Monday, September 13, 2004

Snapshots

He was an old man now. He was an ordinary man, with hair the color of slate and wrinkled skin. The boxes that covered the coffee table were a testament to his life, a life that had spanned more than eighty years. He was tired. He was going to die soon.

As he leaned over to put his cup on the table, the closest box fell over, spilling its contents. The man couldn't help but notice the faces of the people in the pictures staring up at him. He picked up one photograph, and then another, and another, and he began to remember.

He remembered when he had begun to take pictures. It was the wedding of his brother. The people were joyful. The bride was beautiful. His brother was happy. And the man was alone. He continued to look at the pictures. There were pictures of weddings, of chirstenings, of funerals, of parties. There were pictures of babies, lovers, old people, animals, the heavens, and anything else a man could possibly photograph.

The man recalled how the years had passed, and how he continued to take pictures. As a photographer he had become famous for his beautiful work. He could capture the soul in one of his photographs. But he always watched life through the lens of his camera. Nobody knew the photographer, and the photographer didn't know anyone. And now he was old.

He let the pictures fall from his hand. He suddenly realized that while he had been so busy photographing the lives of others, life itself had passed him by. A single tear dripped slowly down his wrinkled cheek. Only his photographs saw him close his eyes for the last time. Only his photographs saw him die.

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