After we lost Lucy, it took Katherine a week to drag herself out of bed. It took another to get her out of the bedroom where she’d spilled all of our photographs over the carpet, crawling from pile to pile, gazing at each square sheet.

“We shouldn’t be so surprised,” she shook her head. “Teens are always getting into accidents. We’re no different from anyone else.”

Katherine had had that camera, an old, beaten Polaroid, since age 12. Her mother had snapped her prom picture on it, and then our wedding pictures years later. It was reserved for special uses, only with the knowledge that all of life was special. There were images of meals, corners of bookcases, favorite pages of novels, puddles spilled on the kitchen floor.

And Lucy.

Always Lucy.

When we decided to take a road trip, she refused to because Polaroid no longer sold her camera’s film.

We left anyway and I promised our phone camera would be sufficient. She was silent in the car.

The guide at Mount Rushmore concluded his spiel, wiped his nose, and told everyone they were free to mill about the monument. Katherine had spent the time watching a small patch of crabgrass blow in the wind, the blades scattered on the dirt like photos on the carpet.

She dug in her purse and produced the camera, asked another tourist to take our picture. When it clicked, he informed her there was no film in it.

“That’s alright,” she smiled. “That’s alright.”


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