“Happy birthday, Grandpa.”
Davis glances at the family portrait
of Mary, me, Ethan, and Faith on my desk
as he slides his present over to me.
I carefully open the wrapping
to reveal three picture frames.
The first is a montage of scenery
from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
I smile as I set it aside.
The second is of me and Davis
mugging for the camera while standing
on Campus Point at UC Santa Barbara.
The date-stamp on it is ‘08/21/91.’
“Why are you giving me a photo
of these two strange kids?”
“My mother was cleaning out some old boxes
and found those disposable cameras from that trip.
I finally got around to getting them developed.”
“Took you long enough.”
The third frame contains a photograph
of a girl on the beach.
She’d just taken off her T-shirt
and had glanced right at the camera
the instant the picture was taken.
“I thought you’d appreciate the memories.”
There was a noise behind us.
Two girls were picking their way down the rocks
from the top of the cliff.
Davis asked the prettier of the two to take our picture.
She obliged with a smile. “Say cheese…”
We started mugging.
“I hope that turns out,” she said
as she handed the camera back to me instead of Davis.
“What’s your name?”
— Matthew S. Spira © 2020