June 11, 2014 by Roe
This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt entitled, Antique Antics:
What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.
October 1984. Wedding rehearsal dinner.
I am a solemn captured moment of a joyous evening.
A celebration for my oldest daughter.
I am a 29-year-old photograph, snugly fitted into the corner of a bedroom mirror.
Antonio – father, husband, soon-to-be grandfather –
6 more years, you’ll see.
He’s sitting in a wooden folding chair at the table, gazing out across the table, tired,
unaware of the camera’s presence,
just quietly thinking to himself.
The party, melted away in his mind.
When the film was developed, I was probably passed around at family parties
to be thumbed through and glanced at.
Over the years of family functions, celebrations, and holidays, a mountain of pictures formed
like the accumulation of sediment over time.
It became too great, too heavy – Not enough space.
And so I was rolled into it too
to be stored in a 40 lb bin of memories,
to sit in the bottom of a cool, damp New Jersey basement
so far from where I came from. So far from home.
One day, a girl came downstairs, noticed the bin of photographs.
I was one out of a thousand. How did she find me?
Was it fate?
Or random occurrence?
She grabbed a handful
to thumb through and glance at
and went back upstairs.
She looked at me with curiosity and slowly set me aside.
I didn’t go back downstairs with the others
but lay breathing on the dining room table of a house I never recall entering.
I was taken higher up to where the air was warmer,
to her bedroom, to be tucked into the mirror, so she could see me everyday.
You see, I remind her of something – A dream.
A fleeting dream she had about 3 years ago,
way before she knew me or my whereabouts.
It was fall semester, sophomore year of college.
Nightfall. He was sitting outside a church.
No eye contact, side profile, same stoic expression.
She gasped and cried. No one believed he was there.
They didn’t even look! They just told her, “No. He’s gone now”.
She woke up in the midst of hiccuping tears, alone,
mind like an turbulent ocean.
Because as Antonio looked out thoughtfully on the wonderful day,
everyone was unaware of the silent ticking clock counting down in the background:
9 years, 2 months, 6 minutes, 30 seconds.
9 years, 2 months, 3 minutes, 11 seconds
and so on.
So when she looks at me in the mirror atop her dresser,
she thinks back to the man she never knew, or rather
knew too briefly.
She misses him more than anything, gets teary eyed from time to time.
It’s difficult for her to explain why, only that she has this innate knowledge that he loved her,
this inner frustration that she can’t go back, or change anything.
It’s not easy to talk about.
She’s forever scarred by the stroke he suffered right next to her – December 1993.
She was 3 years old
and it was the last time she would ever see him again.