"You mean you don't want any of them?" my mother asks, at least semi annually.
She has taken out the shoebox of old photos and cards again.
A semi annual ritual though not one in accord with any changing of seasons or certain anniversaries.
"No, none. . . thank you." I respond
I have never been one for the taking of or keeping of photographs.
As long as I can remember, I never found myself wanting to look into polaroid frames of the past.
At least not ot when the image I would be looking at was myself
This is not a preference derived from avoiding shadows
I had a most wonderful childhood
The images my mother keeps are, I know, happy and light
A family history unstained
She keeps them, I have supposed, to quell her age-old fears that she was the reason I moved far away
That she was somehow a faulty mother
It's much simpler than that though
I do not want to look into those eyes staring from the box.
I am afraid of what I might see there
I am afraid of the sign of a secret separation
While others often keep photographs as markers of their youth and pull them out, or up, to remind themselves of what once was, or what could have been, I tend to walk side by side with my past
Always keeping close to that boy
He is with me in every way
As much a part of me now as then.
So close that
Sometimes I think of him as a second skin
And I know it can be so easy
To dissolve that part of ourselves into a living, time-line memory
Instead of doing away with the apparitions of adulthood
The ones which keep us stacked in the cardboard shoe boxes
Filed under "Yesterday"
While we struggle daily
Just to breathe and
To find a way home
nicolas hall - 2012