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Still Life 

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Click.

Ye Gods. Not another one.

Click.

I wanted to take her phone and chuck it into the river next to us. I wanted it so badly my fingers twitched. The desire must have reached my face, as her selfie smile dropped and a frown was aimed in my direction.
“What?” The word came out flat. Lifeless. Her face only animated for that camera.

“Nothing.” I sighed. My phone beeped, and I retrieved it from my pocket.

‘Hannah posted a new picture!’ A social media blurb blurbled. I swiped it away with an agitated finger, but managed to open it instead of dismiss it.

There she was, flowing blonde hair and glittering blue eyes, in all her pixelated glory. ‘Lakeside with the babe!’ the title of the picture.

“It’s a river.”

“What?”

“This is a river, not a lake.”

A cloud passed over her face, dulling her features. “Whatever.”

The dismissal of the proper terminology of a body of water vexed me.

“It’s clearly a river behind you in the picture. People are going to think you’re stupid.”

Her eyes narrowed – the effervescent blue in the photo now a muted gray.

“I’m tired,” she proclaimed, effectively ending the argument. She flopped down on the blanket I had dragged along and closed her eyes.

I took a hard look at her face; skin that seemed pink and fresh two weeks ago when we started dating now looked ashy and worn. Her smooth, corn-silk hair now a brittle yellow.

Slipping the phone from her hand, I entered the passcode; the birthday of some tedious pop singer, and scrolled through the photos.

Pictures of cats, photos of a pizza we ate last week, and a host of images that were a testament to her youth and beauty. I looked at the last, comparing it to the girl before me.

I switched over to the camera, and took a shot. The sleeping girl on the phone was a vision, but the sleeping girl on the ground took on a harder look. I took another. Lines formed around her mouth, and her eyes sunk behind once perfect eyelids. I snapped away, witnessing the corruption of youth with every shot. The woman in the pictures becoming ever more lovely, the figure before me becoming a withered husk. I raised the phone to snap the last photo. Something had taken over; I knew the last picture would be the end of her, and I couldn’t stop. Her head lifted lethargically and her eyes creaked open. With a rasping, wheezing breath, her last words:
“Get. My. Good. Side.” The effort of speech was too much. She lay prone on the blanket once more.

My thumb found the button of its own accord – click.

The picture in front of me was of a goddess – a more perfect creature had never walked the earth. The figure on the blanket became dust. Strands of grayed hair wafted away.

The phone hardly made a sound as the river claimed it.

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Kristin is a Vermont writer. She prefers to write creative fiction as opposed to non, even though she knows that life can be stranger than fiction at times. She currently works for a publishing company, but on the administrative side.

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