The Photograph: Day 5

5 Nov

Today,  instead of using the Daily Prompt, I though I’d try The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge.  Here’s to Day Five of NaBloPoMo.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Prove it!

This week’s challenge couldn’t be simpler: tell a story based on this picture.

The Photograph

Marianne led the way to the front of the house.  She was surprised to find that, though she had been planning the evening’s party for months – happily absorbed in every detail from linen patterns to dessert coffees –  she felt more excited about capturing the three of them in their best than to greet her guests in less than an hour.

“Martin, you stand in the middle, ” she said.  She let go of Michael’s hand and lined him up on one side, setting Lily down on the other.

Marianne tipped Michael’s hat back from his eyes.  She straightened his bangs, then impulsively took his face in her hands and with heavily painted lips kissed the tip of his nose.  Michael vigorously rubbed the deep red mark until he felt satisfied nothing remained.

Next in line, she straightened Martin’s tie and brushed the shoulders of his coat, more from habit than of actual need. She stepped back and judged him ready, then stood on her toes to kiss him, too.  He, at least, discreetly cleared his face of Marianne’s favorite shade.

Finally, she pulled an unwilling Lily a  foot closer to Martin.  She fixed the top button on Lily’s hand-me-down coat, tugged at each sleeve, and, to complete the trifecta, marked her daughter with a smaller, fainter  “o” on her chubby cheek.   Lily rubbed her nose like both the others had done.  Michael shook his head at his sister, then turned his face back towards his mother.

Marianne ran to the end of the sidewalk to assess the shot.

“Almost perfect,” she said. “Martin, grab each hand.  Lily, hold up your purse and Michael, step even closer to Martin.”

Martin, like the children, did as he was told.  He grasped each small hand firmly in his own –  Lily’s scratchy white glove in one and the boy’s sticky, sweaty palm in the other.

“On three, okay?” Marianne said.

The three waited uncomfortably, each equally unsure as to how, in fact, they came to be standing here in this moment with one another.  Lily desperately wanted to throw aside her horrid gloves, run back into the warm, familiar parlor and suck on the piece of lolly she had shoved into her little bag.

Michael, too, wished himself back into the house.  He had been deemed – just that morning – “old enough” to help Katie ready the food for the party.  He was anxious to return to his duties, thinking of the warm cake he and Katie had watched rise and the bowl of icing she promised he could help spread when he came back in.

Martin, however, found himself thinking of absolutely nothing.  He, like the children, wanted to be far away from this unassuming discomfort. He tried to conjure images of himself on warm beaches. He thought of small, dark bars and then of wide, people-filled streets and then, really, anywhere else but here in front of the cropped arbovitaes he helped to move last Sunday.

Even with his eyes tightly closed, he could only see his black shoes shining against the cracked pavement next to a small pair of Mary Janes and a pair of stunted wingtips.

Marianne ticked off the numbers.

On the count of three, Martin opened his eyes, instantly blinded by the flash.

2 Responses to “The Photograph: Day 5”

  1. Ruth November 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    so proud. you are absolutely amazing.

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