Sorting through that bookshelf, all I intended to do was to gather a few books to donate when I saw it. The Box of Memories. The box was something that I had found in an antique store. The box had been carefully hand made and at one time was someone’s treasure. It was battered and aged, but had it’s own beauty and I had to have it.
I pulled the box down and wiped the dust off the top. After opening the lid, I lifted an old photo out of the box and looked at it. It was curled and yellow with age. I couldn’t remember the last time that I looked through The Box of Memories. Years. The picture of my oldest brother, taken just after High School. He was ready to take on the world. A slight smile played at the corners of his mouth. He looked out past the camera lens at something in the distance. What was it that made him smile?
Another picture. This one of Grandpa, looking like none of us had ever seen him. Young, strong, red headed and a handle-bar mustache, carefully waxed and curled up at the ends! I giggled a little at this.
I dug down toward the bottom of the box. There’s one I need to see. I know it’s in here someplace. I flip through the curled photos as I dig, memories flash by. I click them off in my mind like a grocery list. Yep, there’s the one of my baby brother standing in front of the car in a diaper. My other big brother goofing off with a silly grin on his face. Here’s one of Uncle James. So handsome. More photos flash by. Grandma, with long dark hair hanging down her back. Lifetimes pass before my eyes.
Finally, I see it. The only one I have of him.
My mother standing next to my father. The two of them squinting a little in the bright sunshine. My mother is looking up into his face. He looks down at her, an arm wrapped casually around her waist, pulling her next to him. They are both smiling.
I never knew the man. Things went awry when I was just a toddler. Did he love her? Did he love me and my brothers? Was his hair brown like mine or dish-water blonde like my little brother? The black and white photo is a bit faded; it’s hard to tell.
I pass my hand over the face of the picture. I close my eyes and bring it to my chest. I’m wishing for a pulse. A breath. To feel my hand in his. To hear him speak my name.
Opening my eyes, they focus once again on the photo in my hands. Carefully, I put the photo back in the box and close the lid. I place The Box of Memories back on the shelf.
Copyright (C) 2018 Penny Wilson