There is this stained and bent photograph sitting in a frozen, metal frame, solitary and contained to her desk. It depicts a father, or what might have been a father, holding two young children upon his shoulders. They could look like him, maybe, if someone said so before ever glancing at the image, but the two children certainly resemble one another. Their eyes are the same color, or they would be if they were open. On the left shoulder, the young, blonde child in a red shirt trusts the father and his balance, but the other does not, and could not, for he was older and understood the consequences of falling—understood that those consequences only exist when someone creates a situation that enables such an accident, if that is the correct word for it. Maybe it would be easier to see the fear and lack of trust if the photograph was snapped closer, or in color. Then, the color on the older child’s face could be seen slipping away and dripping into the gravel under their feet. But the gravel can’t be seen because that wasn’t important at the time. But, now, it has become apparent that I have never understood what is quite important to other people and why it is always at the cost of another.

Oh, My Word! Here is a brief exercise inspired by the use of projection as a literary device and how narrators have the ability to shape the perception of the story, often with little recourse or accountability unless it is internalized.


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