Photograph of Col. Thomas Matthews, 1942
(Entry 1: 11th September 1953)
by phoebe anson
Entry 1: 11th September 1953
She had never focused on that photograph before, or ever really noticed it. She didn’t need to when he was here.
She was pulled out of her lesson at school.
Science it was.
That’s how they told her. They asked if she wanted to go home or go back into class. That was what they focused on. Whether she wanted to carry on learning about nuclei or go home to her house with one less parent.
She chose to go home, of course, nuclei seeming insignificant all of a sudden. This is what she was thinking about sat in her living room alone, mother making the family calls in the kitchen. It was science she had on her mind but then again, the other thing seemed too much to handle.
It was at that point that she noticed the picture frame on the fireplace, the only dust free item standing there. Mother must have spent some time with it today after she received the news. She stood up to inspect it further, having never really fussed over it until today. It was a photograph of her father.
At the bottom, it read:
Col. Thomas Matthews, 1942.
That was all.
He was stood in his uniform, wearing his medals, gun at his side. There was a severeness in his face that she had never noticed although, now she thinks about it, it was always there.
Her mother shouted through the wall, asking if she wanted anything to eat. There were still some sausage rolls in the fridge she had made last night with her father, but it felt
to eat them. Without him.
No thanks! she called.
He had spoken to her about the photograph before, but it is was only now that she wished she had listened more closely. She couldn’t even remember what each of the medals were for, although she guessed it didn’t really matter.
She sank down in front of the fireplace, still holding the photograph in its ornate silver gilt frame. We could do with some firewood fetching from out the back, her mother called, as it’s getting a bit cold in here. She very nearly responded to her mother. She investigated the fireplace to check if there was anything left from last night but there was nothing.
Nothing but ash. She opened her mouth to speak but, finally, the tears started.
Phoebe Anson (she/her) is a recent graduate of English Literature from the University of Sheffield. She is currently taking a year away from studies, working as a support worker, before she goes back to university to do a Master’s degree. Phoebe’s work explores a range of themes from the female body to animal theory to deconstructions of the (human) self. Phoebe has previously been published in Orange Blush Zine, as well as other publications like Illagrypho Press, Streetcake Magazine, Quince Map, and Nymphs publications.
Ian Long is an artist currently studying illustration at Montclair State University in New Jersey, USA. They enjoy creating narrative pieces by using a combination of bold colors, textured brushes, and paper overlays. In their free time, you can find Ian reading, taking walks, antique shopping, or watching reality TV with their roommates.