It wasn’t that he didn’t want to look at the pictures, because he did. He wanted to bury himself in them and roll around in ignorant bliss. He wanted to shuffle them up and spread them out and pull out random snapshots and piece them together until he rebuilt himself into a fairy tale of perfection, but his heart knew what pictures couldn’t reveal. Real life wasn’t in pictures—it was in everything that came before and everything that happened after the flash.
The last year of Millie’s life was chronicled in photographs, just like her first thirty-one were, but the photos from that year weren’t real. Every single one was staged, their smiles plastered on, their eyes void of emotion. He had no idea who they were trying to fool with their mannequin poses because they all knew the truth.
But those weren’t the pictures that scared him. He could look at those knowing the pain they would bring. The emotions behind the lens were raw and they would remain that way until the day he died. He could brace himself for them. It was the previous nine years of her life that haunted him from the boxes.