Chapter Thirty One
Labor Day was steadily approaching. Since I had not worked at the art gallery since before Mom passed, I quickly began trying to fill my time with different activities. I took some pictures now and then and spent hours at a time editing them. When I uploaded them to my computer, I came across the picture of my parents. It suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t entered the contest for the scholarship like I had planned on doing. It was too late by now. The winner was going to be announced on LAbor Day at the gallery. I didn’t really need it now with the money Mom had left me though it would have been nice to put towards going to college.
Dad invited me over for a BBQ the Saturday of LAbor Day weekend. As I arrived, I looked for Blaine’s truck to make sure he wasn’t there. When I didn’t see it, my heart sank slightly in my chest. WAlking around the house, I was greeted with hello’s from Tammy, Greg and Jenna. Jenna stood up and gave me a hug and so did Greg. I thanked her for letting me work at the gallery all summer and for being kind to me. Dad was at the grill flipping burgers as I walked over to him. He gave me a peck on top of the head when he saw me.
“Hey, Ker-Bear. How’s the house coming along?”
“Great! You guys should come over next weekend. Aunt Maggie has to fly to Maine to get the rest of her stuff so it’ll just be me there.”
“Hey, Kerri?” Jenna called out. I moved to face her. “You still have your key to the gallery, right?”
“Can you run down a grab the box in the office for me? It’s a box of fireworks I had shipped there for tonight but I forgot them. I would go but I’ve been drinking.”
“Okay. I’ll be right back.” I jogged up to the front of the house and climbed into my car. I headed towards town, singing along to the music on the radio. Pulling into the parking space in front of the gallery, I fished the key out of my center console where I had abandoned it before.
Climbing out, I walked up to the door and unlocked it. It was dark inside until I hit the switch. The fluorescent lights flickered until they came on. A large sign was posted on the metal sign by the exhibit room. SCHOLARSHIP ENTRIES was printed on it. Stepping forward, I poked my head in. There were photographs hanging on display in there. I moved closer to examine them. Even though I hadn’t entered the contest, I still wanted to see what had placed.
Many of the photos were taken around town. Not all of them were great but they were good efforts. I looked at them as I passed, taking notes on which ones I liked best. I came across another sign that led to the smaller of the main exhibit rooms. WINNERS was printed on this one. I stepped around and entered. The first photo was of the lighthouse. It was black and white with heavy contrast. It was a beautiful entry and I was amazing that it had a third place ribbon under it.
From the corner of my eye, I saw something that made my head turn. My eyes widened when I saw the large photo printed on the opposite wall. A blue first place ribbon was placed underneath it on the plaque with the artist name. The photo was of my parents dancing in my Mom’s room. My photo. Underneath it, the plaque read my name. I was befuddled. How could I have placed if I hadn’t entered? I had completely forgotten about this contest until this morning and I had some how won it.
I turned my attention back towards the wall in between where the second place photo was. I was as equally shocked to find it was a photo of myself. In the photo, I was at Mom’s bedside trying to help her eat something on a fork that was in my hand. The sharpness of the photo was exquisite and so crisp. It was like I was looking at a moment frozen in time from that day. Under the photo was another plaque with his name on it, a second place red ribbon next to it. A little table of pamphlets was also under his. I picked on up and opened it. It was an ad for his full featured exhibit happening in the large exhibit hall. I put the pamphlet back and quickly made it to that room.
Turning the light on in there, I was met with light in the larger circular shaped room. A picture was hung on each of the four wall mounts on each wall. Most were black and white while the others were bright with color. All, though, were pictures of me. The first few were taken from that first trip on Cooper’s boat. The next were on Moss Island where he gave me my first kiss. One was at the county fair and the next was taken as I was working here in the gallery. My eyes were drawn to the very last picture. It was a closer image of my face in black and white as I looked up at a sky full of stars. It was from the night we first met. I didn’t even notice him take this picture. I had been so full of thoughts of how awful my summer was going to be, I hadn’t paid close enough attention to see. I hadn’t noticed him taking any of these pictures. Looking closely, I read the title of the photo on the small card under it. The Moment I Fell in Love.