Hello ladies and gentlemen. (Although mostly ladies, I presume. 😀 ) I’m back with another AAWC story! (See the first one here.)
In case you forgot to remember, I’m participating in Misty’s amazing writing challenge, Aspiring Authors Writing Challenge, or AAWC for short. (Read about it here.) The word prompt for this challenge was “Photograph.” I can collect two extra points for my team if I work my team mascot into the story, so I did! (I’m on Team Swan.)
So Misty, I used both the prompt and the mascot for my story.
This story is quite different from my last one, but I like it a lot. It’s shorter and sweeter I think.
The best way to read this is slowly. 😀
Time, the artist who destroys, had brushed the torn photograph with the trademark yellowed glaze and faded wash of antiquity. But the boy in the photograph stood still in unwavering youth. His serious eyes looked out from his black-and-white world to a brown-and-gray world of scarcely more color than his own, a world of somber shadows and dust and cobwebs. The boy had lived in this dull world for years, alone and frozen in time, but he had not given up his faithful watch. He was waiting. Faithfully, hopefully, always waiting.
One hundred years ago the real boy had sat underneath the window out of which the boy’s paper echo now looked. He was a strong, upright youth with almost twenty years behind him. Beside him sat a slender, dark-haired girl two years his younger. They talked and laughed until suddenly the boy’s face grew serious. His warm brown eyes filled with love as they gazed earnestly into the girl’s blue-gray ones. He clasped her hand in his and whispered something in her ear. The girl flushed and whispered something in return. At that moment a long line of swans flew overhead, their pure white wings catching the last glorious rays of sun. But the two below never noticed. They were too happy.
One year later, the slender girl was arrayed in white, and the smiling boy stood nervously in an impeccable suit and tie. The organ played, and the girl walked down the aisle, her blue-gray eyes sending invisible but meaningful messages to the boy. The moment the two were made one, a long line of sparkling swans flew past the stained glass window, honking in noisy celebration. But the two inside the church never noticed. They were too happy.
The years passed, and Time, the artist who destroys, left the boy lonely, with only a faded photograph of a dark-haired girl with a soft smile to fill the ache in his heart. Soon Time took the boy too.
One day the boy’s great-grandson played underneath the window where the paper echo kept his faithful watch. The little boy was down on his hands and knees, digging with a toy excavator. Suddenly he stopped his play, and peered at something sticking out of the ground. His dirty little fingers grabbed at the paper and held it up curiously. He pondered a moment; then he ran inside.
The boy’s paper echo heard feet coming up the stairs. Who could that be? No one had visited his attic in years. Pattering footsteps drew nearer and nearer, until the boy saw a face loom above him. A chubby, happy boy face, streaked with dirt and mud, blew the dust away from the faded photograph and smiled. The boy’s brown paw fished a piece of paper out of his pocket and placed it beside the boy’s paper echo, lining up the two ripped halves of paper to make one whole. He grinned in satisfaction, and pranced down the steps.
The eyes of the paper echo had changed. Perhaps it was just because the little boy had blown away the dust, but the eyes of the boy in the photograph were no longer sober. They were crinkled up with joy. And his mouth, once a firm line, was smiling – smiling at the face of another paper echo across from him: a girl’s slender face framed in dark hair. His wait was over. His watch was fulfilled. A line of milky swans flew past the dusty attic window, but the two paper echoes never noticed.
They were too happy.
*Sigh* I love happy endings. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading it!