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Something in April’s head told her she wasn’t good enough. Not talented enough, like the others. That had always been the case. Everyone was better than her. Everything they did, even their lives were better than hers.

She’d failed in marriage, and it ended in divorce. Her career in retail had peaked sharply over a few years, then declined and faded. Lastly, her lifetime passion for photography remained a hobby despite her efforts for getting recognition. She knew she lacked promotional skills as well as networking and building a fan base.

Like roadmaps of her past, her travels and memories of those instances she was unable to share with the world, black and white photographs hung on her walls.  Rejected portfolios gathered dust inside the cupboards. Why hadn’t she come up with a meaningful idea, something that grabbed people’s attention and sparked their imagination?

A confetti of snowflakes illuminated the night sky, muffling the sounds from the traffic on the street. One landed on the window, hung on briefly, then trickled down to the sill and mixed with the others. Anonymous. Like fading hopes for acknowledgement.

April pondered on taking up another hobby, one that doesn’t require recognition. Exotic cuisine, trekking, or gardening. She moved to the settee, picked up a cushion and hugged it, contemplating. Her gaze following the pictures on the wall, she scrutinized her work. Dull, tedious, and conventional. Ballerinas, glum portraits, dark streets, old building. No colour, no life. Unimaginative, ordinary. Those subjects had been done over and over again. She dumped the cushion on the sofa and poured a drink.

Sipping the wine, she looked for answers. Her eyes drifted to the patterns on the cushion. Hand-woven fabric with bold ethnic colours and figures she had sourced and photographed many years ago. She had not dared to submit these prints as black and white was the in thing. Artistic and sophisticated. Cool versus animated.

April retrieved her portfolio and reviewed the photos. Could she – face another rejection, a further stab at her ego?

She spent the night uploading the pictures on her website and writing tags. Falling asleep in the early hours of the morning, she lay still. After breakfast, she opened her computer to see if anyone had commented on her posts. The number of “likes” and comments made her heart beat faster and flushed her cheeks. They liked it. People liked colour. None of her black and white photos had provoked so much feedback over the years.

Grabbing her camera bag, April rushed to the photo shop and bought colour film. She strolled through the streets taking shots of red buses, winter blooms, florist windows, carpets and festive decorations.

She returned home and developed the films. Pleased with her work, she uploaded her favourite shots on the website, and collapsed on the bed with her clothes on.

 

In her dream, two critics stood before her photos, examining her work. A sophisticated man in a dark suit said, “Too colourful, almost blissful.” A young guy in a red jumper over ripped jeans replied, “What’s wrong with that? Life is dreary. Looking at vibrant pictures gives hope that it continues in its mysterious ways.”

April awoke with the words of the two men arguing in her head. Life is not black and white. It’s multi-coloured. An image of life should represent the entire spectrum, despite the odds.

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