Moving Day is in five days. I was packing up the closet when I came across the photos of my ex-wedding. My mom had thought I would want them, so she gave them to me, and I promptly stashed them away. I wish she hadn’t given them to me. I could throw them in the garbage and pretend she never did. The thing is, I took my own wedding photos. I used a tripod that I had bought at K-Mart for $26 and my fully-manual SLR 35mm camera that used actual film (on a timer). I remember I told my ex-husband that I planned to shoot 36 shots so that maybe one or two would be perfect. I hoped I could cover if he closed his eyes, made a silly face, scratched an itch, was talking when the timer went off or simply looked away. I knew that I was dealing with someone with a short attention span and little patience, so I pleaded demurely for him to acquiesce and permit me to get my one perfect wedding shot. To my surprise, many of the shots were lovely. I looked very happy, every bit the blushing bride, and he wasn’t making a silly face to ruin the picture. (I had much lower expectations for him than for myself.) I was very pleased with the photo shoot.
My mom had given me the photos because she is ruthless about removing clutter from her house. “Mom! I made that in grade school! I wanted that!” “Oh, really? I’m sorry. Here it is.”, she says as she crumples something that I had saved for forty years into a tiny origami packet, ready for the trash bin. “Nevermind, Mom, it’s ruined.” In many ways, she has the right idea. I do get overwhelmed by the vastness of my collection of old photographs; but on the other hand, she cannot remember most of the events of the last 40 years. I remember the past for everybody in my family.
To my brother: Remember how in 1975, you made a film with so-and-so where you were eating a donut and then you played it in reverse so it looked like you were un-eating it? That was so funny!
To my mother: Remember in 1978 when we went out for Chinese food and I threw up in the backseat of Grampa’s white Lincoln Town Car?
I feel like I need to hold on to the photographs because if I let go…
If I let go…
Nobody will remember anything and I’ll be alone in reality.