Friday, July 6, 2007

A Murdered Dream

A few weeks after my 3rd birthday the roll of photos that included that day's shots were developed. My Father brought them home and laid them out on the coffee table like he was sure they were his best ever. Within minutes my parents were embroiled in an argument: Did the pictures which I posted for Another Crappy Birthday constitute proof that I had two personalities or not?

Not much earlier I would have been allowed to hear such an argument in its entirety because they wouldn't have thought I could understand enough of it. But now they figured I might catch on, so they sent me to bed. It never occurred to them though to check how well the sound carried into my room. I could still hear whenever they talked normally or louder, and they couldn't be bothered to whisper for very long.

My Father never let up telling my Mother she was wrong, but he finally said he would give up photography because of it all. Hearing them arguing, I thought he was quitting because he didn't want to see what was wrong with me in his pictures. I thought it was my fault that he was quitting.

The next day I told him I wanted to talk to him in private about it, "man to man". He thought that was pretty cute.

I said I didn't want him to quit photography because of me. First he chided me for eavesdropping. Then he said he wasn't doing it because I had a split personality -- there were no such things. He said he was quitting because a good photographer would have seen my changing moods when taking the pictures, and not been surprised by them in the developed shots. He was quitting because he was finally admitting to himself that he didn't see human expressions when setting his shots up.

It didn't make a stitch of sense to me.

I had no sense of how good or bad he was at photography, but I didn't see what that mattered. The way I saw it, his love of photography ought to be like his love of me. If his photography isn't very good, that doesn't mean he should kill it.

I still feel very strongly that interests shouldn't be destroyed just because they only stand at knee height. You don't kill children. You let them grow whichever way they reach. Your interests are more than you. They are living things in their own right. You should let them go.

He offered this consolation: He'd finish exposing the remaining film he had, before putting the cameras away for good.

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