Photograph

Shortly afterwards James threw himself into his work. The moon became something that was no longer looked at, hidden behind curtains. His sister arrived late in the afternoon to find he hadn’t slept.

He wanted to revive her somehow, that was his problem. The apples from the tree lay rotting. The fence posts continued to creak. He drank a glass of wine in the evenings, nothing more, then wrote for hours. It wasn’t her ghost he was after, not quite, it was something in the way that she had seen him, the way he’d wanted to be seen.

Blood red sunrises are made for those in grief. Bus drivers, milkmen, newspaper delivery boys, all know this. It is the silence of it, like a gently laid table cloth placed over the world. James rose from his seat to examine the spider making a mosaic of the dawn.

“Every evening his world falls apart, and every morning he rebuilds.”

The vicar had given a sermon about something like that. Life’s cycle. Although James couldn’t remember that now. If they’d had children there’d have been things to do, he thought, toys to be mended, socks to be hung out on the line.

“I don’t remember this picture being taken,” his sister said. The album lay open upon the table. Two women holding hands like schoolgirls as they stumbled through green fields. Ireland. His wife’s teeth looked whiter than they’d been.

There are things to be remembered, and things that for all the thunder in the world can never hope to retrieve the flash.

“No?” James said, smiling. “Neither can I.”

Brett Darling is a writer from London. He is a graduate of the MA in creative writing programme at London Metropolitan University. His ekphrastic writing is forthcoming on the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) blog. This is his first published work of fiction.

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