Danilo found the camera on the beach. It looked expensive, left by one of the wealthy backpackers. He pressed each button, but the screen remained dark. Before he left school to work on his father’s fishing boat, he learned the English adage, “a picture is worth one thousand words.” Peering into the blank screen he couldn’t think of one, though he felt the weight of thousands, like all that water on his back when he dove among the corals.
That day Danilo felt as if there were only two places in the world: where he was and where he should have been.
Where he was: the Gallery, an alley where the villagers’ broken things collected. There was the boat Pawi rowed into a storm to save Jago and Maggie. There was the red TMX moto Armando used to take the Reyes sisters to the doctor across the island when they had dengue fever. Each generation replaced the last’s broken, sentimental things and only Danilo knew the stories of all of them, now that his father was gone.
Where he should have been: his father’s funeral procession. He heard the mourners sing and imagined tourists gawking, his grandmother without a hand to hold. Pawi would have stepped up, while her own grandson hid in Pawi’s old boat, digging through piles of forgotten electronics for something that might bring the camera, if not his father, back to life...