We said last night my mom’s dining room is like your favorite bar: it has an old banquette table in the corner, below windows overlooking a cobblestone street, and a Bavarian-style chandelier overhead. Between the warm lighting and the wine, I could stay here forever. I’ve gotten so relaxed I don’t even mind the fruit flies, which are permanently milling about the windows, and around us and our wine glasses. You shoe them off easily with a wave of the hand.
I remembered last night the banquette has a drawer with random things inside, mainly photos. Thinking back about all the memories there, the one that brings me the most sadness was of me and an old girlfriend. While there are pictures of people who are no longer alive, it’s this one, that reminds me of a failed relationship, that’s saddest: we’re ghosts now to each other, and have to be, for us to be able to move on with our lives. But there are other pictures that are better, of the apartment where Dawn and I lived in Wallingford, our cats, and all the detail in the background of pictures that remind you of your life. And the pictures reveal the aging process too of course: the delta between what you look like now and who you were back then.
There are many pictures of the house in New Tripoli where we lived: snowstorms, Christmas mornings, drunken evenings with the camera and people visiting from afar. You can also see how much John changed over the course of ten years, between these photos in Pennsylvania and others, in France and Germany. I’ve preferred words to mark the time and memories of people and places, but pictures reveal more somehow. Maybe that’s why American Indians feared them so much.