So we sat down on the floor together. Away from the noise of the reunion, my little subject calmed down and started to get more comfortable. I was in the middle of photography for a crazy family reunion in Boise, Idaho, and was required to get pictures of certain family members. My last one was on the floor beside me, and had successfully evaded my camera all day. So, as I do a lot, I tried to make him more comfortable by showing him how my camera worked, the pictures that I had taken, and how to click the shudder button.
Somehow the subject of crying came up. There was a dog sitting nearby and I asked, “Do you know that even dogs cry?” He was quiet for a minute, looking over at the sleeping dog.
“My mommy cries sometimes.” He said. I had met his mother earlier in the day. She was a nice, but a distant and vaguely unhappy woman.
“Oh yeah?” I didn’t really know how I was supposed to respond to that one. “Why does she cry?” I expected something like “when she gets an owie.”
“When daddy is mad at her.”
Thankfully, you don’t have to keep up a conversation with a five-year-old. I didn’t know what to say. It was obviously vivid enough in his mind to tell a stranger about it. We sat in silence together in the now-empty kitchen. I gave him a little hug and he rested his heavy head on my lap.
When we went back outside, he let me photograph his large, mournful eyes.
His parents were upset I never got a picture of him smiling.
I didn’t care.
*I wish I could post the picture I got of this young man. But for the sake of this family’s privacy, I can’t. I hope and pray that they can work through whatever problems they may have. This featured image has NOTHING to do with this story. I just love it. 🙂