It wasn’t even of them together. It was of Him on his own, back to the camera as all the best photos are, staring off at something in the distance. He was walking down a street, it was raining and the smooth slabs of the pavement were shining with the reflections of the lights on the street in red white and green. Not that it was Christmas, it had been July at the time just about as far away from Christmas as one could get, but the lights provided a beautiful effect anyway, albeit a slightly too festive one. The photo had been taken as one of many, those moments when one realises what they are looking at now is really rather pretty and therefore they must cram as many photos in as they can, in the vague hope that when they get home, they will go through them and find one that came out good enough purely by luck. The rest of the bunch had been either blurry or too full of strangers going about their business to be kept, but this tiny gemstone in the rough had been treasured, acclaimed as a work of art, and printed immediately, destined to join the others that will be looked at once a year if they are really very fortunate. The pitiful fate of them as physical pieces of paper was unimportant, their spirit and the mere fact of their existence was all they were needed for, the rare occasions on which he remembered the photo existed and he dug through whatever may be in his cupboards to find it, perhaps to stare at it for a moment remembering some other times, and then back it would go, ready for the next time. He could not remember the last time he had thought of it, if pressed he would guess at about two years.

In a roundabout way whose mere existence concerned him, it provided a good reaffirmation of their friendship. They were people that went on holiday together, people that had photos of each other hidden in shoeboxes under their beds or in dusty dressers, they were surely friends. On days he was overthinking actions, on days that had been full of bad moods, he had a tiny paper slice of proof that they were friends, friends in a friendship that could withstand a bad day or two, or a day of confusion. If they could stay in the same hotel rooms out of choice, plan where they were going to eat breakfast together, share towels and line their shoes up together next to the door, they could probably withstand most things, if just to avoid the inconvenience of untangling their lives. And whilst he utilised the photo for its ability to remind him that his friend would not up and leave him if he accidentally did something wrong, it also reminded him - not that he would ever admit out loud that he sometimes appreciated being reminded - that his friend did indeed care for him. They were close, an uncomfortable and awkward thing to acknowledge, so therefore much nicer to have a physical reminder of sorts that could pat him on the arm and assure him that he had a friend in him.

Having secretly been a treasured possession anyway, it had seemed the logical conclusion to spend the evening after the funeral with it, to find it wherever it lay in a tactically forgotten box under a chair somewhere, and to free it, grant it a rightful place on a shelf or on the mantelpiece. There was no use in hiding it away now, there was no risk of Him walking into the flat and seeing it, making a joke to hide His self-consciousness, and solidifying the obligation to never reveal their appreciation for each other. Much too risky that would be. He was not sure why it was so but he was not sure he wanted to know why either.

It was two hours later now, and the photo was sat on the coffee table before him. There was no frame for it yet although he had decided whilst watching dirt being thrown upon the coffin earlier that day, that he would find one. A smart, plain one, nothing too elegant or decorative, a factual photo frame if that was a thing that existed. Not one that said “this is some pretty scenery”, or “this is just a decoration”, or “here is a nice day I had with my friends”, but one that simply stated His constant presence. Reminded the viewer that He was still here, living through the flat’s inhabitant, nothing emotional or honorable about it, it was simply a fact. They were too intertwined to ever be separated, even in death. 

He had never turned it over any other times, not that that was a decision that he made, he just had not bothered, seeing no reason to. Nobody dug through old magazines they did not need to own anymore just to find a photo so they could look at the back of it. He hadn’t even turned it over this time around, it hadn’t occurred to him to do so but the tears that were accumulating in his eyes had made him drop it as he lifted the box down from the unnecessarily high shelf he had eventually found it on. It had landed face down on the floor and the world had swam around him as he knelt down and recognised his friend’s handwriting smiling back at him. There was a date written in the corner in some kind of fountain pen, which had been smudged but not so much that he couldn’t read it. The writing was mercifully spared, it was even untainted by the sun, carefully preserved in its various homes over the years, and it felt like finding his friend alive again, sitting on his floor in the form of a sentence. It was Him, still here, still speaking to him, not finished, not over, still here. And he knew he would see Him again. He had lost Him for that brief period of time, this week of hell, of being painfully alone in the world, that had been real, but now his friend was back, perhaps he had been in some kind of purgatory, perhaps he had just been resting and waiting around, perhaps the transition to the next life had some kind of delay. But he was there now, he was existing, he was no longer over, he was waiting.

Your beautiful best friend making you look like a tramp as per usual on the streets of Paris

July 17, 2021 18:13

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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