Clive’s Study

They sat on the cool sofa as she turned the pages of the softcover photo book. It had come in a package with a note about how they had helped see the couple through that last part of their journey and she had been opening the mail while they talked because it had been four days and the rest of the family would be all flying back east on Sunday for a wedding somewhere on Long Island.

“These are so beautiful.”

They were soft lit, natural photographs of a writer’s room. Full of books and souvenirs and the small pieces of sculpture and art sat in front of the book spines, because they weren’t retrieved all the frequently. A writer’s library slowly becomes a fixed immovable situation over time, sedimentary evidence of reading and research and interests. All the western section in a row, the Wyatt Earp next to the John Wayne.

“He really loved the west.” The writer, now passed, had lived mainly in England and the two families had exchanged houses and they drove all around, he was fascinated by the West. His son had been born while he was teaching for a year in the states, just lucky enough to receive dual-citizenship. The son wrote, too, and was in LA and working on a screenplay that had been picked up by a studio.

“I feel like this is kind of the edge of the world, the last place that was settled, you know, like there is no where else to go? And it’s strange having been born here, where else is there really to go, except” and he pointed toward the ceiling.

“Oh, yes, I’ve thought that too.”

He thought about the ship, upturned, a gradient of birds. It was as close as their frontier had to a ruin, as far west as anyone could go on foot.

They talked about the project, which might turn into a whole career, if he wanted it.

After the memorial, the photographer said to her, “I realized I’ve been taking pictures of the wrong things this whole time.”

“He needed to focus on people?”


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