-t h e l e n s-

A story open to interpretation.

. . .

I feel as if I'm trying to capture something.

As if I'm trying to capture something—a creature? A person? A moment?

An emotion?

I feel as if I'm trying to capture something while looking through the lens of a camera, and the object on the other end—the thing that I want to immortalize—just won't sit still, or my hand is badly shaking, or maybe I'm not looking through a camera at all, but instead, I'm looking through the lens of a kaleidoscope.

I feel as if I desperately, urgently need to be looking through this lens—as if looking through the lens will give me all of the answers that I need.

Answers? Answers to a question that I didn't even know I was asking.

And on the other side, the picture just won't remain in focus.

I catch glimpses of familiar things—my mothers red scarf as it blows around her hurried, stressed face; my little brothers train lying on its side in the hallway; the cold contrast of the dark grass against the white hospital behind it.

And in my mind I know that I should push my finger down and take the picture—that is what you wanted, isn't it? To capture... what? What do I want to capture?

And as I make up my mind to take the picture anyways, the image beyond the lens morphs and changes, the colors bleeding into each other and swirling into a completely new moment, a completely new person, a completely new emotion.

Feelings—confusion, frustration, desperation. Why do I need so badly to take this picture?

If I were to take my eye away from the camera—if I were to simply get a broader view of my canvas; of my surroundings—wouldn't that make things so much easier? Wouldn't I be able to comprehend exactly what it was that I was trying to capture? What I was trying to understand?

And yet, I find that I can't take my eye away from the lens—I just know that if I were to even try, my world would shatter around me and I would break with it.

I would simply crumble, slowly, until all that was left was a fine powder—a fine powder of a girl who had a question she didn't even know how to ask.

A girl who didn't even know she had a question.

So instead of crumbling and allowing the wind to carry me off into my broken nothing, I hold my eye tightly to my lens.

I'm so lost in my own thoughts that I almost don't notice as the image behind the lens begins to bend and take on a new shape—one that quickly becomes a picture of a long, dark stretch of desert—the barren ground thirsty and cracked. I feel as if I am there, as if I am in the desert that is hiding behind my lens—and I feel the wind push me endlessly over the miles and miles of nothing.

I arrive suddenly at a new picture—it's of an actual photograph, one taken long ago. I instantly recognize my mother, who is holding a little baby—a girl? And the baby is all wrapped up in a blanket, a little bow on her head. My mom is smiling so gently down at the girl that I catch my breath—how long had it been since I'd seen her smile? And I squeeze my eye even closer to the lens before I realize that my mother didn't have dimples decorating her cheeks like the woman in this photograph did. I blink in surprise as I realize that the woman in that picture is an older me—that I'm holding a little baby, smiling so gentle—and then the picture swirls and bleeds and is lost in a rush of light.

And it all happens so fast that I don't even know what it means; that I don't even understand what the picture could represent.

The lens has stopped moving once more, and again, I feel as if I am behind the lens instead of taking the picture—the memory so vivid, so real, that I forget I'm not actually living it anymore.

My brother eating baby food in his high chair, gurgling happily as the bright colors get all over his face.

My mother walking over and laughing instead of getting frustrated.

And then I should be there—I should walk in right now and laugh with them, should help get the baby clean and ready for bed.

But instead I don't ever enter the picture, and I want to push the button so badly it hurts—I want to capture that moment—that last glorious moment where my mother is smiling at my brother, where she looks so happy and content and stress-free.

I start to cry when I realize that I can't—that my finger refuses to work—that the button refuses to go down.

I am helpless to watch behind my lens as my soundless mother hears the phone ring.

I am helpless to watch behind my lens as she answers, and after listening for only a moment, collapses to her knees right there on the floor.

I am helpless to watch behind the lens as my soundless mother lets out a soul-wrenching, shattering cry that is so expressive it's high notes almost hurt my untouched ears.

My tears fog up the lens, and I can't see anything anymore but a milky white.

I was just a girl searching for the answer to a question that I didn't even know I had.

And in a moment, I tear my face away from the lens and find that I am falling, falling, falling into a dark ocean—and when I hit the water I

wake up.

wake up.

wake up.

And the lens is back to my face, but this time I completely understand—I completely comprehend.

It wasn't the picture behind the lens that was changing.

And I had a decision to make.

And this time when I slowly lower the camera away from my face, I pause and look out over the water that is licking its lips far, far, far below the bridge.

I am just a girl searching for the answer to a question that I didn't even know I had.

I feel as if I'm trying to capture something.

As if I'm trying to capture something—a creature? A person? A moment?

An emotion?

And in that split second of indecision—I remember.

The picture wasn't what had been changing.

I had changed.

And as I crumble into a fine powder, slowly, I take the step that would determine the rest of the picture that was growing and changing and bleeding behind my lens.

And the water is still licking its lips far, far, far below the bridge.

But I turn away and start to walk.

Walk away.

And the question that I hadn't even known I had came to me:

"Why do you think dying is the cure for living?"

And the wind took my fine powder and blew me away into the night.

. . .

A/N: So... I was randomly inspired after reading a fantastic book - and I wrote this abstract little piece.

To all of the people who might be reading Room 475: I'm not dead! (:

I'm sorry if it appears that way. Soon I'll be on Thanksgiving break, and I'll do my darndest to get an update for you - don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Jonah and Becka.

But for now - I would love to know what your interpretation of this story was, or how it made you feel, or if you loved or hated the writing.

Have a terrific Thanksgiving! Remember all that we have to be thankful for.(:

All the best,

Kayla