Declan's December Awakening

December 23, 2011
By Taylor Albritton BRONZE, Bethlehem, Georgia
Taylor Albritton BRONZE, Bethlehem, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

December had arrived all too quickly in Declan’s eyes for he hated the cold. He loathed the constant teeth-chattering, and the burden of having to lug around fifteen extra pairs of clothes, while never quite reaching the desired temperature of being warm anyways. The cold also reminded Declan of himself and the disastrous state of his life. He had become a bitter man, his veins pumped blood slowly as the ice within him grew thicker with his growing resentment. His heart had been lifeless for many years now, replaced with an emptiness that seized every crevice of his soul. Declan remembered a time of great joy in his life, as he stared blankly toward the oncoming asphalt out of his Pontiac’s cracked wind-shield. This time in his life was recklessly spent finding beauty in everything. It was the reason he devoted his life and profession to photography in the first place; the adrenaline that rushed through him at the excitement of taking a new picture depicting a beautiful scene or a small child playing in the yard. However, the excitement Declan once felt from behind his camera lens had seemingly faded, ultimately deteriorating the other elements of Declan’s life along with it.
Fearing he would soon drift into a permanent state of callousness, Declan longed to find a spark hiding inside of him somewhere. Declan’s hope was dwindling as he had been driving for hours now. After driving along a majestic image of a frozen lake surrounded by snow-covered trees and watching the beautiful morning sunrise without elating any sort of emotion reaction, it seemed as if it was a lost cause. He wasn’t a big conformer to the idea of fate or superstition, but maybe this was a sign. Maybe change was in fact inevitable, and this plague that was now his life was the way it was destined to end up. Yet, photography was all he had left. It was sort of his trademark, his way of life that transformed him for so long a time. Declan was born to photograph. He had tried his hand at family man, tried to be a husband to a young woman with hopes to someday raise a family. He had tried to make it to all those family reunions and reminiscence despite failing to recognize half the people present. However, the cumulating pressures and tribulations distracted Declan from the finer things, and the people around him found that he wasn’t trying hard enough. He soon discovered that the only vocation he didn’t have to try at was his photography. It wasn’t even difficult for him to uncover the photogenic; the beautiful seemingly came to him, and to Declan, this feeling, a feeling that dictated the path of his life, was worth so much more than surrender.
The sunlight was fading, and the gas tank had read empty for a number of miles with no sight of nearby gas stations or resting places. As Declan continued driving, the wind began to howl violently, making the trees dance in all different directions. Once the wind had ceased, strangely the trees’ extremities seemed to navigate toward an upcoming opening on the side of the road. Whether sleep-deprivation or delusions from not eating all day were the cause of these peculiar images Declan wasn’t quite sure, but he wasn’t about to give his hallucinations a second thought. However, a sharp pain in his gut and the realization that soon he would be stuck on this deserted stretch of road, he chose to follow Mother Nature's commands. His Pontiac slowed down, and turned onto a dim-lit, unpaved road. The trees lined the side of Declan’s car and the wind whispered through the leaves, as the branches all reached toward a small light at the end of the gravel road. Awaiting Declan was a petite-sized farmhouse which sat deep in the woods, a faint gleam from its porch light radiating through the brink of night. It seemed to be abandoned, as the antique exterior was mostly tattered and bruised. The land surrounding the house was bare and the colors of the trees looked drained. A familiar feeling of loneliness presented itself through the stillness of the shadows. Declan, intrigued with curiosity, got out of his car and began to explore, finding many unexpected discoveries.
Inside the house, Declan wandered through each room carefully, memorizing every inch of space he could with his eyes. He traced the patterns of the walls, the outlines of the different furniture shapes, and the indentions made along the floors. It was simplistic, yet beautiful. Its many flaws stitched together to create a place of security, to create a home. Declan's blood began pumping faster with every room he walked through. This was it; this was his spark he had been longing to revive. He nearly sprinted back out to his car, grabbed his camera bag, and without hesitation reached for his camera, brushing off the dust that clung to its sides. He started with the outside, snapping pictures left and right. His finger seemed permanently fixed on top of the camera button, as if departure from it never occurred. He followed this way throughout the rest of the house, the clicking beneath his finger rarely ceasing. The once diminished rush returned in full force and it was revival in its purest form.
As Declan's tour through the house led him up a flight of creaky stairs, he found himself staring at a door he hadn't noticed before. It was different from the rest of the house; slightly, but still separate somehow. It looked older and more used. The handle was a mixture of rust and brass, and the color faded from what seemed to be a bright yellow to a dull, brown. Slowly, he opened the door and was greeted by darkness. Taking only a few steps, searching for light of some kind, Declan nearly tripped over an array of large boxes. His curiosity continuing to lead his actions, he brought down each box and unloaded them on the porch, learning under its light’s faint illumination. Inside each box rested all of the secrets of Declan's new muse. Hundreds of pictures, in both albums and scattered stacks, presented themselves to the re-invigorated artist. Revealed were pictures of children laughing and running through the sprinklers, spouses lounging together in the porch rocking-chairs, family reunions similar to Declan's, but instead love and admiration seemed present in everyone’s eyes. It was a moment Declan had never experienced before. This house, once full of so much love and joy, was now empty. The change in its atmosphere paralleled his life so well, as Declan's life was too filled with an abundance of love now replaced with silence. The difference between the two being; the new found silence of the house still remained alluring. The silence of Declan's life carried a despondent and forlorn quality. As he sat on the porch, covered with both his modern pictures and the aged found in the attic, he compared his journey to that of the little farmhouse's. He contemplated the possibility of rebirth, a chance to start anew. He wondered about the strangers that smiled up at him through the rectangular pieces of film. He thought about their present states, and how each individual may have ended up. He hoped the children were now parents, and the parents were now grand-parents. He imagined the many family reunions he hoped they still had, and he could hear all the laughing from the captured expressions filling the air around him. As the night drew on and as Declan unfiled every photo, he took a moment to relish in the quietness. He sat undisturbed in an old rocking chair, on the porch of that little farmhouse, closed his eyes, and smiled. It was the realest form of affection he had emitted since the dismantling of his life had begun. And through the stillness, Declan concluded that while change is inevitable, suffering is not, and as the night grew bolder, his courage to resurrect his life’s recent desolation did too.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

Windermom said...
on Dec. 31 2011 at 4:09 am
I could feel the cold winter air and see the old farmhouse. The lifelessness of Delcan came through so clearly...up and coming writer. I really enjoyed how the author developed the story

Dawgfan said...
on Dec. 29 2011 at 3:56 pm
Very thoughtful entry.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!