The Albums (Haibun)
Jason looked at the baby pictures in the album his mother’d left him. There he was…a toddler, surrounded by toys. Later on, laying in the grass, the old family cat asleep with him. He’d loved that cat…Misca was its name. Each photo a return to some far off age, memories. His first day at school, his first camping experience with the scouts, and there was the Christmas of ’60 when he got his first “typewriter”, a funny bit of flimsy metal with a dial to pick out the letters.
Years passed each special moment immortalized in a photo. Each photo placed lovingly in a book for him by his mother, now gone, yet, looking at the albums she seemed so near.
At seventy he realized that many of the people and scenes in the photos were gone forever. Misca didn’t survive his childhood, his best friend in the third grade had died in Vietnam. There, a photo of Emily, his first love, his first wife…the love story had died and they divorced way back in the 80s, she too was gone now. His three daughters, now mothers and indeed, his eldest a new grandmother!
Clothes had changed, the city had changed and of course he had changed too. He could barely believe that the time had slipped by so quickly, yet, as he looked at his wrinkled hand, there was no denying it.
What does getting old mean? What does life mean? He pondered as he looked through other albums, put together in different periods of his life. How young he’d been, how immortal he’d felt. He smiled, a little melancholy, but thankful that his mom had thought to create these little books of memories.
Funny, he really didn’t feel any different than when he was, say, fifteen. He just had more memories…well, maybe he had a less problems then back then. He certainly wasn’t worried about what people thought about him. That had been a big problem for him back then, long overcome. However, the voice in his mind was the same, then as now.
He put the old albums back in their boxes and went to his desk. The bottom right hand drawer was full of photos. Michelle’s first bath, Jane playing with a rag doll and Cher’s snowman. He began to divide the photographs into piles and then he pulled out the virgin albums that had been sitting in the closet for years. He began to document the history of his daughter’s lives, something they could look through in a distant future, something to remember that would give them joy. In the meantime, he went through his own past, remembering…his little girls.
Here, my girls he thought, your inheritance.
age upon age
life buds then blooms
until the harvest
For our Weekly Writing Challlenge – fiction writers, cultivate a character. Through your imagination, pinpoint a common theme in his or her life, and show us how your character’s perspective changes as he or she grows older.
For the truly adventurous, we challenge you to try hitting two challenges with one stone, er, post. Combine this week’s photo challenge.