How To Find What You Came Here For

Welcome to the worlds that populate my brain!
The short stories you find here are the product
of a vastly overactive imagination
powered by coffee and M&Ms.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Moment Between

 Clicks and whirs defined Sam’s life.
Mr. Addison had bought him a digital camera, but it wasn’t the same.  He could turn on a feature that made sounds similar to his Nikon, but his keen ear told him the sound was fake.

Sam knew that he’d have to start using the digital camera.  Film wasn’t easily available, and the chemicals he used to develop his pictures were scarce as well.  Losing the familiarity of his Nikon was rapidly becoming a primary anxiety in his life.

“He’s an odd one, but his pictures are amazing!” Sam could hear Mr. Addison’s voice from his office through the cacophony of sounds coming from the cubicles on their floor.  His boss was talking to the new guy.  New people always asked about him.

His fingers tapped restlessly as the photographs he’d taken flew across his screen. 

The fluorescent lights flickered endlessly.

Computer monitors sent out their high-pitched whine.

Printers jerked to life and sent sheets of paper slapping through rollers.

High voices and low voices rose and fell and the occasional whisper hissed.

Cell phones buzzed restlessly.

Office chairs squeaked and groaned.

The scent of a flowery perfume snaked through to join the musky scent of another perfume.  A quick flash of something citrus was there and then gone.

Doors opened and shut.

The air conditioning hummed.

A stack of papers fell from someone’s desk.

A brief, tinny dial tone blared as desk phone was dialed – cut off when the handset was lifted.

A fly buzzed and thumped against a window.

Bitter coffee stung his nose.

The pop and snap of bubble gum joined the crunch and smack of an apple.

The flying pictures on Sam’s screen stopped suddenly on the one he was seeking.  A few seconds later he jerked himself out of his chair and through Mr. Addison’s door.

“Giraffe’s in the e-mail.  Going to the gorillas Mr. Addison.  Got my phone.” 

Mr. Addison smiled, nodded, and ignored both the interruption and Sam’s machine-gun delivery.  “Thanks Sam, let me know when you’re back.”

He stalked over the paths to the gorilla enclosure, head down, arms tight, camera secure against his chest.

Moving around the observation area, he suddenly stopped and lifted the camera.

Only in that moment was his world quiet and still.  Everything frozen in his lens, captured in the space between the click and the whir.

Photo courtesy The Husband...taken at the NC Zoo

This post is a response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club  to write about this photograph:

As the parent of a teenager diagnosed with Aspergers and ADHD, I have struggled to explain what the world is like for him.  Sights, sounds, smells, textures - everything that we easily block out when we need to - all crash into him without any filter at all.  His world is chaos - an explosion of experience that never stops.  This post is what I imagine his life might be like someday - in that shadowy future I can't quite see.

As always, your comments and critique are very welcome! 


  1. So many sounds and sensory interruptions, I wanted to brush them away with my hands. Almost felt trapped by them actually. And the stillness at the end allowed me to breathe.

    Fabulous piece. I love your perspective.

  2. I love that you took a visual prompt and added the auditory distractions. It must be so difficult for your son, and I hope that he does, one day, find his "camera lens" to help filter all of the sensory distractions flying at him.

  3. Wow lady. This flowed so quickly and easily, almost poetically?

    When I got to your explanation I had to read it again with a new eye. Beautifully done.

    I adore that you added in the gorilla photo. Talk about a prompt taking a life of its own!

  4. I really like the point of view, very unique. It sensory and imagery overload, but I like it. Godo read.

  5. Such an interesting way to look at life. The frantic pacing was great.

    And I love the shot of the gorilla at the end. It just sets the tone :)

  6. I loved it for the set of sensory "photographs" it was before I read the explanation. Afterwards? It's even more stunning, to put myself in those shoes, to experience the world as a barrage of color, sound, texture and uncertaintly.


  7. You really did a good job pulling me into the peice was the sensory details. I thought some of them could have been joined into a paragraph to give a sense of connectedness. Sometimes the casualness of blogging can cause us to toss out the stoggy old paragraph when it migh be of some use. I miss old cameras, the chemical smells, and the fun stuff we could do in the dark room to make neat effects on film. I got a fun sense of that nostalgia from this peice. And you nailed the moment in time...when it stops...when the subject and the photographer agree that the shot will be had. Nice work.