She liked snooping.
Sneaking through the empty house was a thrill. Better than a roller coaster or a wrapped birthday present. Peeping into out-of-bounds drawers and closets was naughty, but she couldn’t see the harm in it. Nothing but winter coats and sweaters or envelopes filled with typed invoices and old Christmas cards. She never found anything good and never left a trace behind.
Until the day she broke the camera.
The leather camera case sat on the top shelf of the linen closet. Just that week she had grown a fraction of an inch tall enough to worm two fingers under it. She knew its weight. If she could tip the case over the edge of the shelf, it would fall and she’d catch it on the way down. From her angle, she hadn’t seen the shoebox perched atop the case. Not one, but two objects fell. She ducked out of the way in surprise. The camera case remained closed, but she knew from the glass-tinkle-crash that something had broken. Sepia pictures spilled from the open shoebox.
She didn’t want to know how badly the camera was wrecked and she couldn’t put it back on the shelf if she wanted to. The stepladder was in the garage and far too heavy to carry. She hadn’t considered that earlier.
She would take her punishment when Mom came home. Until then, she flipped through the pictures of the smiling grandma and grandpa she had never known.