by Catherine Martinez Torigian
Turning, I saw it was the photos, two black-and-whites sidled together in the china frame. On the left, Dad as a nineteen-year-old sailor, white hat pushed back on his head like a halo. On the right, Dad again, older, arms cradling three-year-old me, held fast on his hip, our two heads level above the obsolete spokes of a wagon wheel, in the Catskills, in summer.
I could have answered by telling the story of the pictures, each with a story all its own. Or the story of the twists and turns they took to find me, or of how it felt when I laid them to rest, side by side, in the double frame. I could have counted off the countless bad decisions made before I enshrined them in the center of a high, empty shelf I could see from everywhere.
I could have kept on with the story that had started only the night before, instead of letting it end when I looked up and saw them.
“What are those?” he’d asked, that first and last morning. A simple question.
Except nothing’s that simple.
Catherine Martinez Torigian (she/her/hers) is a native of Brooklyn, NY, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and mini-dachshund Olivier. She began writing fiction after earning a Ph.D. in Classics at Brown University and has taught Latin and ancient Greek in four of the five boroughs of New York City. Her fiction has appeared in Bellowing Ark and Digging Through The Fat.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com.
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