I can remember the day this photo was taken. I was only eleven when grandma Lucille had her seventieth birthday party at the ocean house. Something had caught grandpa’s eye, causing him to wander to the edge of the dock.
He had been a gentle man, with much more patience than anyone else I’d ever known. I had always wanted to see him scream or curse in front of me, especially when my siblings had done something stupid.
That’s what had caught his eye, too. They had been standing at the dock and throwing their salami sandwiches to the seagulls there in the left-hand corner of the Polaroid. But like always, he met them with patience.
The wind had picked up and caused the little hairs grandpa had left atop his head to rustle and grandma’s colorful balloons to bounce on the wooden rail.
Grandpa walked slowly, down each step of the stairs carefully to reach where the kids had been standing along the rocks. He used everything as a teaching moment, and somehow grandpa could whisper and all ears would find a way to hear that he had said. They had all lowered their full hands to hear, “Birds do not eat salami kids, but look at ‘em, they sure do like it, don’t they?”
Sometimes, I’m afraid one day I’ll forget what he was like, how his voice sounded, and even the way he’d laugh through his nose. Or even the different colors of tracksuits that he owned. I wonder what happened to those when he passed.
If I try really hard and look back at this photo- I can remember it all.
Story by Abbigale Overbay
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