The Photographer

May 14, 2010
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The Photographer

The camera hung loosely from my shoulder. I hadn’t been walking long – the car was parked, maybe, two miles back. I usually have no problem wasting film on peculiar trees and interestingly shaped moss, but I was on assignment; I felt too constrained to produce anything meaningful. It shouldn’t have been difficult; this was a pleasant country. Vast fields of red tulips framed a landscape of pale skies and windy harbors and, most of all, dark forests wherein lived all kinds of beautiful, camera–fearing creatures; deer and rabbits and birds and lynx and, for all I knew, fairies and elves and lawn-gnomes. I snapped a picture of a yellow shrub.

Up, beyond meadows and wooden windmills, were the mountain peaks. I remembered how my brother had hiked up the western-face three years ago - he was gone for two weeks. When he finally wandered back down, half-frozen and near death, he was a different man. He’d found God up there, shivering in some cave. I guess that’s where he’d been hiding.

I was losing myself in thought. I was in that sort of walking-meditation state, you know? I didn’t always take time to think about past events, and to ask myself those vexing questions one needs to ponder, i.e. Should I get married? “No.” Do I need another job? “Maybe.” Do I see my family enough? “I think so, yeah.” Am I satisfied with my life? “I guess.”

I’d found myself staring down the road at a dog. I walked closer, slowly, as I tried to get a shot of it. It was large, and its dark fur contrasted well with the flowery backdrop. It looked very tired.

Apparently, the dog didn’t like the flash. It leapt at me, but I didn’t feel too threatened. Then it latched onto my arm; I screamed in pain as it began to scratch and claw at me. I swung the bothersome camera wildly until it was smashed to pieces, and the dog was quite still. I kind of hoped that it wasn’t dead. I was bleeding a little from the arms and face, but I didn’t yet turn back. I don’t know… I felt like walking a little more, I guess. And, sure, I wouldn’t make deadline, and my editor wouldn’t be happy with me, but this was a justifiable loss, because the sun was just now casting everything into a warm glow, and the breeze hitting my broken skin produced a pleasing sensation.

I wandered for a while. I looked up when the flowers and trees had given way to rolling hills and fields of grain. Ahead, there sat an ancient farmhouse, barely standing on worn wooden supports. This was perfect – this was my front-page scenery shot – and I had used my camera as a blunt weapon against a stray dog. Story of my life. Wait… what? Never mind. I walked up the path to the steps of the porch.

I sat on a step and surveyed the landscape – from here I could see, just barely, the glint of water beyond the distant forest. To my left, someone was approaching through the tall grass, whistling.
“Hello there!” His voice was jovial.

Ah. This is a farmhouse, I thought, so that must be the farmer. He was a tall man, long of face and fair-haired. His clothes were caked with dust.
“Hello,” I responded as nonchalantly as possible. “Just admiring your homestead.”
“Beautiful view, isn’t it? Say there, you’re bleeding mister. Let me get you something for that!” said the Farmer as he went into the house. He seemed like a nice guy.

The Farmer returned with some iodine and gauze.
“Oh, yeah. I… got in a fight.” A fight? Seriously? Why didn’t you just say you fell?
“Your first?” said the Farmer earnestly.
“Uh… yeah.” I guess he bought it. “I mean… no… well… I don’t know. I use to work for a tabloid – I got punched by George Clooney one time.”
“Really? What an honor!” applauded the Farmer in mock awe. “I loved him in ‘Rain Man’.” Close enough.
“Tell me; what was going through your mind the moment his fist connected with your face?” said the Farmer, pantomiming. I liked this guy.
“Oh, I’m sure it was something along the lines of, ‘I’ll never wash this cheek again’” I joked.
We laughed.
“Did you build this house?” I asked.
“No… it was my parents’. I’m just watching the place. Do you have family around here?”
“My brother lives in town. We… don’t really see eye-to-eye anymore.”
“That’s a shame. If you can, you really should try to patch things up.”

And something about the way he said it made me want to do that. The Farmer walked over to the fence and whistled shrilly.
“Walter ran off yesterday,” he explained. “You didn’t pass a big black dog, did you?”

I gazed out at the mountains again; I thought about the way my life had turned out. I looked at the Farmer.
“’Haven’t seen him.”

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

7phantomonia said...
Jul. 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm
This should be published in the mag
Esna said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm
0.0 Woah...
NeonPrincess said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm
<3!!! Reeally good!
Nodder said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm
Means a lot to me too, great story!
MentiethZ000 said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Luv this character. Good story.
FaroutFranny said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm
Truly incredible. There's so much meaning in this, and I love the ending.
JnWolf13 replied...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Wow. I love it!
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