“It is just an old picture. One I never think about. I had saved it to my memory, but now it found its way out.”
You see, the thing about a photograph, well, it can lie. It is a moment, forever frozen in time, that captures every hair out of place, every freckle scattered across your nose, the half smile you faked to conceal a tear, and yet it hides the racing of your heart. It hides the fear you feel with every flash and it hides the sob you’re pinning down in your soul.
A photograph can forever protect someone from aging, from dying. It can save you from forgetting what color their eyes were and the way their hair blew in the wind. However, and there is always a however, it cannot tell you the way her eyes danced when she smiled, it cannot remind you of, long after you have forgotten, the way his hair smelled.
A photograph can preserve a moment of happiness, even though it may have only lingered for that moment. It etches a sense of familiarity among a group of friends who have long since broken up. It keeps the hope alive that maybe, just maybe, those good times can be had again. Yet it cannot eliminate the rumors that flowed beyond the photographs seemingly eternal grasp. It cannot piece back together a shattered heart. It cannot speak the truth about what happened that night behind the lense.
A photograph can shelter a broken memory, remind us that it indeed happened. It can help us conserve that same memory that your heart beats down in order to move on. It contains a small piece of forever that will always stare back at you. It cannot, nevertheless, mend the pain. It cannot, and will never, secure what might have been.
It is a million different thoughts and feelings wrapped up in one image, permanently saved. Even if you bend it, rip it, tear it into those millions of pieces, it is still there. The moment that the photograph captured still existed. The lie lies within your believing that it can all be forgotten if the picture no longer exists.
A photograph serves as a reminder of a moment that so captivated the magic in your heart, the magic you now, to this day, cannot understand why you ever felt the way you did. It can haunt you for the rest of your days.
The true lie of a photograph is that it is never enough, because sometimes, oftentimes, it is all that you have left of someone, of a time, of a memory. A photograph, while forever, will never bridge the gap.