There was a picture of my brother Dan on my old phone that always confused me. The upstairs of our house looks like this: you walk up the stairs, and to the right is my mom and dad’s room. Across from you is the bathroom my brothers and I share. If you venture down the hall to your left a bit, the end of it splits into three rooms—my room, my brothers’ room, and the office. I took this picture at Dan’s request. I was standing in my room and he in his, and he stuck his head and nothing else around the corner of our two rooms. The picture is merely his head floating in a sideways manner—not floating, maybe—rather, like the Romans defeated him in battle and stuck his head on a stake in the wooden trim outside their bedroom, as a warning to any foreigners and as a boasting to any natives. I suppose, with the Romans, it could also work vice versa. It doesn’t help that imagined battle cause that his tongue is stuck out and his eyes are googley. Dan, at 11, ingeniously and unknowingly brought the ancient world into this piece of writing.
He is always doing things like that—things that I have a hard time believing because he has been considered semi-dull-minded by my family and I (and his school) since his birth; things that probably aren’t even true. Not that Dan’s knowledge of ancient Roman culture even has the merest possibility to be true. But in that moment, through the savvy glimmer in his eyes and the placement of his tongue; the pale Sunday afternoon sunlight shimmering through the window of the office in the background; my brother’s illegal Myspace page pulled up on the screen of the desktop, or some other site equally forbidden to my brothers; Dan almost seems as clever as a college professor.
I remember taking it and laughing at the ridiculousness of this pose that he threw together at the last second before the shutter snapped. Ever since then I have always done a double take when I scroll through the pictures on my phone. That phone is in the trash bag beside me now. Soon the picture will be solely in my mind, but no less phony.
This was our assignment to describe an image we had in our minds in great detail. I guess when I started writing this, it ended up a lot more substantial than I had planned. I've never been able to write about descriptive details without pulling some sort of hidden meaning from them. I can't wait to learn more about how to start a short story. Off for a great weekend of camping! I'm also hoping to do some writing out there.
Not laboring on Labor Day,