Wednesday, September 8, 2010

30 Posts in 30 Days: Day 8: A photo that makes you angry/sad

For privacy's sake, I'm not going to post the photo that immediately came into my mind for this category. But I can tell you about it.

Every year at Christmastime, generally the weekend before, my aunt (& one of my godmothers) holds a big family celebration. Her kids & grandkids are there, of course, & so are assorted other friends & relatives. If we're home to visit my parents by then, we're invited to come too, & sometimes we do. And Santa always pays a visit, much to the grandkids' delight.

Her oldest son is 11 months older than me. We spent a lot of time together a lot as kids. He seemed to take special delight in tormenting me. I can remember him laughing & laughing when I dropped a freshly collected egg from our grandmother's henhouse on my shoe, or stepped into a fresh cow pie in the pasture. Another time, he somehow persuaded me to crawl inside our puppy's travel crate -- & then shut the door behind me.

It may seem strange but these days, of course, which cousin do I want to see most whenever I'm home?? He got married within months of me & dh, to a girl we all liked, & had three children, the youngest of whom (a girl) was born in May 1998, when I was newly pregnant with Katie (& who, as a toddler, bore a startling resemblance in both looks & pure impishness to my younger sister).

We were all together at Christmas 2002. By Christmas 2003, he & his wife had separated. It was something that none of us (least of all he) had seen coming. My aunt did her best to keep things as normal as possible for her grandchildren, & the party went on as usual. But there's a photo I took that tells the true story: of my cousin, sitting on a chair with his youngest daughter (then 5) in his lap, his arms around her, his head resting on her shoulder. She is looking at the camera & smiling at me. But he's looking off into the distance with a sad, haunted look in his eyes. This was pre-digital, so the first time I saw this photo was when I got my photos back from the developer, & I gasped when I saw it. I'd never seen my cousin looking like that before. Sadness personified.

It took several years, but things eventually got better. My cousin found a new job in a related field & then found a new girlfriend. They got married this past spring, and I saw them this summer when I was home. He looks a lot happier now. And I'm happy for him. : )

1 comment:

  1. Without knowing your cousin; without seeing the picture -- you still affected me emotionally with this story just with your words. Powerful.