Photographs

Letters to my lover

I’m getting rid of everything I own and there’s this picture frame that still holds a photograph where I am holding you in my arms. We never showed anyone these pictures, did we?

I brush the dust off the glass with my fingertips.

My eyes close and we are waking up on a lazy Sunday in your apartment. The hours pass easily, we cook each other breakfast in the kitchen. You are graduating soon and we conspire over grandiose plans for the future. I make stupid jokes and silly faces just to see you smile.

I want to surprise you with something special. I have made secret arrangements. I tell you to dress like we are going to an important event. You are intrigued. I wear my black collared shirt and white tie to match your stunning black and white sleeveless dress. You pick out your favorite heels and laugh while I put on my tennis shoes.

You always loved playing dress up. You smile and tease me all that morning, trying to get the answer out of me.

I’m a terrible liar, but I somehow manage not to tell you.

We meet the photographer at the beautiful Japanese gardens on your campus. We’d been meaning to walk through it together since you first started attending. “I knew it”, you tell me as we get out of the car to greet him. “I knew we were going to get pictures taken.” See, we’d wanted this for a long time, but we were always too scared to have photos that documented our togetherness.

Photos that told the truth.

These are the only photos of us that tell the whole story, unfettered. These are the photos we could never share. We never had that luxury.

I take the print out of the frame to check for a date. I realize we took these pictures exactly two years to the day before we would be standing in a kitchen while you avoided my eyes and told me you still didn’t know what you wanted. Two years to the day before you would ask me to hold you anyways, as if keeping me close would give you clarity.

My heart is sticking in my throat and I need to decide what I will do with this photograph.