Picture Perfect 100
Dan hoped so because the living hadn’t much to tell him yet.
He locked the door after her. He checked the back door to make sure it was locked. He didn’t want any surprise visitors from the present to join with the ones from the past. Dan sent a text to Dell and Strong to have them find out who owns the family house in New Waterford and also what happened to the business located on Plummer Ave. He has assumed those properties were sold when the family moved to Toronto.
He turned on the upstair’s hall light and went to the door of his room. He took pictures of it opened slowly with the sun coming through the windows.
Other than a bed the room was empty. It was a single bed, similar to the one he had as a boy but it wasn’t the one he had as a boy, because it had been shipped to Toronto along with the entire contents of his room. All except for the ‘ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK’ which he was told been accidentally torn up by the movers.
There was linen and pillows at the head of the bed. Coat hangers in the closet. He tried to reach up over the closet shelf but couldn’t. He pushed the bed over and stood on it. He was able to access his secret spot. There was an rough space just above the closet. It was opening about five inches high that opened into the ceiling over his room.
He was able to peer into the space and illuminated it with his cellphone. He had never seen into it this deeply before. He set his camera for continuous as he pulled out a couple of cigar boxes and a cookie tin he had stashed there. There was nothing deeper than he dared to reach as a child. He put the boxes on the shelf behind him. Once he was sure there wasn’t anything else there he put the bed back to where he used to sleep on it when this was his room.
In the kitchen he found some paper towels under the sink and wiped the black dust off the boxes after taking pictures of them. This alone was worth coming here. He hadn’t remembered them until the door to the room opened.
He resisted the temptation to open the boxes & dump the contents on the counter. He suspected that if he was in the house much longer Marge would knock on the door to make sure everything was all right.
He found a garbage bag & carefully stacked the boxes in it. After locking the front door he dropped the keys into Marge’s mailbox and went to his car. Back at La Promenade he bought a newspaper & placed it over the top of the desk, set the Lifend on its tripod to record his opening of the boxes.
“Earlier today I found these boxes where I had hidden them in my bedroom in July 1984. Only I knew they were there and so when Linda and my mother packed the house for the move these were still there.
He picked up the smallest of them & rotated it for the camera.
“I loved little boxes for hiding things in. I still do, only now it’s pockets in coats, shoulder bags, camera bags. I’m not sure what this wood is. Perhaps pine but the cigars are from … well I can’t make out the name.”
He opened the box and in it were some post cards, photographs and cereal box tops.
“I was saving box tops to send away for a kite kit. I guess I never got it. These postcards are from a postcard club I joined. It was a game in which you sent a postcard to each of top three the names on the list. Then cross the top name off and add yours to the bottom. These are from Uganda and Bombay. I got a dozen or so but no more after we moved when we moved. There were others from places in Canada but I only kept the ones from far away.”
He looked at the photos.
“I took these pictures with my first camera. They are of kids in the neighbourhood. This is Darrell McLeod. I ran into his mother this afternoon. I don’t recall who these girls are but I think the dog is Darrell’s. Scatter was his name.”
“Here’s the very first picture I took.” He turned it over and that was printed on the back. It was of his mother sitting in the kitchen with sun lighting one side of her face. “It’s of my mother so I could prove to my Dad I was ready to take portraits and that they’d be as good as his. She’s smoking here and having a cup of tea. Probably taking a break before she gets supper ready. That’s natural sunset light.”
“This next one is one Linda took of me taking a picture of a rose on the bush in the backyard of the house. My mother was so proud that she had planted something that grew.”
The next several were all similar – a picture his dad had taken of him and his sister taking pictures of each other.
“We went nuts that day. Stalking each other around the house to get unexpected pictures. I locked myself in the bathroom to take a leak in peace. So did Linda too.” Dan laughed. “Here we are taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. We thought was so hilarious.”
“I was so pissed my camera could only take twelve shots before I had to put in another roll. Dad made us stop after three rolls each because they didn’t grow on trees. Only twelve exposures per roll. Only twelve! Fuck my Lifend can hold thousands, millions if I included cloud storage.”
The last one was of the three of them, him, Linda, his father in front the wide mirror in the dining room taking a picture of three of themselves.
“Oh my God. This last one is a classic. There was an enlargement of it in the shop window when we first opened in Toronto. Here we are in front the wide mirror in the dining room taking one of the first mirror selfies. This must be my shot as my face in a little blurred looking up from the view finder. I just had to make sure my face was in the picture. Mom was hiding in the kitchen.”
As he looked at each he checked the back to see what written there. The edges of all the pictures were date stamped by the developer except the ones his Dad had taken, which he developed himself. The only note was ‘my first picture.’
“That’s all there in this first box. No rare coins.”