Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

How the life of a childhood friend was relived through a polaroid

psdgraphics.com

Posted on February 03, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Krysteana Scribner, Editor-in-chief

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a Polaroid photo while cleaning my closet. The image is now faded, discolored by time and folded gently in the corner. I believe it was taken in the summer of 2008, but my childhood memories are beginning to blur as I continue to grow older.

I am seated next to Amber at Saco Bay Variety, and together we smile for the photographer. I cannot remember if Amber asked a stranger to take it, or if Sonny (the manager) took it for us.

We lived within walking distance to each other, and each morning we sat together on the bus and did the same on the ride home. Amber was always so funny, and our bus adventures almost always ended with the bus driver scolding us for being too hyperactive.

After school, we often walked in the cemetery – Amber loved to adventure and always found beauty in the mundane. She once told me if you look close enough to the trees, you could always see a familiar face sculpted in the intricacies of the bark. It is because of Amber that I learned to appreciate the little things.

One summer, Amber and I attempted to fix up my childhood clubhouse, merely 5 feet tall, and dreamed of decorating it with a shag rug and stocking it with lots of food. We painted the interior with shades Amber had chosen; dark purples, stunning reds, bright golds.

We would do our homework in the clubhouse during the school year, and go swimming in the pool very often during our Summer vacations. Some afternoons, Amber and I would visit Josephine, my other great childhood friend, and together we would jump on the trampoline, often for hours, performing crazy jumps and spins while we talked of life and love and growing up.

One afternoon, Amber and I were scanning through various magazines, hoping to cut out our favorite images to decorate our miniature play palace. Briefly, Amber gasped, and flashed me a photo from her fashion magazine: It was an image of a beautiful woman in what appeared to be a chain-link dress.

As my father came out to check on us, young sweet Amber yelled to him, “Mr. Scribner! Mr. Scribner! Do you like her dress? Isn’t she beautiful?” and my father walked over, his hands caked in dry-compound, his eyes tired from a long day at work.

When he looked at the image, he smiled, looked straight into Amber’s eyes and said, “Yes, she is.” I smiled at my father, and looked over at Amber as she taped it to the clubhouse wall – I remember this moment with great fondness. Amber wasn’t afraid to express herself and my father always encouraged that aspect of her personality.

With Amber gone, it feels like I have lost a piece of my childhood, because the person I shared these memories with is no longer here to remember them with me. Amber and I last talked in the Summer of 2014. More matured, Sonny greeted us with his typical smile, and remarked on how much we had grown. We talked still of our hopes and dreams, but never made time to meet again. I suppose that is what time does; it robs us of familiarity, but gifts us with lifelong memories.

When I look at this photo, discolored by age, I see the smiling faces of two young children, trying to understand the world and all its possibilities. I see the curiosity in our eyes, wondering how aging would change us and how time would morph our friendship. While I can’t quite remember who took the photo, I do remember Amber taking back her Polaroid camera, gently pulling the film out and waving it in the air to process. She handed it to me, and we looked together, amazed at how such a machine could capture such a small moment in time.

She said maybe one day, many years down the road, I would find this photo hidden in a forgotten corner, and remember the beauty that was in the moment.

When I look at the tree’s during Cemetery walks, I can still see those faces staring back at me. When I look at rain puddles, I remember the two of us closing our eyes, splashing in them, pretending we had transported to a parallel universe where the puddle served as a portal. When I see leaf piles, I think of Amber hiding beneath them, and jumping out in a glorious burst of fall colors.

Amber, thank you for the gift of my childhood memories. I will carry them with me, like this photograph of us, for always.

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