The Wandering Polaroid

October 11, 2008
By Sabrina B., Salem, MA

The Wandering Polaroid


Wallis had his grey sweater pushed on his forearms, his big red glasses sliding off the bridge of his nose, and had a cigarette hanging limp at the end of his month while he was hunched over his black and white camera. It was rather cold outside; Wallis could see his breath as he breathed. He photographed fall leaves, countless black boots and the sparse amount of people that passed by him in the park. He stayed there, on the park bench, until it grew dark and colder. He walked home slowly, lighting a new cigarette.
His house was located in the rural part of town. It was a grand, old Victorian home with dark shutters and candles in the windows. Wallis looked up and saw his father opening the door. “Where have you been?” Wallis’ father asked. Behind him, Wallis could see the dim light of the living room and could smell vanilla candles and soup. “I was at the park.” Wallis answered plainly. He entered the house now, walking up the creaking stairs to his room. “Get ready for dinner.” He was greeted by his girlfriend, Aun, when he entered his room. She was reading. “Have you eaten yet?” He asked, sitting next to her on the floor. She nodded. He pushed some of her long brown hair out of her eyes absentmindedly. “Wallis! Dîner!” He heard from downstairs. He sighed. “Not hungry?” Aun asked. Wallis nodded. “I’ll tell them for you.” She closed her book and went downstairs. Wallis changed into a v-neck t-shirt and black pajama pants and went to bed.
Wallis woke up at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday and found Aun on his chest, her hair everywhere. He carefully pulled her off and walked to the bathroom, where he drew a warm bath. He sunk deeper into the water, the warmth engulfing him. He sank deeper until he could no longer breathe. After 5 minutes, he rose and saw Aun sitting before him, watching him. “What are you doing?” She asked, putting her hand in the water. “I was trying to kill myself.” Aun stared at him blankly. Wallis half smiled. “Can you get me my cigarettes, please?” Aun nodded and returned with a pack of Marlboros and a lighter. She lit one for herself. “I hate when you smoke. It doesn’t suit you.” Wallis said, lighting one himself. Aun shrugged. “It doesn’t suit you either.” Wallis laughed harshly. “Your step mom has been wondering when you’re going to get out of the house and do something meaningful.” Aun told Wallis. “I have been going out.” He said simply. “Yes, but besides the park.” Wallis didn’t say anything. “I’d rather stay a recluse.” He said after awhile. “That’s a boring life.” Aun said quietly. “I know.”

“Oh, god, that’s bright.” Wallis complained as his step mother was opening the curtains to the living room. “Bonjour Wallis.” She said. “Have anything planned for today?”
“I’m going to the library.” He knew this would make her happy. It did; she smiled. “With a friend, I hope.” Wallis didn’t want to get her hopes up too high. He asked Aun if she wanted to come along. “I need to finish this book,” was her reply. He put on his mustard yellow and brown scarf and black pea coat and took his camera before heading out the door. It was surprisingly snowing and he snapped a few pictures of the snowy, dark sky as he walked to the library. He looked for a few mangas and found one of his favorite books – The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he had read 5 times before. He took them to the back of the library to read. He saw someone he knew from his old college sitting across from him and tried to hide, but she saw him and walked up to him. “Bonjour Wallis, I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?” Her name was Marjorie. She used to be in his English class in college.
“I’m fine, and yourself?”
“I’m fine as well, thank you. Did you drop out of college? You’re not there anymore.”
“I’m taking online college now.”
“Oh. Why?”
“I was having a hard time focusing. What with the large crowds and frequent note taking. It was too much stimulation for me and I was getting sensory overloads.”
“Oh… I’m sorry.”
“It’s no big deal. But thanks anyway.” He stood up awkwardly, packing up his books. “I… have to go now.”
“Sure, talk to you some other time.” She waved goodbye. She watched him carefully, taking note of his uncombed black hair and overall unkempt appearance. Wallis walked home quickly this time, hoping to avoid any other confrontation with another old and distant friend. “How was the library?” His step mother asked when he arrived home. She was sitting comfortably in the sofa, watching television. “It was fine. I got some books I wanted. And I had a pleasant conversation with a friend.”
“Oh, is that so?”
“Yes.” He walked upstairs before she could say anything else. He undressed and drew a hot bath. This time while sinking deeper, he closed his eyes and didn’t wake up.
Aun found him limp in the tub, water overflowing everywhere. She found a note in his pocket. It read:

Choses à faire: ¹

Essayez de vous réveiller²

N'oubliez pas de montrer à tout le monde que vous êtes bien³

Allez à la bibliothèque 4

4. Abandonner. 5

Things to do:
Try to wake up
Remember to show everyone that you’re okay
Go to the library
Give up.

The author's comments:
I'm not sure what it's supposed to signify. It was for school.

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