A snapshot appeared in my life today. One of those moments where I am carried back to 2005 without warning. I stand startled–but I’m learning that startled is a pretty normal state for me so it doesn’t feel odd.
I visited Shawn’s locker last week with my kids. The locker is basically the same way it was before he died. The police department has allowed me to keep it that way along with all the love notes he had taped inside the locker door…the ones I used to write and send in his lunch box.
A very kind friend came and took photos of the locker to be used in the book I’m writing. She let me borrow her eyes and see this memory from a variety angles—finding things I had never seen before.
While we were there I found a disposable camera on the bottom of the locker floor. Only six pictures were taken. I asked the sergeant if I could develop them. He nodded and told me, “Let me know what you find.” I wasn’t expecting much. I thought there may be some shots of evidence from drug paraphernalia or something uneventful that simply needed documentation…a stolen bike? A stolen anything.
Standing at the photo counter, opening the envelope…there he is. He’s on a bike. It’s not stolen. It looks warm outside. No jacket. Tan arms. Bright eyes. The well-known smile. It appears to be a National-Night-Out neighborhood party. He is photographed with a swarm of children holding giddy grins. Who doesn’t want to meet a police officer when they’re eight? One photo shows the children piling in the back of a squad car. In another he’s passing out pencils. It looks like it’s about to get dark.
He looks strong and kind. He looks interested and involved. He looks alive.
What year is this? Oh, yes I have to travel back to today. That’s where I am. I’m holding a snapshot.