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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Ink stains the page in careful swooping patterns as a fountain pen dances across
the page. Quick breaths from puckered lips dry the latest line on the page, careful not to
blow the ink too hard lest the wet droplets stray outside their precise letters.

“Joel? Are you almost done up there? The photographer will be here soon!” I
looked up from the writing desk where my attention had been so focussed.

“Almost done honey!” I called, “I’ll be down in a minute.” I dotted the last line with the carefullest of periods and let my concentrated breath fall upon the page once more. Standing up, I took my jacket from the back of the intricately carved desk chair. I knew that I wouldn’t spill any ink on it while writing, I’m too careful for that. Why take the risk though? I gathered the small sheaf of paper into my delicate hands and checked to make sure it was correctly ordered. I tapped the pages on the writing desk and their edges fell into alignment. A door opened and closed downstairs and muffled voices reached my ears through the thinly carpeted floors. Opening the door, I jogged down the hall and descended the grand staircase with hurried steps. Eliza will be frustrated that I wasn’t available to answer the door. An improper task for the woman of the house she’d
say. I smiled at the thought of her dimpled cheeks, flushed with embarrassment.

“Oh there he is now,” Eliza said as I strode into the parlor. She walked to my side
and wrapped her arm around my waist, “This is my husband Joel. He was upstairs finishing your payment. I always tell him to get start writing sooner but he never listens.” I recognized the sharp pain of Eliza’s admonishment as she pinches my behind. She turns her head to me, “Joel this is the photographer and I’m sorry, what was your name again?” She turned back towards the photographer, a young man with sandy brown hair setting up a camera. The machine is a mess of brass and wood with wires connecting it to a portable steam battery. He stuck out his hand, an informal greeting for those of the lower class.

“My name is Philip, sir and ma’am,” he said with a strong country accent. I took
his proffered hand in mine and gave it a good shake. I didn’t take offense to his
ignorance of upperclass greetings. Why would he know any better?

“It’s nice to meet you, Philip. I’ll apologize again for not greeting you at the door.”

“It’s no trouble sir. I’ve never been one to stand on formalities.” Philip gestured to the large bay window in our parlor, the direction his camera was pointing. The noonday sun shined through the window at an angle which Eliza claimed was the best kind of lighting for pictures. “If you folks would like to get in position. I’ll take your pictures for ya.” Eliza sat down on a cushioned chair I had set for her in front of the window. I moved behind it and rested my hands upon her shoulders. Philip stepped behind his camera and threw the attached curtain over his head. He began counting down,


“Wait! Wait!” I called out, realization dawning upon me. Philip poked up from
behind his camera, “I forgot to give you your payment young man.” I handed the pages over to Philip and he nods his head, smiling.

“Thank you kindly sir.” he says, sliding the papers into a protected envelope.

“What I wouldn’t give to have your talent with writing sir. You creative folk must have it real nice.”

“I should be thanking you. A picture, worth a thousand words? I feel almost like
I’m robbing you.” I laugh at my own joke and Philip gives a respectful chuckle. I
reposition myself behind Eliza and he ducks behind his camera again,


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