"It's a collection of photographs." Brooke turned toward Mark with a frown, her eyebrows knitted together. "But, it's a special collection. Trust me."
Guiding his date toward the line of other guests, Mark slipped Brooke's hand over the crook of his arm and read from the printed program. "It says here that this display is the collaborative result of six years worth of work by Benjamin Meer and Charlotte Kalmen. Benjamin Meer has a twin brother, William, who lost his sight as a result of Stargardt's Disease. Benjamin compiled this collection of photographs for William in order to capture favorite moments of their childhood, a scrapbook of sorts."
Brooke shook her head. "A lot of good that would do his brother. A bit thoughtless, don't you think?"
"But that's where Charlotte Kalmen comes in. Charlotte is a composer and pianist and it's her contribution to the project that I think you'll appreciate. Studying Benjamin's photographs, Charlotte wrote original songs to accompany each image, telling the story of each memory through music."
As the couple approached the first photograph, Mark handed Brooke a small device. "What's this? A remote control?"
"Very funny. This first image is titled, "Morning Breaks". It's the view out the kitchen window of the Meer family home. Now if I type in #124, we'll hear Charlotte's interpretation of this early morning moment." Pressing the keys on the control, Mark held it up near Brooke's ear.
The first few notes seemed to be calling up the sun, beckoning its tentative rise over the crest of the hill. As the song continued, Brooke could make out the notes of birds calling out greetings to one another and the long sighs of the earth awaking. She smiled as the last notes evaporated. "That was lovely," she smiled. "It gave me goosebumps." Rubbing her arms, Mark directed them to the next photograph.
"This one is #135 and it's titled, "Old Porch Swing". According to the program, the boys spent hours on this porch swing, telling stories and listening to the world around them."
Brooke grasped the control to her ear, each note painting a picture of pure joy. Transported to the edge of that swing, she clung to the armrest and listened to the laughter of the boys, felt the summer breeze blow her curls back from her face. She rocked back and forth, hearing the creak of the old wood.
Mark's gaze drifted away from the photograph, landing on Brooke's upturned face. His own eyes glistened as he watched a single tear slip down her cheek. And then another. As she turned her sightless eyes toward him, his felt his throat tighten. In the silence that followed the final strain, Brooke whispered, "I could see the sunshine."
|Image courtesy of Unsplash.|
A 500-word piece inspired by the image above.