I want to sit in your lap, daddy, Avery said, he and Aurora and Shaun and and I fitting into the photo booth at a nearby mall. Black curtains on either side of the machine. The bench big enough for two, though we fit in four. Tumbling into position, the children choosing laps without quarrel.
Black and white or color or sepia. Pick a theme. Dance party. 80s. Time of your life. Instagram before Instagram. Timer counting down the time you have to get into position. Don’t look at the camera, though you want nothing more than to look at the camera. Look at the screen in front of you, which shows you what the camera sees.
Three to two to one then flash. Three to two to one then flash. Three to two to one then flash. Three to two to one then flash. Don’t think about the last time you sat on this bench, or if you even know where that strip of photos is. These moments, split into four by seconds, are what matter.
You don’t know until you have those few seconds how you will be for the camera you’re not supposed to look at. Or how these moments on a strip (prints in three minutes or less) may one day matter. Don’t worry about the shape of your body or if what you see isn’t really what you want to get. $5 is all you need to do it again.