Updated: Feb 13
Chapter One: The Beauty of Broken Things
Kelso paused for the shot, because it was perfect. It was not the bridge over the river, cloaked in a rolling autumn fog, and it was not the distant, hazy forms of the buildings, gray against a grayer morning sky. It was not the dark waters of the river itself, lapping along endlessly in their dance, or even the fog-cloaked hulk of the East River Ferry, in the distance that made the image.
The perfection of the shot was the girl and the dog. The moment when the sunlight of the late fall broke through the gray clouds to illuminate her, a single ray, on the form of the girl. The one ray of light hit her sidelong, at just the angle to cast her shadow long across the broken concrete as she looked out on the water. It was what the image said of the universe, the shadow and the girl's gaze, for just that moment, perfect companions, sympathetic. The shadow stretched long and away, even as the girl looked out across the water, long and away, lost in whatever contemplation a girl accompanied by a three-legged mutt contemplated on such a morning. Kelso captured the shadow and the light, the dog on its two good hind legs, likewise observing the stretch of the waters and the distant towers. He captured the profile of the girl, an almost palpable look of sadness and longing in her dark eyes. It was perfect.
Kelso knew from long experience that the perfect shot, truly perfect, rarely came by chance. There were good shots, even great shots, but the perfect shot happened often by design rather than happenstance. He could count on one hand the number of times he'd been presented with it at just the moment when his camera was at the ready, and the undeniable feeling of rightness at those moments was one that he thought was akin to glimpsing the inner workings of the universe itself. An image was a suspended moment of infinity, something unique, that in all the wheeling billions of years that composed the past, present, and future, would never happen again. When he was able to capture it, to freeze it, to pass that moment on to the rest of humanity, that was when he felt purpose most of all.
That perfect second passed. The clouds moved again, drifting lazy through the sky, unconcerned for the goings on far below. The single ray was swallowed up, vanished, the colorful form of the girl muted with its passing, and Kelso felt the entire world was just a bit sadder for it. The girl turned at the click of the shutter, the dog swiveling with her. For a moment she looked across at him, standing in his trenchcoat, camera in his hand. All the loneliness of an unkind and uncaring reality informed her person, wrapped as tightly about her as the dingy and ripped red puffer coat she wore against the chill. She flipped him the bird and scampered away in the opposite direction with the mangy little dog hopping along behind.
Kelso sighed and watched her round a bend, disappearing into the fog as though she'd been a dream. He had his moment, though. Content with that, he strolled on himself, thinking about the girl, the dog, building his imagined story of her circumstance in the bigger tapestry of things. The cogs of his imagination turned, placing her and her companion among all the rest of the bits that floated along in the sea of time, two broken things, just like all the rest, but no less beautiful for their flaws.
Like the sound of this story? You can pick up the finished book in the store. This emotional story tells the tale of Tessa, Kelso, and a mutt, three broken things in an uncaring world. Flawed as they are, each working through their own pains, the power of an unexpected and incredible friendship can heal even the deepest of scars.
Buy The Beauty of Broken Things