Warning flag at the rapids

163 red flag 624268You look at the photo and remember when everything changed. The landscape’s the same, been so for hundreds of years. The old brick building may be more weathered, the trees a few inches taller, the snow comes and goes, but on the scheme of things – sepia, black and white, or colour – no-one would notice.

Other than the stark Bavarian windows, it’s all very pretty. Just a random holiday destination flicked through in an album. Except it’s the only one you ever look at.

You hoped you’d not get it back from the police. They usually kept evidence, didn’t they? But something made you keep it. The last reminder of your husband. The last photo he took before he gave you the camera, said he’d be back, only he never did. You’d had to. Come back home when the police said they’d “exhausted all avenues”. Liaised with the Embassy but “drawn a blank” – another cliché taken from the TV.

You’ve studied every grain of the photo, trying to see what he saw, but to you it’s just a reminder of the holiday you wish you’d never booked.

You returned twice a year, when you’d saved enough money to stay for a month or two. You thought you’d seen him once – the same red jacket – but it was a new warning flag at the rapids. Last year you thought you’d see a face at one of the windows. Looked familiar. Happy. So you’d not gone again.

***

Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com.

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