked, his eyes hard ahead in the rearview mirror. Mother was slumped beside him, softly snoring.