Another Loss of Innocence by Thomas O’Connell

After the tragedy, everybody bought commemorative t-shirts.

One of my photographs was chosen for the image. Not that I’m some hotshot photojournalist, I just had the dubious fortune that the shooting occurred in my hometown. Before the national media set up camp in the soccer field behind the school, I acquired access to everywhere except the library and gymnasium.

I found myself in Mrs Hoover’s classroom. The high windows looked the same, extra textbooks stacked beside a terrarium on the windowsill.

One recess, Dave Whitmore and I snuck back into the classroom; our classmates muffled racket drifting through the windows. We met at Karen Armstrong’s desk, knowing she’d be sitting on a swing discussing horses. Dave slid her desk-drawer open. In one corner was a yellow horse eraser, which Dave stole. I took 5 quarters stacked in another corner and we rejoined our classmates on the playground.

When recess ended and students settled into their seats, I panicked knowing Karen would notice the theft. Not wanting to get caught with the quarters, I ducked into a bathroom. I heard the commotion while pacing the john. I stacked the quarters on the porcelain base behind the commode and returned to class. I never retrieved the quarters and rarely used that bathroom from then on.

I shot some pictures around the class before going into the bathroom. Everything looked so small, like a dollhouse. I knelt, reaching behind the commode to see if the quarters were there. My hand came up empty.


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Filed under Thomas O'Connell

2 responses to “Another Loss of Innocence by Thomas O’Connell

  1. Nice interplay of past and present tied together by the actions of crime.

  2. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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