HumpDay Quickie #5

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , , ,

Importance

By: Kristen Falso-Capaldi

It was his photo that made her disappear. She was the beauty who sat next to him in sophomore English, the one with chestnut hair and little dresses in swirls of color. She had a nice smile and friends and two feet on the ground. She was opaque.

He was thin, pale. Transparent. He felt himself slipping away.

He loved her then.

He began to follow her. And always with the yearbook camera slung across his back.
He knew every place she went, every conversation she had.

Then. The photo. He snapped it unnoticed from a doorway, then sent it spiraling into the world through a web of wireless routers and fiber optic cables.

What he’d done made him important to certain people. He grew opaque. He was still the shadow following them with a camera, but now they talked to him, waved, shoved beers into his hands. He had to stop loving her; someone had to be the sacrifice.

And she began to fade.

Now they were seniors. Her hair was bleached colorless and her lips painted dark red. She wore black. She floated through the halls unnoticed.

Not by him. In a secret file on his hard drive, he saved the hundreds of photos he’d taken of her over the years. In some, she slept in class, in others she smoked weed by the bleachers. In a few, she was a speck hundreds of feet down a crowded hallway.

Every day, he’d look at them in order, beginning with the first ignominious one, then he’d watch her age and change, drain of color and fade.

Each time he finished looking at them, he’d whisper the same two words.

First: “Sorry.”

Then: “Thanks.”

He snapped the last one at graduation. She was standing by the parking lot, arguing with her mother.

Then, he got up and delivered a speech to his peers about importance.

That night, he placed the final photo in the secret file, then he looked through them one last time.

“Sorry,” he said. Then: “Thanks.” He sat in silence for a few seconds, then dragged the file into the trash.

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