Everything Dies Before It Lives
by Mike Welyczko
The intoxicating aroma of roast coffee beckoned the young man to enter the café to escape the bitter cold. The warmth and smells the café melted away is frost and he began shedding his jacket when he saw the camera sitting on one of the tables. He hung up his jacket and picked up the camera. There was nothing special about it, just a regular digital camera. He looked around the little coffee shop. Besides him, there was a woman sitting on the sofa in front of the fire reading a book. No one else was here to claim the camera. The man needed a camera, for he had lost is in London the year before on vacation. He was about to slip the camera in his pocket when he became curious. He turned the camera on and began scrolling through the pictures.
The first couple of photos showed a young teenage couple having a picnic on a hillside, minutes before sunset. The next few pictures showed the same couple standing with their friends wearing formal clothes in front of a limo. The next few showed them all surrounded by blue and silver balloons dancing at their prom. The next photo showed the couple slow dancing, but they weren’t looking at the camera. They were looking in each other’s eyes. The next photos were all the same, the couple together sitting on each other’s laps, swinging on a swing set together, laughing, living, loving. The next photo showed the woman waving her hand at the camera, ecstatic. The woman had a ring on ring on her finger, a diamond ring. He had proposed. But looking at the picture closer, the man realized he had proposed to her in this very café. That was the last picture in the camera.
He felt a warm rush of affection for the people in the pictures, and couldn’t bring himself to steal their memories. He placed the camera back on the table keeping the last picture showing. He ordered his coffee, put his jacket back on, and left back into the cold.
Meanwhile, the woman by the fire finished reading her book, and was about to leave when her eyes landed on the camera. She walked over and picked it up. The power was on and the screen was displaying a picture. She grazed through the photos.
“Well aren’t these nice?” she said, before hitting the Delete All button. She slipped the camera in her pocket, and left the café.