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The Eclectic Pen - Healing at shutter speed

By: Kim C. (snapshot)  
Date Submitted: 1/7/2009
Genre: Literature & Fiction » General
Words: 1,473

  "Wow." He said, pulling the car to a stop. "Look at that." His breath seemed caught, like he had never seen anything quite so beautiful in his life. Carla had to agree. It wasn't every day you got to drive to within 100 feet of the top of a mountain. The pavement ended nearly fifty miles back, yet David pushed on with his Jeep ranger. Nothing would stop them on a day like today. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely perfect.

Carla's heart stung. How rare it was to be where she was, on a day like today. Anybody who had a camera would be snapping pictures, carelessly. They wouldn't pay attention to detail as she knew she would. If only she could pick up the camera. It was right behind her, snuggled in its case, ready to go. But, she just couldn't.

"Man, Carla, I don't believe I've ever seen anything like this." He jumped out of the car. "Do you see the waterfall? And the walking bridge across the river?" His excitement was contagious; though heart wrenching at the same time. Yes, she saw them. She probably saw them in a completely different way than he did. She saw the water droplets cascading off the falling water into the leaves of the nearly trees. She saw the bridge covered in moss on one end, suggesting the true hidden nature of the area they found. It wasn't an everyday occurrence people were able to see this.

"Yeah, it's gorgeous." She sighed. Her voice was but a whisper, her smile weak. How could somebody feel so at home in a place like this, yet so distant from their own body? She felt her heart reaching for the camera, adjusting the lenses and focusing on the waterfall. But her arms simply folded across her chest as she walked toward the edge of the cliff. The camera, her soul, stayed seated in the Jeep.

"There's a bear! Look!" David pointed across the riverbank. Indeed there was a bear. A grizzly she guess by its size and color. With her lenses she would be able to see its eyes, nose, ears… She'd be able to see what kind of fish it caught for that day's lunch.

Hurt and sadness overwhelmed her on outings like these. So how could she still feel as though she lived for them? It was Nathan who introduced her to photography, her boyfriend before David. The passion, the pleasure, the intense satisfaction she simply had in holding a camera… all started with him. The images she had seen herself create exploded a whole new meaning to her life. He, too, realized what desire aroused in her with the camera in her hand. It was a desire that wasn't directed towards him. He manipulated and controlled her photography, and therefore her life. Control turned to abuse, and soon Carla was left with little to desire of photography… or her life.

Still, five years after she escaped his bondage, she still felt the restraint. She remembered so vividly how she felt holding that Canon, releasing the shutter and capturing another beautiful image. How desperately she wished she could run back to the Jeep, load the film and focus on the bear's head. Nobody back home would believe they had seen what they indeed were. Her body shook with confusion. Her insides raged. How could she possibly be too scared to take another picture, when she knew deep down that is all she was created for? It was her life, and she was too afraid to take it.

A soft hand touched her arm, "Hey, you ok?" David was suddenly in focus right in front of her.

"Yeah.." she lied. Her best friend and soul mate would not understand the absolute insane emotions she was feeling.

He kissed her on the forehead, and brushed past her. She leaned against a tree, staring at the bear. She imagined twenty different poses she could capture within minutes of being focused on it. Thoughts flowed in her head of reactions as her family members, friends, coworkers looked at her work… all in awe of a talent they never knew she possessed. The one they never knew because Nathan controlled it so well.

Something heavy hung on her shoulder. She looked down and instantly felt a vice on her lungs and a slit to her heart. The Canon, as beautiful and evil as it was the day she packed it away, now hung at her hip, paralyzing her.

"Just one picture." His voice was soft, gentle. She tried to unlock her arms, wanting to throw the piece of plastic down the mountainside, but they stayed frozen on her chest. She felt broke, shattered…

His hand touched her elbow. "Please." As the sun does to an ice cube, his touch melted the crippling fear. Strength, though incredibly weak, forced its way into her body and mind.

Her fingers felt the black plastic and instantly her mind was being torn in two. "You're not worth it, you're pictures are terrible…. You know you can do this, you know you're talented. She closed her eyes, and forced her hand around its grip.

Peace battled her senses. "Film." She mumbled. David's hand touched hers, holding one single roll of film. Shaking violently she reached for it…

"It's who you are, Carla. Free yourself." David's voice spoke more strength into her heart… she gripped the film and loaded it, blindly. She was too scared to open her eyes, afraid Nathan would be standing there instead of David.

She clenched the lens with her left hand, the frame with her right, the neck band still draped on her shoulder. Confidence danced in her, daring her to believe she had something real inside her. She clenched her eyelids shut, slowly reaching for the shutter release.


She had dreamed about that sound every single night, every day… nearly every hour for the last five years. It had finally reached her ears. Tears welled her eyes, emotions erupted inside her like fireworks on fourth of July. She clicked again, screaming and laughing inside. And again…

David's arms embraced her, letting her collapse… her finger kept releasing the shutter. The sound, though faint and simple, had strength to break incredible chains in her soul. "Shh…" he whispered. "You're okay. I'm here." His soft voice, so tender and full of love, forced her to open her eyes. There he was, David, just as he promised. She glanced around. "Carla…" he grabbed her face. "It's okay…" His eyes met hers, she released another click… This one forced her to her senses. She stood, sobbing.

"Oh God!" she cried, clenching her camera tightly. "Take this burden!" She collapsed into David's arms again. "Take it away," she screamed. "Take him away. Don't let him hurt me anymore."

David curled her onto his lap as he sat against the tree. "It's going to be okay…" Through her sobs he could still hear the soft clicking noise, breaking every chain Nathan ever had on her. Finally, Carla was being set free.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Kim C. (snapshot)

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Comments 1 to 2 of 2
Joyce M. (j3m) - 1/7/2009 4:46 PM ET
wow, this made me cry; such powerful emotions portrayed
Star U. (macgyvershe) - 1/16/2009 9:12 PM ET
powerful, simple and very touching.
Comments 1 to 2 of 2