The Photograph

I can only have so much contact with Offred without arousing suspicion. It would be greatly noticed if a wife became too close with her handmaid. The aunts would definitely talk. With that being said, I don’t know how Offred will react to seeing a picture of her daughter. I only know how guiltily I feel having this information without her knowing or getting to see what has become of her daughter. I only recently found out where her daughter resided, but Offred couldn’t know that fact so I made it seem like obtaining the picture was a task I could have achieved all along. As if I only chose to do now, because she agreed to sleeping with Nick.

Obviously, her daughter is much more grown than when Offred last saw her. Maybe, seeing this picture of her daughter smiling will comfort her. On the other hand, maybe it will depress her. What I do know, however, is that Offred must think of her everyday and what has become of her. In my hand is a picture that helps answer that question.

I tell Cora that I will take the tray to Offred’s room for her. It was difficult getting this photograph, but I’m hoping it will convey a small message to Offred. By allowing her to see this picture, I am recognizing her as a person rather than just an instrument used for her ovaries. “I have to return it, before they know it’s missing,” I say as I hand her the picture . I doubt Offred heard me; she has escaped this present time. I see sadness in her eyes. Was this the right thing to do? She probably doesn’t understand the danger involved with me having this photograph. Yes, I have known where her daughter is, but for me to ever talk with Offred about her daughter would be a rebellious act against Gilead. According to the state, that girl is no longer her daughter so for me to speak with Offred about her would be against the law.

“She probably doesn’t understand the danger involved with me having this photograph.”

Offred hands me back the photograph. Her eyes are still on her daughter even though the tears in her eyes deem her incapable of seeing clearly anymore. I was hoping to give her some peace knowing her daughter is safe. I was hoping that Offred would understand that I do care about her well being by how I risked my own safety in retrieving this Polaroid. I fear now that I, unfortunately, just did the opposite.

-Serena Joy

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