Fuck That CVS

A memory lost but never forgotten.

Words (bad), film photographs (even worse)

There is a photograph.

There is a photograph that I think about—honestly? It feels like every day. The thing about this photograph is that I’ve never seen it.

In my mind, it’s a snowball, perfectly framed, perfectly in focus. In the background, out of focus, is my friend Whitney. His throwing motion a blur. It’s the second, maybe third attempt. But it’s perfect.

Out of frame is his girlfriend, Sam. Sam, who is now his wife. In her hands is a different camera, a digital one. She doesn’t capture this moment, though. Her shutter closes on other scenes of cancelled classes, joyful neighbors, a dog. It's the perfect day, the perfect moment, other than the dog. I want to remember it forever.

 

Behind Sam is a house split in two. The floors are sticky from Halloween; it’s January. My room and Panar's are empty. She's not with us.

Across town is an apartment where she sits with Pablo. Pablo, who she will marry this July, pandemic pending. They are outside, too. Their classes are cancelled, too. Their neighbors are joyful, too. There are dogs. There are always dogs.

Down the street is a CVS. It sits on the Drag between a Baptist Church and a Chipotle. Heavenly, truly. Long receipts stick to the snow melted on the sidewalks outside.

Through the automatic doors is a counter, a photo counter. It’s here where I bring a roll of film a few days later. Inside the plastic and foil is my perfect snowball and twenty-three of its forgotten friends. It’s here where the lab technician determines they don’t have the right processing materials for my roll… but process it anyway.

In my mind, this perfect moment, my most perfect memory, dies and lives forever. The best thing that never happened. My villain origin story.

There is a photograph that I think about every day and—honestly? Given my track record with film photography -- always perfectly exposed, never dark, never blurry, never a wasted frame -- I know it was exactly as I imagined it. Exactly as I remembered it. A stellar piece of art. Absolutely perfect.