We were on a family trip to Florida and my mom had bought me a camera as a peace offering. I remember being depressed and ultra shitty because Vicki and Luna were going to spend the summer as counselors at Camp Kappenshaw, and I had to spend the summer visiting my grandparents a thousand miles away. I couldn’t spend my nights throwing myself at Mike Moreland, and the girls were going to laugh and joke about camp stories all through our senior year.
We were sitting outside the gate of Disney World and every time I took a picture I handed it to my mother to annoy her. “Here, look at this,” I’d say, handing her stupid pictures of trashcans, car bumpers, my feet. I wanted to show her how miserable I was, how awful it was to spend the summer before my senior year staying at my grandparents, and every time I handed the Polaroids to my mom she’d smile and nod and go, “Oh, Em, how lovely,” half mocking, half serious.
I was a terror on that trip. I shouted at my mom and called my grandad a fogey. I even took my brothers ice cream cone and threw it in the trash when my parents told us to get lost for a while.
So when I look at this photo I think about my mother then. I think about how nice she was, how terrible she must have thought I was. And I wish I knew what Polaroid I handed her. It was probably a curb or a ceiling or a water fountain. Those are the memories I shared with her. That’s what she thought I saw.
Story by Cameron Maynard