I keep a framed photo of my brother, Jeffrey, on my home office wall at my desk just below eye level so that when I stare at the blank screen of Microsoft Word he stares back at me. The picture was capture at Clayton Lake when he was about five or so, and it’s in a second-person POV (point of view) so when I look into the photo it’s as though I’m recapturing that moment from my POV.
I remember the day mom snapped the photo because I had always thought of tire swings to function where you sit inside the doughnut hole, but in this case at this particular park the tire was on its side held mid air by the thick yellow rope tied to the brown wooden swing foundation that reminded me of a giant tootsie rolls.
The largest knots I had ever seen were just within reach so that when all of us kids piled onto the tire and dangled our feet in the doughnut hole and we fought to make it move, we would at least have something to hang onto. The rope seemed like it would be helpful so that we wouldn’t fall, but the coarseness of it made it hard to hang on to and eventually all of us got a rope splinter. Maybe they should have kid-tested it first.
I was across from Jeffrey when mom took this picture of him squinting as he looked up at mom hovering above and into the only thing he could see through the beaming sun that hid mom’s face; the camera that blocked the sun from his eyes. I held onto the tire swing with one hand and used the other to put my hands in a salute above my eyebrows so that I could see the moment captured. Mom gave him a little kiss on the cheek and moved the lens across to me, while Jeffrey flashed a short smile and joined the rest of the kids that attempted to wrestle the movement of their bodies to get the tire swing going.
I put Jeffrey’s picture there so that when I can’t think of anything to write about, all I have to do is look into his eyes and just change my perspective.