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  • It wasn't until you broke your brother's camera that you used your eyes.

    You were fooling around with it--you were always fooling around with something or other--when it flew from your hands, oh no smash, all those plastic pieces spitting through the air and hiding beneath the sofa. You wanted to hide beneath the sofa, but you couldn't and then it was too late for there he was in front of you, red-faced and yelling.

    While you watched those shards scatter, in some secret self you were glad. He had always slowed you down--you who liked nothing better than fast fast fast--by snapping "just one more" as he leaned out of windows and hung over bridge railings and lay down in the cold grass.

    Later you would be glad for other reasons.

    But once the camera was no longer breaking and was good and broken, unfixably so, regret pecked at you, only a little because of how sad he looked sifting through the wreckage, a little more because of how much trouble it brought you from your mother, but mostly because of how he slowed you down even more by forming his fingers into a picture frame everywhere you went and making you look--"That's what I would take a picture of if I only had a camera."

    At first you refused to look. At first you slapped his hands down, but eventually, because it made him go away sooner and because you felt a tiny bit sorry for him, you did squint your eyes through his fingers, mumbling all the while about his funny knuckles, his torn and grubby thumbnails.

    That's when your eyes snapped open and your mouth shut. That's when you saw how things turned odd between the rectangle pinched by your brother's fingers, even simple things like your shoes or your dog or the kitchen window. Pretty soon you found yourself pinching your own frames. Pretty soon you started slowing down.

    And years later--now--long after your brother stopped pinching his fingers and started pinching other things, you keep on pinching yours, squinting and looking at a world wondrous and strange.
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