Guest Story – The Photograph – Short Fiction Story
“Oh GOD…the room is a mess again. No mom. Not again. Please try to understand that the photo you are searching is not there in this house. So please mom don’t make a mess of everything and give me more work. I can’t clean this up. It’s tiring”. Jenny spoke as she wondered where she should start the cleaning up. The papers from the files in the rack lay in all directions. The clothes from the closet were thrown everywhere in the room. 10 year old Ryan’s toy basket was lying upside down with the toys strewn around. The study table was pushed away.
Jenny’s mom Maria was a 78 year old lady. Her skin was wrinkled out and her eyes pale. But there was a glow and determination in her eyes that she would find the photograph one day. The first photo which she and Steve had got clicked as a husband and wife in the backdrop of the beautiful church where their wedding took place. It was 52 years since their marriage. In fact Maria had herself long forgotten about the photo. It was only 2 years back when Steve was in a critical condition in the hospital that he held Maria’s hand and said how lucky he was to have her as his wife and remembered their wedding days. He had told he would love to see that photograph before passing away. Maria’s search for the photo began then.
Even though Maria lived in daughter Jenny’s house after Steve passed away and she didn’t even have a faint idea as to where the photo would be, she would search every nook and corner of Jenny’s house for the photo. It resulted in the house being a mess and often Jenny’s husband would get mad at Maria. Jenny would be disturbed to see her mom being shouted at and yet would feel helpless. She had tried a thousand ways to explain to her mom that they had lost the photo long ago and they would not find it no matter what. But Maria was not the one to give up. She would say that she will find the photo one day.
“Ryan..take care of yourself and grandma. Don’t trouble her. We will be back soon. Love you”. Jenny said as she got in to the car with her husband to attend a party. As soon as they were off, Ryan came inside the home, held Maria’s hands and asked her what is it that she keeps searching all the time. Maria told him about the photo. Ryan made her sit on the sofa and said ‘Don’t worry grandma. I will help you find it. Tell me what are the things you got when you moved in here with mom?’ Maria tried hard to remember and told him she had very few stuff like her clothes, her jewellery, her medicines and few other necessary things. She said she did not know what Jenny did with the rest. She said she had seen Jenny carrying a brown colour bag from her house, but didn’t know what was in it or where it was.
Ryan immediately walked out and got the ladder and climbed up the attic. He started searching for the brown bag. He discovered too many bags and boxes there and started moving each one aside. The brown bag lay in a corner amidst lots of dust. He picked it up and opened it. He found files, papers, magazines, letters everything but not the photo. He also found a key in the bag, but could not find out to which lock it belonged. Disappointed he started walking out of the attic. As he stepped out, his legs stumbled on a suitcase. Curious, he took it to see it locked. He tried opening it with the key he found there and to his surprise it opened. He started searching everything in the suitcase. He found a book. The label on the book said Jennifer Collins, Class 1, drawing book. He opened it to see various drawings his mom had done as a child. As he flipped to the last page, he saw a photo. He took the photo in his hand. The photo had a beautiful young girl holding flowers in one hand and the other hand held by a handsome man. There was a beautiful church in the backdrop. Somebody had written on the back of the photo ‘Maria weds Steve – 8th August 1960′. Ryan knew it was this photo that Maria was searching all along and ran down shouting “Grandma..I got it..I got it”. Jenny entered the house to the screams of Ryan and asked him what happened. Ryan told he searched the attic and found the photo Maria was looking for. Excited, both of them rushed to the room to show it to Maria.
They were shocked to see Maria lying on the floor. They rushed her to the hospital. The doctors said she had suffered a heart attack and was serious. Ryan pleaded with the doctors to let him see his grandma once. He sat by his grandma on the bed and whispered in her ears “Grandma, you look so beautiful in this picture and about grandpa..well what to say about him..he is the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. Don’t you agree? Just see him once..he is smiling at you”.
With all the pain her body was going through, Maria opened her sparkling eyes. She saw the photo once before closing her eyes forever.
About Sheela Manohar: I am a software engineer
Image – bladeblogs.com/color-combinations-for-a-vintage-wedding