Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
By Rebecca Jefferson
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The twenty-seven year old continued to take pictures of the obscure yet unconventional. Unfinished graffiti on a grungy brick wall. An opened tube of flawless red lipstick in a sidewalk crack. A broken blade of grass in an otherwise perfectly tended garden in the Upper West Side.
On the way to Central Park, he passed a statue that caught his attention. There was nothing very unique about it, nothing eye-catching about any divergent feature. It was a figure of Jesus washing the feet of Peter in a bowl, with an inscription below, “DO AS I HAVE DONE TO YOU.” Cody stood back and looked the statue up and down. He carefully snapped a picture of the engraving and continued on to the park.
As always, when exuberant tourists spotted his old-fashioned camera, they ran up to him, tapped him, and begged him to take pictures of them. Whenever he was touched, it pained him like a sore. Their loud, excited conversations seemed like constant shrieks. Even worse were the stares from those around of his awkward movements and occasional fidgeting. No one will ever see me for anything except for that weird photographer dude. Why do I even bother to take pictures of people? I hardly ever get thanked for it. What’s the point?
“Heads up!” said a voice behind him.
Cody turned to face a boy with a camera.
“Ohhhhh...I don’t really like getting my picture taken,” Cody shied away.
“Why? Aren’t you a photographer?”
“Well, yeah, but...it’s a little different...you wouldn’t understand…”
“It’s okay. I was just playing around. There’s no film in it.”
“How did you become a photographer?”
“I’m just an amateur. I’ve always loved taking photos. What...what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a photographer.” The middle school student smiled. “Actually, I want to get into a camera club in my school. But in order to get in, I have to use a real camera, not a smartphone.”
“Can you get more film for your camera?”
“No, it’s broken. I don’t have enough money to get a really good camera.”
“Did you try saving up?”
The boy tried to fight back tears. “If I do save up, I would give the money to my mom. She needs it more. We live in a homeless shelter now, and I just switched schools.” The boy shrugged. “Well, see you around.”
That’s pretty hard, Cody thought, looking at his own camera. He glanced at his pictures and noticed the one he took of the lettering on the statue a few blocks back. He looked up at the boy walking away, then back down at the photo. He clutched his camera hard and vigorously fought against a thought that came into his mind. But he found himself walking forward, then running, towards the boy. “Hey...excuse me?” he voiced shyly. The boy turned around. “Um...I want you to have this.”
Cody nodded. “It’s yours. Take good care of it.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Please take it. Please,” he begged.
The boy’s mouth dropped. “Thank you! Thank you so much. This really means a lot.”
The boy waved and joyously walked away with his vintage possession. Cody watched him go, clutching his trembling fist that held what was most special to him just moments ago. He thought about the inscription again. Do as I have done to you. He gazed up at the sky. Maybe someone up there cares about me, he thought.
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