Posted on behalf of yankluver
Title: More Than a Thousand
Spoilers: "The Telling"
Disclaimer: Alias and its characters do not belong to me. I do this out of
a love for the show and no infringement is intended.
Summary: Takes places some time after Syd "died". Vaughn thinks about the woman he lost and about what he has left to remember her by.
I've always been fascinated by pictures.
Moments in time captured forever.
Candid or not, each one tells a story, recalls a forgotten memory. Sad, happy, indifferent, a photograph is a visual representation of a memory.
Sometimes they tell stories they're not meant to.
A smiling little girl playing with her toys, fading bruises on her arms.
Sometimes you look at them and you think about the people looking back at you.
Who are they? Who are they really?
They're smiling or laughing, but are they really happy? Only they know for sure.
Those photographs capture a moment in time and no matter how hard they try, they can't capture a person.
I like to watch those forensic shows. You know, where they investigate a murder using the latest scientific technology.
There are always two things, every time, without fail: a victim and a perpetrator.
And there are always pictures. Pictures of the victim, pictures of the perpetrator.
Each picture flashes across the screen, telling a story, but is it a true story? Who knows.
Through pictures they aim to describe these people, paint a picture of a life.
The ones that always get me are the photographs of a smiling perpetrator. We've all heard of him. He seemed like a 'family man'. Neighbors described him as 'friendly and helpful'.
There are pictures after pictures with him smiling, laughing, surrounded by family and friends. If you didn't know any better, you'd swear he was the victim. You have no way of knowing that behind that smile, lurks the potential for murder.
That's when you realize that pictures never tell the whole story. Sometimes they tell the story the person wants to tell.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there are a thousand more it can't capture.
In the end, a picture is nothing more than what you see.
What you want to see.
What they want you to see.
I have this picture of Sydney. It's the only one I have. Our jobs didn't allow for much free time together, so whatever we did have, we savored. We were so busy living, we didn't think to capture it forever.
I regret that now.
After Sydney died, her father and I cleaned out her house. Almost everything had been destroyed in the fire, the one that killed Sydney, but there were a few things that survived.
One was the antique silver frame I gave her that first Christmas. I found it lying on the floor next to her nightstand. It had a picture of me in it. The only one she had. She must have just put it on her nightstand, because I had never seen it there before.
I picked it up, brushing off some soot. The glass was cracked, but could be replaced. Other than that, it was in perfect condition.
I looked at the picture. It was a simple one. Me kneeling down on the grass in the park, next to Donovan.
I'm smiling. This big, broad smile.
I'm smiling at her.
I was happy then. Truly, completely happy…maybe for the first time in my life.
I stared at the picture, at that stranger, for a long time. It could have been anyone. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought it was the picture that came with the frame.
Who was he? I couldn't remember.
When was the last time I'd smiled like that? I couldn't recall.
I took the picture frame with me, stopping at a store on my way home to replace the glass. When I got home, I immediately went to my nightstand. I pulled open the drawer and took out her picture. Until that night, I'd had it leaning up against the lamp. I kept telling myself I had to buy a frame, but I never got around to it.
There were so many things I never got around to.
After she died, I had put it away. I couldn't stand looking at her and knowing that I'd never again hold her or kiss her or make love to her.
But I realized I had been wrong to hide it away like that. It was all I had left of her.
I removed my picture from the frame and put her picture in it. It was a great picture. She was laughing and hitting a hockey puck.
She looked so beautiful, so happy, so alive.
Looking at that picture, you'd think she was the girl next door. You'd have no way of knowing what she did for a living...the lies she told, the things she did. You'd have no way of knowing the pain she endured, the burdens she carried.
She was so much more.
She was the woman I'll love till the day I die.
Pictures don't tell the whole story. They tell a piece of it; they're one part of a complex puzzle.
But sometimes they're all you have.