This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
Ann has been driving her car at a maddening speed. She had never been blackmailed the way it was done today morning. The car came to a halt at last. She stopped by a building and in a fit of anger, took out a bag from the rear. The label on the bag read John Davies. She sat on a wall opposite the huge glassed building. It took her a few minutes to unpack the bag and unload the contents. And there it was; the one thing which she hates the most and John loves the most – his camera. She set in on the tripod stand and started staring at it with jealousy. This piece of plastic had deprived her of the love of John – her father.
John had married his camera after the untimely demise of his wife when Ann was just five years old. He would go out on long trips somewhere around the globe clicking pictures like a mad person. And Ann started growing up in her grandparents’ house where her father used to come to meet her once in a while; of course with his camera dangling on his neck.
FEW DAYS AGO…
That day was very usual until John came home after his very long tour of Mt. Rushmore and started searching for Ann.
“Ann, where are you?”
“She has been to her friend’s place for a party since yesterday night”, replied Ann’s grandfather.
Ann arrived an hour later, a smile on her face thinking about last night’s party. Her smile vanished on seeing her dad. She quickly ran into her room and locked it from inside. Her father called her out.
“Ann, please come out. I would like to talk with you. Please do not turn your back on me.”
“Dad, go away, I am happy in my own space and world without you. Please go away”. But deep inside she knew she longed for her dad’s love.
“Ann, please come out, I would like to talk with you. I would like to click a picture of you. ”
Ann seethed with anger. “Dad, I have told you a lot of times before that I don’t like getting clicked with that camera of yours”.
“One picture please Ann, I promise I will not disturb you again. Let this be a final wish of mine that I put in front of you. I won’t ask you for anything in the future. A final picture of yours I promise”.
Blackmailing, Ann thought but she agreed because she might be relieved of this after that. And there she was sitting and staring at the camera that took her dad away from her. Her dad had asked her to bring it along with her.
A spill of liquid on her face brought her back to senses. She stood still looking at the scene in front of her. Her dad’s body lay there on the road eagle like, hands and legs spread out. His hands and face were covered with blood. He was hit by a speeding truck while crossing the lane. Her dad’s blood had brought her back to senses. When she got up, the bag on her lap fell down. An album from the bag fell down revealing a letter.
I have never been a great father. I never took care of you, never talked with you properly, never took part in your happy moments, never gave you a shoulder to cry during sad moments, never been with you ever. The death of your mother changed me as a person completely. I wanted to forget her demise and indulged myself completely in photography which I thought was my passion. I realized very late in my life that I took this up just to forget her demise, eventually forgetting you completely. I wanted to say sorry and come back to you. I know you would never forgive me. I wrote this letter to tell you how much I missed you after I realized my mistake. I hope I never have to show you this letter since I was confident that you will forgive me in this life time. This album is a collection of your pictures from childhood. It just needs one final picture to complete this album of your teen age.
Tears rolled down her cheeks on seeing the missing photo in the album.