exploring life and love with pictures and words

Perspective . . .

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Late Sunday morning, still in pajamas, I sit cross-legged on the sofa, looking through a  dusty storage box for a photograph of my mom. I don’t have a specific one in mind, it’s more of a treasure hunt. I hope to find a photo I haven’t seen in so many years that it feels brand new, a gift to me on Mother’s Day. Pictures of my mom are rare, she was either hiding from the camera or behind it. I go through several stacks, but nothing yet. I open an envelope marked “Oregon 84.” My parents lived there for several years, and I visited most summers with my husband and kids. Perhaps this is the lucky deck. I flip through images of mountain landscapes, farmland dotted with mom’s sheep, and my children playing among goats. But not a single picture of my mom.  

Happily reminiscing I am suddenly confused by an image. It’s out of place, the setting all wrong. Taken a couple years after my divorce it doesn’t belong in this stack. I fix my eyes on him. He is glancing over his shoulder toward the camera. I had called his name and snapped the shot. I study the next few photos; one he took me, my mirrored reflection as I applied mascara. Another I took of him napping on my bed. And the last one, I had set the timer on my old 35mm camera and captured the two of us in the shower. Only our wet heads and bare shoulders exposed. I could have sworn I had thrown away these photographs. We didn’t last, and I wanted to erase all reminders of him, of us. It was nearly twenty-five years before I saw him again. Betting on destiny, I had high hopes for another chance. And then no hope at all. 

A few years ago finding these pictures would have prompted me to call him, a sign from the Universe I simply couldn’t ignore. And while I still believe in the  magic of the Universe, I interpret its messages differently now.  I no longer see them as calls to action. I think of them more as food for thought. So, I thought a lot. I wondered why I had been drawn to him so many years later. Why had I pinned so much hope on him?. The answers were in the photographs resting in my hands. There was something alluring about old romance rekindled. I fell in love with our history. Love found, and lost, and found again. I’ve always been a sucker for a good story, second chances and happy endings. He loved a good story too, but he didn’t need to revisit the past to find one. He was always certain there was something, or someone, better ahead. And he found it.

I come up empty handed in the search for a photograph of my mom. I settle for one she took of us kids, her greatest treasure, and that makes me smile. As for the pictures I found of him and me? Well, they were mixed in with a zillion other memories, another chapter in my life. Not my whole life. 

I didn’t find the prize photo, but I did find perspective. 

Thanks Mom. 

Xoc 

6 Responses to “Perspective . . .”

  1. Daniel

    A lovely post. The curse and blessing of being a writer: seeing the many narratives through which we actively understand our lives and being unable to ignore the volition involved. The choice of narratives imposed on things. Living the stories of our lives without being able to pretend we aren’t writing and rewriting them. I always enjoy the multilayered reflective quality of your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Stuart Danker

    I too believe in the magic of the universe. I know it sounds woo-woo but it’s guided me in many ways when I actually take the time to listen. Glad to know someone looks at the universe in somewhat the same way as well. I enjoyed this article, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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