Archaeology

by Bethan Jones

There are no photos of me as a child. Or, if there are, they are nothing more than glimpses: a blurred cheek; a lock of hair; a foot disappearing from the frame. I seem to be constantly on the edge of the shot, on the periphery; neither part of, nor apart from, the world I was supposed to inhabit.

There is one photograph of me taken in France, when I am eight or nine. My back is turned to the camera. My red waterproof coat hangs below my knees, and only the tips of my fingers can be seen beneath its long, loose sleeves. I am facing a vast expanse of emptiness, staring into the distance at something I can no longer find. There is no sign that I am watching the sea or the sky, from the photograph; no sign that I have my gaze locked upon the horizon, watching.

Whatever it is I was looking for I’ve long since forgotten.

Bethan Jones is a Welsh writer of flash fiction and science fiction. She is working towards a PhD at Cardiff University.

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  1. #1 by Catherine on November 8, 2011 - 8:28 am

    Lovely piece! I can smell this little faceless child!

  2. #2 by John Ritchie on November 8, 2011 - 10:13 am

    ‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.’

    This is a between the lines sort of story, not much apparent substance, yet a great deal lurking below the surface.

    I like it

    John

  3. #3 by ramsea on November 8, 2011 - 10:21 am

    Lovely piece. Striking.

  4. #4 by Leilanie Stewart on November 8, 2011 - 11:12 am

    I love stories like this – the isolation and loneliness the writer conveys. Quite symbolic too with the red coat as a central theme (to me) in the story against the backdrop of emptiness.

    Leilanie :)

  5. #5 by linesofcommunication on November 8, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    Attempts to interpret photographs are always fascinating and this is a more in-depth one than most, which captures and enlarges upon the impossibility of ever knowing, even when it was you who was there.

  6. #6 by Paul Blaney on November 8, 2011 - 8:41 pm

    Bravo. Less is more

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