• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 06
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Instamatic Dream

After we let the photograph develop we found an animal had photobombed the picture of Tam and Pip. It was an old camera. One of those Polaroids. With a little slot in the side where the picture came out. I held the tiny square in my hand and we watched as the chemicals reacted and a new image emerged.

In the first picture it was a lion, with a huge mane. In the second, it was some kind of monkey, hanging from the tree above Pip and Tam’s head. In the fourth, it was a boa constrictor. He had a hungry look and both Pip and Tam looked round to check he wasn’t really there.

I took another photo while they were watching a picture of an elephant emerge from the grey wash of the paper. While they waited for the ears and trunk to sharpen into focus I watched the new picture. It was a bright brown bear. Smiling over their shoulders, watching the picture appear.

We took eight photographs that day. All of them populated by unexpected animals. It never happened again. It was just that one film.

Later, when Tam and Pip were both grown up we were flipping through an old album when they found the old pictures. Pip looked at me and laughed, he couldn’t quite believe the photographs were real. Like so many good memories from childhoods saturated with colour and imagination, he thought it was something he'd dreamed.