Route 7 Review - Page 106

I have taken with this piece here.’ At this point I was beginning to get annoyed. I hadn’t asked for a lesson in his personal photography. But then he said something that changed my outlook, maybe the same way it changed yours when I said it. “It’s magic.” Grandfather adopted a vague foreign accent when he said this and waved his hand. “He told me that the camera took magic pictures.” Grandfather looked down at him, a smile on his face. “I know, I know.” He would never forget Grandfather’s face as he had explained the camera to him. There were two rolls of film, he said, film that would only work for this camera. It was important to conserve said film, because the only man who knew how to make it was no longer alive. “And that was when I got the camera,” the old man laughed. “But how does that make it magic?” He had asked. None of this was making any sense. Grandfather touched his nose. “Ah, but that’s where the believing comes in. I don’t expect you to, yet. I certainly didn’t. But it works.” “What works?” “The key is to take good pictures, of course. A camera is a camera, even a magic one. Keep it in a safe place, maybe. Or maybe keep it with you, at all times. And then, when you come across something that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you want to preserve, a moment that is perfect…” Grandfather sighed, a transcendent smile on his face. “Then, you take the picture.” “But… that’s it? I don’t understand.” “No, no. That’s not it.” Grandfather pulled out two photographs from his pocket, old, black and white, and wrinkled. He kept them both face down as he presented them to his grandson. “These are two pictures that I took.” The little boy in the memory reached out a hand to take one, but his hand was violently slapped away. “No!” Grandfather’s face was red. “You mustn’t look, not at any pictures that you don’t take. Never. And never allow anyone else to see your photos.” “Why not?” “Because that’s where the magic is. Once you’ve taken the photos, that is it. You’ve got the magic. Because, you see, that’s the point. You can revisit these pictures, these places, these moments… You close your eyes, picture the moment, think hard about everything that went into that picture, then… You open them.” Grandfather smiled, all signs of his anger gone. “You open your eyes, and you’re there. Again.” Those words, spoken to that little boy, hadn’t meant as much to him as they did to the man holding the old camera now. Nor had what Grandfather said next: “But be careful. “This isn’t memory tourism. You don’t simply relive these moments, you become that man again. You live everything again. Everything. Your whole life, maybe.” Your whole life. The little boy who received this gift struggled to wrap his mind around that concept, all the while deciding whether or not to believe his crazy Grandpa. “You’ve done this?” He challenged. “You went back to a memory, and you relived your life?” “I did.” “What happened?” Grandfather shook his head. “That’s for me. I went back, and I experienced all the good that comes with that. And all the bad. But I can’t tell you how or why; this decision is yours. Use it if you want, and discover for yourself. Or don’t. I can’t tell you more, because nothing more was told to me.” And with that, Grandfather ended the talk. He set him off of his lap and left the room, shutting the door behind him. They never spoke again of that conversation. The little boy had stuffed what was given him into a pillow case and stored it in the closet for later. Even if his Grandfather was crazy, a camera was something that he could use. It was very old; maybe he could sell it. He never did end up selling the camera, just like he never told anyone about what Grandfather had told him that day. It would take many years for him to begin to believe that what he had heard was true. And many years after that for him to fully appreciate the gift that he had been given. A do-over. A complete reset button for life. He kept telling himself that he didn’t believe any of it, but when he went off to college, he began to car