In a gathering, I showed him and other friends this photograph.
Then, I asked if it was murder or suicide. He said it was murder because you can’t smoke, write a suicide note and pull the trigger.
I smiled because I had finally outsmarted him. He was always the smart guy who doesn’t need to study and still tops the quizzes and exams. And finally, it felt good to hear his emotions talking.
I told him to give me a more conclusive reason when another friend of ours solved the riddle.
“Murder. She’s left handed yet the gun is on her right.”
Unlike me and all the others who chose to accept the truth, he began to scrutinize reality and asked if people always use their dominant hand when using a gun.
I felt my own voice rattled, a snake trying to escape the trap. I said, yes.
He asked the question again and emphasized the word ALWAYS in a rising tone.
And I knew he had a point but I refused to succumb nor raised the white flag so I took a deep breath and said, yes – always.
He smiled and inquired again.
I retaliated with a question, “Have you used a gun?”
I told him it’s heavy and he can not possibly hit what he is aiming for if he does not use his dominant hand.
He asked if I was trying to tell him that there is no possibility, even in the slightest, that a left handed person would opt for her weak hand to pull the trigger.
I reminded him of his initial choice and how can he possibly prove then that it was a murder.
Came that side smile again peeping in like the sun. Warming the part of history long dead and buried.
He said that’s not the point.
Exhausted and enraged, I told him it was just a photograph. We had to make do with what we had. There’s no back story. We dont know the killer nor the motive. No other truth and no other answer within that picture.
He shot back – exasperated, “That’s exactly why I’m mad. I want for this to have another possibility – more possibilities.”
I saw him breathe in and out. I heard the whooshing of the air, passing through narrow paths. I pictured him running, trying to reach the shoulders that have long turned cold.
And I finally understood what he was trying to say.