Photographing the dead

When I was thirteen, I had a friend who used to like to take morbid pictures. She would insist we dress up like corpses, lipstick smeared red across our mouths, our shirts pulled down low, exposing bras filled with more padding than flesh. We took turns perfecting a stare that looked through the camera, through each other. When my mother found the pictures, she cried. She asked me why we did it — why did we want to dress up like the dead. I told her I didn’t know.

I don’t know how true that is. There was something thrilling about it: We were performing possibilities — the gruesome ways we could be hurt, made glamorous through cheap make up and the flash on a disposable camera. We staged them, shot them, bought and paid for them. They were ours.

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