Monday, May 7, 2007

Photos of your smile

We've been finding pictures here and there, in your stuff. Pictures of your friends, of you, even pictures of us. I feel relieved that you've saved those, as if to say, perhaps, that you still loved us and all this distance was just something you were working through. In all these pictures you're smiling, sometimes a half a grin, sometimes a full throttle beaming face full of happiness. One shot, of you with Lisa, you're looking at me with that happiness. I remember that night, and how close and sweet it felt for all of us-- you were 20. Almost 21. You had survived the first round of leukemia, and we all thought you would live forever. How can all of you be gone?

Right after the World Trade Center went down, we were living near the armory where people had begun posting photos of their lost loved ones: "Have you seen so and so?" and a picture, almost always of someone smiling, often with a group of friends, family-- and it hit me over and over, that each of these photos had been taken by someone who loved that person, whom that person was smiling at-- that the photos weren't just a record of that person's face but of their relationship to the unseen person behind the camera. I cried every day on my way to work as I passed them. Now, I cry on my way to work, talking under my breath to you, to you.

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