A steady breeze billows the laundry on the line in photograph after black-and-white photograph along the gallery walls. Dad says they make the breeze visible. He’s impressive that way, but I don’t say so. We’re at the gallery again, for the fifth time this week, hoping she’ll come tonight, but he doesn’t say so. He’s careful what he tells me because I’m sick. Dad says from affliction comes perspective and that as a photographer he should know about perspective. I think he knows more about affliction than he’s letting on, but what do I know, I’m an epileptic kid. I tend to see chaos wherever I look. I have this heavy head. A little nudge and down I go. I wear two crystals on a lanyard Dad designed, sapphire against my chest and against my spine a rich green moldavite to balance me and stimulate my vagus nerve. I’d love to believe, but I can’t both wear them and not wear them, so there’s no way to know if they help. The trouble is, I’m getting worse. They call my condition progressive, but that’s just cruel. So where Dad goes I go, to never be far from his sight because he adores and pities me and the thought of me on the floor in a fit makes him weepy. I know. Cool Dad. Sounds easy. This week, we’re on gallery duty, hoping his lovely student shows up, more my age than his. The way he used to look at Mom, that same sad joy, the way he sometimes looks at me, is how he looks at her. When she arrives, he has to pretend he doesn’t notice. The way you act when you know there’s a camera on you: there’s one person in the room he can’t look at.
Copyright © October 11, 2007 David Hodges