A picture, a photograph, a memory, a story, a secret. It seems amazing and contradictory that one item can be so many things, yet it has the resonance of truth in its depths.
A picture taken carelessly can either capture a magical moment that might never be reclaimed; or just as easily it can be blurred, out of focus, catching images you have no recollection of.

A picture can be part of a story as it tells the individual tale of your trip in a photo album you put together so you could remember the sights. A picture can also stand alone, its image sparking several memories at once. It can be of a person, a place, some dazzling event or the scenery as it flies by.
Photography can be an art but there will always be pictures taken that somehow just missed including the head in a shot. Those pictures bring up emotions such as amusement and exasperation. Yet another contradiction.

Photographs almost always stir some emotion, whether it just is reminiscent of the emotion captured in the shot. Most people have pictures of those close to them, and those pictures remind them of their fondness, yet when that person passes away or leaves that same photograph is a bitter sweet reminder of what you once had.
A picture says a thousand words, or can be silent as it holds a secret in its depths. Upon finding a stray picture, or picking one up in someone's house you can't help but wonder what the picture holds in its own small little world. If it is a portrait, who is the person, if it's of a place, where?

Here on the table in front of me are hundreds of photographs; it used to be my hobby. I always had a camera, and I was always taking pictures. Now I can barely stand to look at them for the emotion they invoke. They remind me of too much, the pain is too great. They represent a part of my life that has been cut off and that I may never regain.

Most of the pictures have my beautiful best friend in them, and they are all I have left of him. He is caught forever in so many poses: running, standing, sitting, dancing. We did everything together and my camera was always there.

In the pictures before me I can see him laughing, shouting, blushing, startled as I caught him off guard. Annoyed in a few. But progressively as he got older in the pictures he had begun to smile less, begun to look tired and did fewer things all together.

Hesitantly I pick up one that I didn't remember taking, although I knew exactly what the damnable camera had caught, and it had stolen a part of his soul with it.

That had been an awful time, he had been so out of it, so desolate, and I hadn't been able to reach out to him. It tore at me remembering how easily I had gotten frustrated and given up. It was no consolation that I had gone back not an hour later.

Yet I still hadn't been able to figure out what was wrong, I was too stupid and naïve to know what I should have done. When I had gone back to try and cheer him up and get him out of that bout of depression he had pretended everything was fine, that he felt better. He told me he had taken his medicine and it had helped a lot. That should have alerted me.

He hated taking his medicine.

It just reminded him that he was sick, that he wasn't normal, that he wasn't strong enough to cope with things on his own. I should have seen just how much worse his depression had gotten once he had been diagnosed. I should have known.

I should have known damn it!

Pictures are worth a thousand words, they tell a story, and as I survey the ones in front of me I can't help but boil with rage. These pictures told a story all right, just not the one I wanted to hear. They tell of how one boy couldn't wake himself up enough to realize the danger his best friend was in

They tell a story of one boys life spiraling out of control, of a boy suffering from depression, and still keeping everything locked inside. He had all the help he could get, he just hadn't wanted it. Didn't think he deserved it; God why hadn't I seen what was happening?
He was my best friend damn it!

My best friend.

The picture in front of me blurred and began to double, but I blink quickly to bring it back in focus.

The night I had taken that picture I had gotten a call from his hysterical mother. She had been sobbing, crying so hard I could barely understand her; and when I did I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't.
He had been getting better. Better!

I couldn't throw out these pictures even though I desperately wanted to, I wanted to forget everything. Maybe then the pain and guilt would fade. But no matter how much it hurt I couldn't just throw away the last remaining bits of him, the only things I had left. He didn't deserve to be thrown away, he deserved much more then he had gotten.

Everyone knew I took pictures constantly, so surely I had some of my best friend, so they had asked me to pick a picture for the paper, to stick with his obituary, one that had showed him at his best. And his parents had wanted some more happier memories of their son. How was I supposed to give them that?

Oh God, he had had so much going for him, he had had everything! What had gone wrong? So horribly wrong.

I threw the photograph back on the table and clenched my fists tightly as I pressed them into my eyes, trying to stem the flow of tears. I didn't want to feel the pain, the guilt. I could barely stand it.

I wiped my eyes and set to finding the perfect photos for his family; though tears continued to stream down my face as I tried not to think about how much worse Jonathan had probably felt before he had swallowed all those pills. Killing himself just to get away from the pain and misery he had been feeling.

How could I have not known?

That night I sealed the pictures his parents had requested in an envelope and boxed up the rest along with my camera. I kept one picture out, the one I had taken that fatal day, to remind me. A picture's worth a thousand words you know, and this one would clearly remind me not to quit paying attention to the important signs.

This picture was Jonathan's story.