Unreluctant Photographer

There's a kid who lives down the street from me that all the parents like to talk about. Well, let's put it this way: there's a guy, maybe something like nineteen years old, and he's a constant thorn in the side of all the adults around here. I have no idea why, so don't ask me.
But this guy, I don't know his name, is a photographer, or something like that. He always walks around, always with his camera around his neck, and at any given second he'll lay down in the middle of the street to snap a picture. I see him everywhere, but mostly I see him shuffling down my street on a windy day and his long black hair will blow out around his head like those halos in the Catholic paintings of Jesus and Mary. I always like to sit at my window on those days, and hope he'll walk by to capture those bare rattling branches in a single silent shot.
I especially like those days when I'll be sitting under that tree at the end of the street, the one taht sits on the bank of our rolling muddy river. I'll look up at those long flowing fingers trailing the ground, and see him sitting high up in the branches, silently watching the leaves trip along the grass. And when the shadows deepen so that his hair disappears with the leaves and all that's left is his face, sometimes the trail of a ghost tear will slash his face.
I talked to him once, on a steaming muggy day in August when I saw him crouched in front of the wrought-iron fence that enclosed the massive white houses of my street. I started to say hello, but he immediatly grabbed my wrist to pull me to the sidewalk beside him. He placed a long white finger on my lips and then pointed, silently, to the fence. I looked, but…it was a fence. He angled his camera with a grim expression on his pale face, snapped a few pictures, then rose to his feet with almost an air of a world-weary man, beaten and broken-backed.
He started walking towards the river with slow sure steps, never looking back, and I jumped up to run after him. I looked at his face as we walked, and it almost seemed as though I aged, just looking into his eyes. They were dark, almost as though they were depthless pools that delved into the very center of his soul, and if I had kept looking, I would have drowned. I looked at him and it almost pained me to see his wrists jutting out and his knobby fingers clutching helplessly to his camera, and I started to cry. I wasn't sobbing or anything like that, but silent drops of tears began to flow down my cheeks.
And that was when he stopped and turned to me. When his eyes started searching my face, it was like they pierced my flesh and laid bare my soul on the sidewalk. I had no idea what he was doing, but then he shoved his arm forward in a sudden jarring motion and yanked up the loose black sleeve of his sweater.
Now it was he that was laid bare; what should have been his pure white arm lay, blinding, in the piercing sunlight. The length of his arm was cut and scarred, so many marks that didn't belong. The red and faded brown of where his flesh had been laid open stood out like nothing else, and there was nothing I could say. He bent his head and his tangled black hair fell in ringlets, over his face and over his arm.
And in that instant, I saw it, I saw what he had seen in that faded silence, just a few moments ago. As his hair lay curled over that slashed arm, I saw the fence and its black iron bars and curls laid over the burnt black skeleton arms of the tree, against that blazing white sky.
He spoke, the only words I had ever heard pass from out his mouth, yet my eyes would not lift from his arm though I felt his own eyes burn into my skull.
“Diary,” he said. “By Chuck Palahniuk. He says, 'Inspiration needs disease, injury, madness.'”
He continued towards the river, but I was rooted in that spot, watching him leave, and once again there was nothing I could say. But that would not be the case when I next saw him, six months later.

(Should i keep going or no?)

Samantha Conner ©2005