Cheese (Tuesday Tales)

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Photograph by Christina Rich Photography

One picture. All right maybe three or four. It’s all I wanted, even though I knew the parents would expect more. I took several hundred. Maybe a thousand. I didn’t want to disappoint.  I’m an amateur. I’m learning the rules, and I’m learning which rules are okay to break, but today I just wanted that one shot.

The perfect one. One that would hang on parents’ and grandparents’ walls. One where their guests would ooh and aww over the photo and ask  about the photographer. That one shot that would propel me from hobbyist to paid professional. The one that would hang in a gallery and cause the viewer to tear another layer off the cardboard box they’ve kept wrapped around their minds.

It didn’t happen. Not today. And I should have known better. After all I took on a toddler

And not just any toddler, but Toddzilla. Not that he’s huge, but he climbs, and he jumps, and he growls. And he runs. Boy, does he run. And he’s fast. I have no idea how his mom kept him from jumping into the goldfish pond.

Next time I’ll consider my location a little more carefully. My bright idea of taking him to the park with a caboose, a pond filled with gold fish, and many things to explore, wasn’t quite so bright. Fortunately, Mom was a good sport, and quick on her feet too.

Mom and I tried several times to get him to hold still for a millisecond to snap a picture, but he wasn’t having it. He wanted to run and ask, “what’s that?” a hundred times. He wanted to jump in the water and jump off benches, both of which were out of the question. I’m sure you can imagine the blood curdling screams blowing out of his lungs like an air horn. And the dirty looks. Let me tell you, the little guy could educate junior high girls in that department.

Anyway, after an hour or so we worked our way back to our cars. Disappointment weighed on my shoulders as Mom smiled.  I knew what she was thinking. Or at least what she was hoping, but I knew the odds of any decent photographs were slim. Maybe Toddzilla wasn’t the right word. He was more like Superman, or Flash, at least in speed. BabyBlur might be a better term.

The old caboose came into view and I ran ahead to get into position. I wanted a shot of BabyBlur on the old train tracks. I played it all in my head. What I wanted to see in the lens of my camera. The way I hoped he’d look straight at me, and smile.

I held my breath.

He walked a bit on the tracks, bent over and looked at a rock. He walked some more, but he wasn’t close enough for me to get the shot I wanted. He darted left, and then right. Always looking down. Or up. Even backwards. Never forward. Never at the camera.

Wouldn’t you know it, the little stinker came up to me. Close enough for the camera to lose focus, and just as he his stepping by me he smiled and said, “Cheese.”


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This is a work of fiction.

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