Daniel Adler‘s step-grandmother sent him a couple of photo albums. In them are weird pictures of parents, grandparents, and his dad as a kid and adolescent.
In one picture my dad is nuzzling my mom on a couch. He has bedhead, a mustache, and is wearing buffalo plaid; she’s got a coffee cup in hand and a surprised look on her face, like “Isn’t it a little early for pictures?” But my grandfather knew a moment when he saw it.
I can see hints of my parents’ expressions that had yet to mature; gesticulations of my father’s when he was an adolescent; dismay on my mom’s face as my dad hugs her when he’s fresh from the ocean; as well as preterite expressions from youth: bliss, shyness, love.
I compare myself to my father, see his handsome jaw and focused eyes, and think how his eyes always have kindness or pride, or silliness, a certain gravity that mine lack. I admire my mother’s slender fingers and her fine bearing, and think about the couple they once made, a lifetime ago. I think about how I’ll look back on my own pictures one day and remember how youthful I was and compare my happiness to what it was then…