'Golden' by Jason Jackson
He had to tell them how he’d pulled her out of bed.
Since she’d been sick, there’d been a routine: he’d get up, make breakfast, take it to her on the old blue tray. Sometimes he’d stay, watch her. She’d try a smile between tired attempts at the toast. He’d shower, dress, look in on her before he left to get the morning paper. She’d always be asleep again.
But when he opened the curtains in the living room that morning, he couldn’t believe the sky. It was as if it were on fire, and the trees in the park burnt into black silhouettes. He thought of something he’d read in his photography books, the golden hour just around dawn. The light incredible, ethereal.
A perfect moment.
He called to her. “Come and see this,” and in the silence that followed, he clenched his fists. Surely there were some things in the world that were still worth getting up for?
He called again, but there was nothing, and that was when he’d gone to the bedroom. She’d looked up, and he’d grabbed her wrist.
He told them that must’ve been when it had broken, or perhaps when he’d pulled her along the floor into the living room. He should have just carried her. After all, she’d lost weight.
Of course, by the time he got her there, the light had changed. Something had shifted, and the sky’s fire had gone. It had taken only those few minutes.
He remembered something else he’d read in his books: every photograph is a manipulation of the truth, and he told them about this, too.
He should have just got his camera, he said.
Then he could have shown her.