The library book she read a year ago said Victorians took photos of their dead. They dressed them up,
arranged them on beds or chairs, made a head tilt or an arm curve. Then they coaxed their eyes open, had them look into the big black camera on the three-legged stand. They made them stare life down.
She stared down at the man in the coffin, at the plaid shirt with the denim patches, washed-out overalls, thick boots with fraying laces. He was dressed in his farm clothes because that’s who he’d been. There was a tiny burr stuck to a cuff. How had they missed that? His eyes were closed.
She slipped her phone from her pocket and looked around. The others were off to a buffet of jellied salads, and ham hocks and beans, and pie, every kind of pie. She was the only one in the room. Unless she counted him. When she clicked on her camera, she thought she saw the ghost of a smile.
That night she lay in the motel bed and dreamed of sun and wheat and missed opportunities. When she woke, she stared at the ceiling and tried to remember if she’d dreamed in black and white.
* I normally post non-fiction in this blog, but I have a real soft spot for flash fiction, and so I thought I’d add this piece since it is a kind of reflection on memory. Hope you liked it!