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Perfect. Picture perfect.
Jacey smiled to herself as she snapped the picture of a couple holding hands walking in the park. Both of them were smiling, and as she watched them, occasionally the girl would giggle and the guy would just smile at his girlfriend, proud to have made her laugh. They looked so happy together - like those couples in the movies where they’ve gone through hell just to be together. Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe he’s Romeo and she’s Juliet. Ahh, whatever, it’s none of my business though. Jacey turned around and aimed the camera at the curved path that she had walked to get to the center of the park.
Ever since high school she had always felt the need to take pictures to document her life. If there was something important to her, she’d snap a picture. If she saw something interesting on her way home from school, she’d snap a picture. She never really considered it a hobby, no. Professional photographers take pictures because they want money, because they want recognition, because they think something looks cool in a certain light or position - but Jacey wasn’t like that. She took pictures to remember. After she started high school, she would go home and realize how much of her day she couldn’t quite remember. But taking pictures was a solution for that – there was no way that she could forget if she just went back and looked at her photos. This way she would remember everything.
With her left eye closed, Jacey squinted her right eye and adjusted the aperture. She brought a boy sitting on a park bench into focus before snapping a picture. Then letting her camera hang from her neck, she shoved her hands into her pockets, and started walking back towards the park entrance in the direction of the boy on the bench.
As she strolled towards the bench, she paused when she recognized the boy. Apparently he saw and recognized her too because he sat up as she approached him.
“Hi Jacey! What brings you here?” he asked.
“Hi Allen, I was just walking through…” he smiled a little and gestured for her to sit down on the bench next to him. Hesitantly, she obliged, but sat a good distance away from him and awkwardly held her camera close to her. There was an uncomfortable silence before she spoke up again. “So…why are you here?”
“Well…” he paused. “I got stood up.”
“…oh.” Jacey immediately felt bad for asking. This is awkward…what should I say to him?
Not knowing what to do, she picked up her camera and acting out on instinct she aimed it at Allen.
“What’re you doing?” he asked.
“Taking a picture, silly.” She said as she adjusted the lens.
“Right now?! Hold o –“ Click. “Ah.”
Jacey laughed as she lowered the camera from her face. “That’s an attractive face, Allen.”
“Pshh. You took it when I wasn’t ready.” He said with a half-smile. Then his face dropped a little and he took on a serious tone. “Why do you take so many pictures anyways?” It was an honest question.
“I take them because I don’t want to forget.” she said.
“Forget? Forget what?” he asked.
“Everything…The best moments in life, the saddest, the happiest – I don’t ever want to forget them so I take pictures to help me remember.”
Allen laughed a little. Offended, Jacey frowned and shot a glare at him. Then, realizing how she had taken it, Allen spoke up again.
“Why don’t you just try to remember?” he asked.
What kind of advice is that?!
“I DO try. I can’t though so I take pictures instead.” she retorted, irritated. Allen, just looked away from her, folded his arms behind his head and leaned back on the bench and looked towards the sunset.
“Sometimes, memories are better than any picture, you know.”
Jacey was silent.
“A photograph shows what happened. But if you have a memory, you can feel what happened. I think it’s better than anything you could get from a picture.” Allen blinked once and turned to face her on the opposite end of the bench. “So that’s why you should try remembering more often.” He smiled at her and she didn't know what to say.
The two of them sat on the bench for a few more minutes before Jacey grabbed her bag and stood up.
“It’s getting late, I think I should go home now.” To her surprise, Allen stood up too.
“Can I walk you home?” he asked. This caught her off-guard.
“Relax, it’s not like I’m going to kidnap you or stalk you or anything like that.” He laughed again but this time Jacey laughed with him.
“Fine, I guess you can.” She smiled and they left the park together.
Ten minutes later, they were standing outside of her house.
“Hey, Jacey, thanks for keeping me company when I, you know... at the park…I was sad before, but now I’m in a good mood.” He smiled at her again so she took a picture of him. “Another one??? Really now?” He was laughing.
“I just want to remember!” she pouted. When Allen stopped laughing, he gave Jacey a half-smile and looked right into her eyes.
“I told you, memories are better than photographs.”
Then Allen quickly kissed her on the cheek and turned to leave. “Goodnight Jace, thanks again!” he said before he walked off leaving her frozen on her front porch.
Did that really happen?
No, it couldn’t have.
But it did.
There’s no proof of it though.
Jacey snapped out of her dazed state as she unlocked her front door and slipped into her house. Setting her camera down she smiled and touched her right cheek where Allen had kissed her and replayed the memory over again in her head.