Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Photograph

The Photograph
By Michael Cannata

The police officer asked me for my license and registration after pulling me over. I’d committed a crime that most people commit every day. "A rolling stop," was what he called it. I took out my wallet and rummaged through the compartments searching for my driver's license.

As I pulled it out and handed it to the officer, a small folded photograph that had stuck to the back dropped out. It had been awhile since I last looked at it and had forgotten it was there.

As it fluttered to the ground, the memory that it captured came flooding back, along with a myriad of emotions. It had been taken back in my first year of college. The girl had been someone I'd met at a dance the night it was taken. I took it at the end of our first date. For me it actually was my first real date. She was such a beautiful young woman then. I could still see her deep blue eyes and recalled how alluring they were.

We danced, apart at first, but as the evening went on we danced closer. She pressed herself hard against me and I could feel her firm young breasts rise and fall as she breathed deep. I felt her bra strap as I held her tightly.

We went for a drive after the dance and she flirted with me all the way to the place where we parked. I pulled her to me as we made out and I started rubbing her breasts. I was young, eager and very inexperienced. In my haste I fumbled and tore some buttons off; making a complete fool of myself as I tried to undress her while we kissed under the stars. I apologized for being so anxious.

She seemed to tense up but did nothing to stop me and I could feel her heartbeat grow faster. Still, she smiled nervously and said nothing, doing her best to help me stay calm. She helped me remove her blouse and bra with her trembling hands. She breathed heavily and deeply as I stared at her naked body. She remained still as I ran my own trembling hands over her cool skin.  I appreciated her patience and told her so.

"It's my first time," I said sheepishly.

"It's OK," she replied nervously. "It's mine, too.  You can do what you want. Just go slow and please don't hurt me," she whispered. "We can do anything you want!"

"It won't hurt, I promise," I told her. And, as best as I remember, it didn't. To this day every time I think of her eyes I still get excited. In fact, I found my loins stirring as the officer picked up the picture and unfolded it.

Of course he didn't see her eyes. Her head was missing when I took the picture after a long night of, well, I called it lovemaking, but she probably didn't consider it anything of the sort. But that night was so very long ago and I was a much stronger man. If the officer had stopped me that night I would have fought much harder if he tried to arrest me.

"My first kill," I offered casually as he looked at me with fright in his eyes and drew his gun. His hands were shaking worse than mine did the night I cut her to ribbons.

"Some moments are just too precious to let pass without taking a photograph. Don't you agree?"

I quietly followed his commands and allowed him to handcuff me without a fight. I wished I could have taken a picture of his horror stricken face as he arrested me. I wondered what the detectives who would investigate my crimes would think when they saw the dozens of other pictures hidden in my bedroom closet.

When it came to pictures I always had a good eye. Unfortunately, my dates in the photographs never had any.

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