by Ben Crawford
A random short story I wrote
Too many memories, boxes and boxes of them laying around a room that is no longer his. A life that existed in this room was ending today, and a new one waits in New York. There were boxes of clothes, boxes of books and papers, and more than all these combined there were boxes of photos.
Each box had a label with a year in Sharpie. The first box was small and did not have that many photos. They were all polaroids because that was the only camera he had when he was nine; he still had it and used it when he wanted to be artsy.
The later boxes had more photos when he had the money to get a real camera and dive into photography. He would take photos of everything and everyone; spending most of his life behind a camera. His degree was in photography, and he was moving to become a real photographer in the Big Apple.
Of all the boxes of photos, only a few got framed, and only one sat on top his desk still as he continued packing. It was not a remarkable photo, It was a bit blurry and off center, but he loved it all the same. The photo held three people, himself, a woman, and a man. These were the two people he was closest to when he was growing up.
The photo was reminded him of summers by the lake, of laghter and late nights. It also reminded him of friendships lost, of a void never to be fully filled. Jason had not seen either of them in over a year. College was rough; he did not have much time for people plus there were other reasons they grew apart. Looking at the photo caused Jason to make a point of not look at the small box sitting at the edge of the desk.
When he found it, he had almost but not quite forgotten he still had it. The box held many things. It held a future, it held an unanswered question, and it held an engagement ring. This box was sent to him over a year ago with a question that he never answered.
Jason when he was younger, thought of marriage and when he did he always thought of getting down on one knee and being the one to pop the question. Having someone pop the question to him was an odd experience.
Was there love there? He thought so but to accept would change everything and put the life he was heading towards in jeopardy. He was in his last year of college, and he needed to buckle down if he was going to finish on time and marriage did not factor into it.
He finished packing and loaded the boxes into the moving van he had rented. They all fit with room to spare. His things packed away in the van; the small box packed away in Jason's pocket. He could not stopped thinking about it since he found it the day before. He thought back to that time and how short sighted he was and how he regretted so much of his life.
The real reason he did not answer the question was he felt like he was not good enough, that he did not have enough to offer. His life was behind the camera and not beside someone, and for the most part he liked that life. But there is no room behind the camera for two people, so it got a little lonely.
Closing the door to the moving van, he headed over to his car and got in; he put the small box in the passenger's seat next to a few other things including his Polaroid camera and some film. He wanted to take some old time photos of the town before he left for New York.
He pulled out of the driveway and headed out toward the town with no real plan of where he was going. As he drove, he saw so many places he remembered and loved, and at each one he would stop and take a photo. It was three hours later that he found himself in a little neighborhood that he knew too well.
He did not indend to end up here, but somehow he knew his destination since he left the house. He grabbed the small box from the passenger seat and went up to the front door. Jason had no idea of what to expect; he did not even know if anyone would be home. He knocked three times and waited to see if anyone answered.
A young woman answered. She looked older and more womanly, but she still had the smiling face that was on proud display in the photo he kept on his desk. She had changed but in all the best ways.
"Wow Jason, this is a surprise," she said, giving him a small hug.
"Yeah, I am packing up stuff from the old place and getting ready to move to New York."
"I heard you got a big job in the Big Apple. That's good for you," she said with a big smile.
"I have to bring this back," he said holding up the small box.
"What Is it?" she asked taking the box.
"I don't understand," she said confused.
"Nor do I," he said as he left.
She closed the door, turned around and her brother was standing behind her. She looked at him, and he was crying.
"What is this?" she asked.
He took the box and opened it and as he did his face changed. Inside was a folded up Polaroid. He took it out; it was a little blurry and off center. It showed a hand with a gold ring on it. Below the photo read the words "Unless proposals expire, is it too late to accept?"
"It's an answer to a question," he responded, handing her the photo.
"I guess you need to go find your fiancee," she responded with a smile.