Writing every day in October: Snap.
When I found the roll of film in the drawer, I honestly thought it would be so out of date that there wouldn’t be any images on it, but something told me to take it down to the chemist and get it developed anyway. The woman behind the counter said it would be ready to collect within a fortnight. I had almost forgotten what it was like to wait for something, particularly in this day and age where everything we could want right now is just a click away. To have to wait was in a really silly way exciting, particularly as I couldn’t remember putting the film in the drawer in the first place.
On saying that, this most important thing got quickly forgotten. After a week I had put all thoughts of the film to the back of my mind as I got on with the everyday, mundane things in my life, going to work, coming home, cooking a meal for Lilly, catching up with emails, losing myself in the online news and then bed.
It was at the end of the month when I was getting my daughter, Lilly ready for her dance class that I came across the photo collection slip. Again, part of me was going to screw the slip up and dismiss the idea that there was anything salvageable on the roll, but then Lilly asked what it was in my hand so I explained about how we used to take films to chemists or photo shops to be developed and that there may be some waiting at our chemist.
Lilly got so excited about the prospect of finding a surprise that I got caught up in the excitement that only a child can conjure.So I promised Lilly that I would wait until after her class and that she could be with me when I collected the photos; but I also warned her that she may be disappointed to find all the photos to be blank.
Lilly, ever the optimums, an emotion that is in abundance in the young, but gets dismisses all to quickly as the years pass, said, Daddy, give it a go, you may be really, really surprised.
Although I was warmed by her enthusiasm, I was already bracing myself for her to be upset; after all, life, you know real life, has a knack of serving you up a joker when in the films its always the ace.
While Lilly was at her dance class I caught up on some work on my computer, while sitting in my car. I knew if I could get the right figures together and the spreadsheets to balance then I might be able to give her my undivided attention on Sunday.
As usual, the time went so much quicker then I had wanted it to and I still hadn’t got my work completed. All thoughts of quality time with tLilly got popped into the ‘to do later folder’ in my mind as I closed my lap top and went to pick up Lilly.
Now normally Lilly would come running out telling me all about what dance steps she had learnt, but this time she was so full of excitement about picking up the photos from the chemist. Unlike Lilly, my heart was preparing itself for disappointment. Already I was seeing myself apologising to Lilly as I showed her photo after photo of nothing but blank pictures.
In a blink we were at the chemist with Lilly almost bursting with joy as she handed over the photo slip. As a month had past, it took the chemist some time to find our pack. If i could have persuaded Lilly to leave and do something else I would have done but when Lilly has her heart set on something then she is totally committed in seeing her through; which reminded me again just how much she takes after her mother, Bella.
As soon as the assistant came back with our pack of photos I could tell it wasn’t good news. She did offer to show us, but I said to Lilly it would be better to look at them back home on the sofa, together.
When we got back home we sat down and Lilly opened the envelope and just as I had feared her face dropped as she looked at blank photo after blank photo. I was about to suggest ice-cream for tea, when Lilly turned the last photo and there she saw herself, six months old, being cradled by Bella, her mum, my wife.
In that moment, everything that was precious, every thing that was important was in that single photo that had survived when all the other’s had faded into nothing. Although there where other photo’s of Bella, this was the only one of Bella holding Lilly; work schedules and deadlines where quickly put in the ‘to do folder’ as I sat with Lilly and together we remembered her beautiful mother.