This is a two-part story based on a photo prompt over at Indigo Spider’s blog. One of the challenges of the prompt was to try tag-write it with another writer. Uma, over at Blue Sky Musings invited me to be her writing partner. I gladly accepted, knowing we would be able to come up with something great together. I was not mistaken!
Please, please, please – before you read the entry below, go over to Part I of the story: When It Finally Happened. I have posted Part II written by Uma below. She has posted Part I, written by me, on her post. So you need to hop on over there and read that post first, then come back and finish the story here.
Here’s the photo it was based on:
The photographer is Vivian Maier. She was completely unknown. Took literally thousands of rolls of film, mostly with a medium-format camera. NEVER SHOWED them to anyone. Died extremely poor. In the last years of her life she could not pay the storage fees on the unit with all her undeveloped film and photos and they were auctioned off. Luckily someone who bought a large lot of them recognized how amazing they are and has found most of the collection. He is bringing her to posthumous recognition. Amazing stuff. Check her out! Click here to see the photo we chose for the prompt – Photo Prompt from Indigo Spider
WHEN IT FINALLY HAPPENED: PART II
He turned and loped toward the door. She ran after him.
He didn’t even turn his head. The bell on the handle of the glass door jangled as he pushed it open, bolted down the sidewalk, and pushed aside a woman with a fur hat. As Charley raced out the door, the fur-hatted woman turned to look after the tear-faced clown and the ragged little girl chasing him.
A half-block away, he suddenly stopped and leaned against a brick wall. She reached him, panting. He was crying. Taxis honked; the man selling hot dogs and pretzels on the corner watched as Charley hugged him, wailing.
Her thin body pressed against him, her arms wrapped his waist. Desperation rang through the streets. The near-hideous clown slumped, his weight falling onto Charley. She released her arms and he collapsed in a pile on the hard sidewalk. His odd clown-hat fell off his sweating head and lay at a grotesque angle beside him.
People gathered around them, stood in mute silence, staring. Panic rose in Charley’s chest. When her father performed his strange, dark-clown, street dramas, she played her part silently, passing the hat, eyes downcast, invisible. She had to get him home, out of sight. It didn’t matter that it was freezing in that 5th floor walk-up, the refrigerator shelves were bare and they had to huddle around the gas stove to keep at least their hands and noses warm. They would be alone and together.
“What’s going on here? Make way, make WAY, I said. Police, make way.”
She hissed into her father’s ear.
“The police are here!”
To Charley, the illiterate daughter of an illegal street performer, the police meant one thing: run.
Her father mouthed some words. She leaned in to catch them.
“I love you. I’m sorry.”
She started to scream and tried to twist away as the cop put his hand on her shoulder.
The woman in the fur hat stepped forward from the crowd.
“Please, sir, unhand my daughter.”
Charley stopped mid-scream.
The cop released his grip. “Ma’am, what is going on here?”
Charley didn’t move.
“Sir, I do apologize. This man has been taking care of my daughter. I will see to them both. I would appreciate it if you could move this crowd along. Thank you.”
The woman squatted down to Charley’s eye level.
“Hello, dear. What is your name?” She said very quietly.
“Charley.” Charley whispered.
“Well, hello Charley. I am Anna. What is your father’s first name?”
Anna stood and spoke to a man standing beside her who Charley had not noticed. A car pulled up to the curb. Her father’s eyes opened as the man leaned down to help him to his feet.
And that is how Charley and Willhelm came to live with us — Mama found them on the street.