Posts I guess

There’s a photo I keep folded in my wallet. When smartphones
became a thing, I slid it between my phone and the case. It goes everywhere with me, a treasure thing. That print is a copy though, as is the 8 x 10 facsimile on the mantel in my parents’ living room. I
keep the original in a safe deposit box. The negative is long gone, and
if I lost the original cause I’d lost my phone, I’d be devastated.

I first saw the picture when I was 11. We had
been talking about genealogy in school and my parents took out the
albums to show me old family photos. Each of my parents had their own
albums, up until when they met, and then they merged into one. This photo
however, didn’t have its own page. It was in an envelope, with other
miscellaneous photos from college tucked in the back of an album. When I saw it, I
snatched it up from obscurity.

I still remember that when I first
saw it, I felt completely still. When you’re a child on the cusp of
becoming a self-aware individual, you begin to notice more and more how
your parents interactive with each-other. My parents had always been
close. Mushy, even. When I became into a teenager, I rolled my eyes a
lot and made lots of huffing noises about how they were embarrassing me, gawd! Still,
I was mostly giving them a hard time because I refused to let them see
how much that picture had impacted me. I was scared I would never find
someone who loved me like that.

Their lips aren’t even
touching in the shot, maybe an inch away. Their eyes are closed, and
they’re leaning into each-other. Daddy’s hand’s curled around Papa’s shoulder. Papa is pressed up against Daddy. The kiss is inevitable. What I like most about
them is how natural they look, so casual. Nothing is forced, or cheesy,
or over-thought out. They’re not holding hands or gazing into
each-other’s eyes like Disney characters. They’re just…them.

Papa has told me the backstory so many times I have memorized it by heart:

This was taken in 1958. It says so on the back, so it’s right. We’d just finished our sophomore year of university. Eddie
had a good part-time job at the auto repair center, and he’d repaired
this truck that came in with a bad transmission. Since the owner’s son
was back for the summer and could take over Eddie’s work, we decided to
take a summer road-trip before school started again.

First, we drove from upstate New York to Indiana to visit Eddie’s dad’s side of family. From
there, we just drove West, to see Yellowstone, and even though our
butts were sore, we kept going all the way to see the
Redwoods in California. And it was under one of those big trees that your Daddy asked
to marry me, even though it was a ridiculous idea and illegal at the
[pause as Papa swallows his emotions] I must have been in
high heaven after that or something, cause I don’t remember anything
until until we made it to the ocean; we camped there for a few days
cause the truck’s oil pan was leaking and there was some problem with
the radiator.

The drive back was really long. We were both so sick of
each-other when we finally got back to New York.
[insert a laugh here] We
didn’t see much of each-other over the rest of the summer, cause we
were both working, but we moved in together for our junior year and
after that it was ok again.
[pause] My roommate at the time,
Judie, took this photo of us right before we left as a commemorative
shot. I looked her up some time ago. She married a banker and did
alright for herself. When I told her we were still together and had
adopted, she was not surprised one bit. Yeah…those were the
days. God, Eddie was so devilishly handsome at that age with all that tussled blond hair wasn’t he? [at this point, Eddie says: ‘What, I’m not still devilishly handsome?” and they laugh]

also ridiculous is that it now looks like this photo could have been
taken yesterday. It’s hard to believe that the
shot and the people in are now over fifty years old. I never tire
of looking at it though, because like love my parents share, the photo
is timeless.

Text is fictional. Tracked the photo to Instagram but no IDs beyond that.


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