Velma was troubled.
It was bad enough that this was the anniversary of the day her beloved was cruelly ripped from her life, the result of a tragic plumbing accident that no one saw coming. It was even worse that Velma, on a simple quest to procure a sloe gin fizz, had made a wrong turn and found herself in the very room where she had learned that methane gas was a silent killer.
Velma paused to reflect at the fireplace, the provider of those warm, cheery flames that had been the focus of so many beautiful evenings, until that horrid night when the peaceful glow had rudely ignited gasses that shouldn’t have been wafting nearby. She studied the matching chairs, once occupied by her and her lover as they giggled mischievously and made the servants run fetch things that neither of them really wanted. She even contemplated the early prototype of a paper shredder, placed lovingly next to the erstwhile throne of her departed. (It was really just an art-deco marble box wherein they tossed incriminating papers, which were then retrieved by the tormented staff so they could cut the documents up with scissors. Progress sometimes takes tiny steps.)
Yes, Velma had suffered many losses. But since she was currently unable to locate any alcohol to numb her grief, she suddenly had an epiphany of clarity, and she decided it was time to retake control of her life. She took a deep breath, held her head high, and approached the photographer who was sitting just out of view, tapping away on his laptop.
Velma: “Picture Man?”
Photographer, all snooty: “I am Girard. I do not merely take pictures, I capture the essence of life. Praise me.”
Velma: “How interesting. But before we get to the praising part that will most likely not happen, I do have a question for you.”
Girard: “You are doubting my transcendent skills?”
Velma: “I don’t think doubt is the right word. I’m leaning more toward the word conviction that you are a twat. What’s up with the weird little photo effect you used to mock my grief?”
Girard: “It is not of the mocking. I am trying to represent your shattered existence.”
Velma: “Well, it looks like you are trying to send a braille message to Helen Keller. “
Girard: “This Helen of Keller. Does she write for the newspapers? Will she make me more famous than I already am?”
Velma: “I highly doubt it, but dream away if you must. Before you do, though, let’s take another photo. One that is less arty and doesn’t imply that I’m a heroin addict trying to claw my way into Valentino’s tomb. Can you manage that?”
Girard: “Managing that, as you say, requires my fee to increase. I am Girard.”
Velma: “No, you are Felix from Hoboken who happened to trend on social media during an otherwise boring Tuesday through no merit of your own. I can snuff out your career with one single post to my 4 billion followers. Would you like to see that play out?”
Felix: “No madam. That is not something I relish. Perhaps we could start afresh?”
Velma: “Oh, we’ve already started. Now, turn off all those filters and let’s take a picture that actually captures what I am instead of what people think I should be.”
Previously published. Slight changes made. Yes, I know that last line veers off unexpectedly and doesn’t quite gel with the preceding bit, but I like the food for thought in this age of social media…
Special shout-out to Angie and Lynette, with whom I had a conversation on the previous post that triggered my memory of other photos in my archived stories that have this same Helen-Keller braille overlaying the images…
Categories: Past Imperfect