Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Picture

Forgive this other trip down memory lane.... I wrote this during my senior year of college (1991) when I found a picture of me and my brother. The sentiment remains the same -- I just updated the # of years since. Enjoy -- A.

I found a picture the other day. It was an old 8 x 10 of two children. The edges were yellowed, but the central picture was still intact. One of the children was a girl no more than seven and the other was a little boy no older than two. Those kids represented every kid in America.

The girl had chin-length hair with bangs closely cropped just above the eyebrows. She had sparkling blue eyes, and a snaggled-toothed smile. Her eyes showed a certain look that said, "I'm seven, and I'm taking on the world." It was obvious that she had just lost an upper tooth, and her smile showed her pride in losing that tooth. She wore a white shirt with puffy short sleeves and a denim jumper. On the bottom of the jumper, there was a rainbow and clouds that had been silkscreened on the material. Her knees were scraped, but not badly. What little girl, out having fun with her friends, wouldn't have scraped knees?

The boy was wearing a white shirt with the Liberty Bell embroidered on it and a pair of blue shorts. He had just gotten in a few teeth and it too was obvious that they were on display for the world. He had the same honey-colored hair as the girl in the picture and the same sparkling blue eyes. His eyes showed a world of promise before him. His tennis shoes were slightly dirty on the bottom. But what young growing boy, out discovering that great big wide world we call home, wouldn't have dirty tennis shoes?

Their parents were rather chagrined by the scraped knees and dirty shoes and tried to reschedule the appointment for another time. The photographer stopped them, saying that the children were charming and that he wouldn't change a thing. Only partially convinced, the parents chose to trust him and the essence of the moment was captured on film and paper. The sweet smiles, the big blue eyes, the charm -- all of it there for the world to see.

I stare at the picture more closely and notice a date: April 1977. Over 28 years have passed since that moment was frozen in time. I often sit and wonder what happened to the two children. Are they alive or did they die? Do they still have that innocent sparkle in their eyes, or has the world and all its problems taken that shine out? Are they successful by our society's standards, or are they just existing day-to-day? I think I know the answers to those questions. The children are dead, in a sense. Although the people in the picture are very much alive, those children died long ago. But that one moment of childhood innocence now hangs on my wall as a testament to what was, and still can be. I still believe that those childlike faces are special and are still miraculous.

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