Strange Photographs – Paranoia #9207

Posted on April 5, 2011


She says, do you know what time it is?

On the floor of the attic, briefcase open, he is rifling through a messy pile of photographs.  No, he says.

She says, you’ve been up here for hours.

He says, have you ever had that feeling that comes without any reason, where you look down at your toes, and of course you are aware that toes have existed, but they seem so strange at that moment? And maybe you play with them and see if they come off or if they crumble, but they don’t, and you can’t really argue with that, because you know they’ve existed, you know it, but they just seem odd?

You need sleep, she says. You’ll feel better in the morning. We’ll go out for breakfast tomorrow. Sausage gravy. Your favorite.

He waves a photograph in the air. He says, and do you ever think of people you once knew? Do you ever look at photographs of them, or photographs of them and yourself, evidence that this one event really took place? Look. Look at this one.

She ignores the photograph, doesn’t even glance at it. I’ll have Eggs Benedict, she says. It will be delicious. Now, let’s put these away.

He pulls back the photo he has been waving and shakes his head. Because I’m looking at all of these photographs and I’m not recognizing all of these people. They may have existed, and I was obviously there. But I can’t remember if they were really real. Now they are blurry. Now they are questionable strangers. And is that even me there, between them, smiling? Is that really my smile? Is it?

I’ll start putting the photos you are finished with away, she says. How about that?

I keep saying to myself, he says. There you are, right there, right there with all those other men. They were your friends. Don’t you remember them? And then I’ll grab a photograph of an old girlfriend, you know, from highschool, and I know at some point these people were real but they aren’t anymore. It’s a feeling that is making my stomach churn. I can’t get over it. I feel like my brain has worms, and they’ve eaten these small holes everywhere and memories have poured out.

She shuffles a pile of the photographs into the briefcase. We can look at these tomorrow, she says. We can talk about imaginary friends and breakfast and then we can go for a walk and maybe take a nice bath. You’ll start to feel better. You’ll start to remember things in a comfortable way again. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.