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Day 11/50 "Fiction Friday"
She didn’t recognize him. Not even when he asked her to take his photograph did she realize who he was. But when she dropped her head to look down into the viewfinder of the Brownie box camera, her long hair blocking the sun, it all came back. It must have been the mirror image in the camera that reminded Mary of the sight of Frank combing his hair in the reflection of the hardware store window. It was the day she and Sara Jane met Frank and two weeks before Mary’s best friend disappeared.
Mary’s hand shook so she hesitated pulling the lever. Even in the bright sun she knew the photograph would be blurry if the camera wasn’t still. Sara Jane. They had lived next door to each other since they were babies. Their fathers both worked up at the mill, and their mother’s pooled resources and time to raise the kids together. It was Sara Jane who encouraged Mary to get her first camera, a big deal back then. Especially for a young woman. Sara Jane was always leading the way for the two of them. She was more outgoing, so it was no surprise when she walked right up to the cute boy and his reflection.
The three of them became inseparable for the next two weeks. Sara Jane always insisted Mary join her and Frank on their outings, maybe as a way of keeping Frank from getting any ideas. But then word came about Sara Jane’s grandmother up in North Carolina. A tornado had come through and destroyed their home, killing her granddaddy. Ripped him right out of the basement he dug with his own hands. Sara Jane was going to have to go stay with her and help her rebuild.
Two days before she was supposed to leave, the three of them had gone for a picnic in the woods by the creek. For some reason Mary could still remember the wicker basket Frank carried and his hand clutched around its handles. The veins on his hand and arm swole up real big under the tight grip. She’d seen the same veins on her daddy’s hands one night when he held her mama’s neck up against the wall.
The next day Sara Jane's mama said she never came down to breakfast.