You Were: The Photographer

July 30, 2010

On October 14th, 1963, you were given a camera and a plane ticket for your seventeenth birthday. The camera was a Polaroid Highlander. The plane ticket was dated November 20. The destination: Dallas, Texas.

Your father was a Venezuelan businessman with ties to the oil industry. He spent half of your childhood away from home while he took care of business in the United States. He spent the other half of your childhood listening to you beg him to take you along on one of his many trips north. Your father spoiled you senseless, and he would have done almost anything you asked. Your mother, like most mothers, was a much tougher customer.

Finally, she agreed to let you accompany your father on a short trip to Texas. Three days in Dallas, then back home to Caracas. For weeks your mother prayed that you’d have a safe journey. Perhaps she should have prayed harder.

On the morning of November 22, your father left for a business meeting. You were supposed to have breakfast at your Dallas hotel, get your hair blown out at the salon, and twiddle your thumbs until your dad could return. Of course the moment your father was gone, you slipped out of the hotel and set off on your own. The President of the United States was in town, and a bell boy who’d chatted you up the night before had said you might be able to get a glimpse of JFK as he rode through town. You weren’t about to miss the spectacle.

You reached Dealey Plaza at 12:15 and pulled out your camera. You weren’t interested in taking pictures of the President, who was a bit overrated in your humble opinion. You just wanted shots of the crowd. The crowd’s clothing, to be exact. Your mother had agreed to let you visit the US on one condition—that you take lots of photos of fashionable ladies so she could have their dresses copied by Caracas tailors.

Just as the presidential motorcade approached, you were aiming your camera at a woman in a fetching blue dress when something strange caught your eye. There was a man leaning over a concrete structure at the top of a grassy knoll with a rifle in his hands. When you heard the first shot, your finger twitched and a picture was taken. When you looked up from the camera, the man with the rifle was gone and the President of the United States had been shot. Either by Lee Harvey Oswald . . . or by the man you’d seen on the grassy knoll. Your father.

When you returned to the hotel, he was waiting for you. And when he asked where you’d been, you told him the truth:  Taking pictures of ladies’ dresses. You never knew if he really believed it.

When you returned to Caracas, you had the photos developed. The picture of the gunman was blurry, but the evidence it offered could not be denied. Except, apparently, by the US Embassy in Caracas. The ambassador himself confiscated your photo without so much as a “thank you” and sent you home in a rage.

You hid the photo’s negative and started your own search for answers. You discovered two things almost immediately. Your father wasn’t Venezuelan. And he wasn’t a businessman. After that, all the information you collected went straight into the book you’d started writing in secret.

Two days after your father died in 1970, they came for you. Your photo’s negative and your manuscript were discovered and destroyed. When the men were finished, it was as if you’d never existed. They removed every last trace of you—but one. Sitting on an editor’s desk somewhere in New York City was a copy of your untitled manuscript. Where it is now is anyone’s guess.


8 Responses to “You Were: The Photographer”

  1. Constance Says:

    Oooo missing manuscripts and political secrets! Thank you so much- this is so cool 😀

  2. Maxima Says:

    this is AWESOME

  3. Well not in this life… Maybe I was the babushka lady in a past life. I’ve always seemed to know a lot about her…..

  4. bravechickens Says:

    I like how you’ve combined a piece of history into this reading 🙂

  5. Bard Says:

    Damn, and I was really enjoying these past-life readings – half-believing them, actually – until I knew you’d fallen for this tommyrot.

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