Fictography #12 — Self-Preservation

Glorious Sunset. Photo Credit: Meredith Thompson.
Glorious Sunset. Photo Credit: Meredith Thompson.

/FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!).

This week’s selected photograph comes from a former student of mine and current Assistant Editor at the Severna Park Voice, Meredith Thompson. Meredith was a business communication major, and I got to know her well from all the classes she took with me. Meredith is a fantastic writer as well as a beautiful photographer, and many of her photographs are used in the Severna Park Voice. In fact, it was Meredith and her talents with the camera who helped me decide to purchase the Nikon I currently own. She has a way of looking at the world through a unique lens, and I’m so thankful she’s allowed me to use her photo for a story today.

This story is 434 words, and the photo, well, you can see it…

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She wanted to remember this moment. She pulled her iPhone out of her pocket and took the shot.


It was done.

Tomorrow she’d be gone, and she wanted to remember this place, this view, and the rest of the time she had spent here, lovingly tending to cows and pigs, walking the dogs, taking strolls through the grass, and worrying about nothing.

That’s what it had come to, after all. In an often cynical world where dog eats dog and people think little of each other and their feelings, she had escaped here to find a respite with her aunt and uncle. She would forever be grateful to them for taking her in amidst the chaos of her world that had turned upside down.

She didn’t mind waking at the crack of dawn and going to bed—alone—with a good book, one that kept her engaged in someone else’s life besides her own. She enjoyed the languid summer days, with no agenda and no commitments, the stars that seemed to twinkle overhead on every clear night, and the sunsets that drew breath from all things alive and well and interconnected from God himself.

She had disconnected from everyone for the last four months, and tonight only, on her last night, she powered up the iPhone. In haste, she had wanted to throw it away, but she had changed her mind. Instead, it went in a drawer, and today was the first time she had held it since she’d arrived.

Curious little thing. Curious little connective piece of machinery. Had the world gone mad? Had portable phones replaced conversations? Had they replaced having dinner and not focusing on anything but the person one was with? Had they forever changed the nature of interpersonal relations, where a text was better than a phone call?

She had thrown the iPhone at him when she’d finally realized how much time she’d wasted on him…on them…on the belief they were meant to be. Ironically, it had not cracked or shattered.

He probably didn’t even know where she was…she had only told two people, her mother and her father. To her friends, she had written, “I will be going away for a bit. Be back in September.” And then everything went silent. And it was her doing.

Now, she was going back, not exactly back to where she was, but to a new place, with new experiences, and a new job.

She stood and admired the sunset. Four months disconnected from all social connections, and yet here I stand, she thought. One does what she needs to do for self-preservation.

And now, she was all better.

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