The sun peeking through the blinds woke him. The glare on his face hurt his eyes and the heat made him sweat. Grudgingly he sat up, grunting and popping as he stretched. It was a little after noon- way too early for him to be awake but there was no way he was going to fall asleep in this heat.
The camera his father had gotten him years ago for his birthday sat on the shelf in the corner covered with dust and serving as an overly priced paper weight. He's always hated his father for buying him that camera after his mother died. Photography was her gift to him, not his father's.
He dragged his feet to the shower and slowly woke from his groggy state. He threw on some tattered jean shorts, an old band tee from a group he'd never even heard of, and his favorite red Converse. He never cared much about how he looked and today was no different.
He grabbed his laptop and sat down at the kitchen table to check his email. As his MacBook droned to life he thought to himself, "What's the point? Day in and day out I follow the same damned monotonous routine and each day I hate it more and more." He slowly ate his measly excuse for breakfast and drank down his Earl Grey tea- another thing passed on to him from his mother.
As he savored the last drop and set down his mother's old mug, he knew he had to stop this vicious cycle of unhappiness. Nobody was doing this to him but himself and at that moment he vowed to break through the darkness that had dominated his life for twelve years. He knew exactly what his mom would have wanted him to do.
Running out the door to the beat up old Honda, he turned the ignition and threw rocks as he drove down the dusty old driveway to the highway. After about an hour of driving he saw it- the old sign with the bullet holes, just like it had been for as long as he could remember. It's been years since he'd traveled this way. He always avoided it because this is the way they used to drive together and sing along to the radio.
He slowed and creeped along the road, looking for the old trail they used to follow when he was younger. Finally he saw it- it was definitely overgrown and barely visible through all the brush but he knew that path by heart. He parked the car as far off the road as he could and began walking.
For the first time in years he smiled at the sun on his face. Birds flew overhead and rather than ignoring them like he had been, he followed them with his eyes and listened to their song- soaking it in and memorizing it. Walking slowly through the woods, he eventually he reached the old stream where they used to stop and eat their picnic lunches.
He stopped to rest and take a drink from his canteen, the memories coming back and overtaking his mind. He knew he couldn't blame his father forever, he had done nothing but loved his mother and done everything he could to save her. It was the cancer that had killed her, not him.
Slowly he reached from into his bag and pulled out the old camera, dusting the lens off carefully. He turned on the power, surprised that those old batteries still had anything left after all those years of sitting there unused. Taking a deep breath, he peered through the viewfinder and snapped a beautiful photo of their old favorite tree, and with the snap of the shutter he let it all go.
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