Them

I asked Mama if they were happy together. She smiled at me, as if she knew that knowing that they were happy was important to me.
We were getting out of the car, and she shut the door and she said, “I think marriage meant something different to them”.

I don’t remember them happy together, but they always looked as happy as the next couple. The early pictures are the most confusing because they look happiest there.

My grandmother’s hair is thick and straight and beautiful in the way that hair is beautiful when it falls casually around a woman’s face, open; it curves a little at her arms, as if imitating her shoulders. She’s smiling. She’s smiling broadly with an ease that she has acquired by distancing herself from herself. In later pictures she always looks aware of the camera, of the person taking the picture; there is a sharpness in this picture that she doesn’t yet know she will acquire.

The skirt-suit she is wearing is the same rusty red as the landscape behind them. I keep going back to her smile. I don’t know it. I have never seen it before. It is different; it makes her look like someone we might have both found in the pages of the album, and been equally confused by. I didn’t know that she was ever young. I still think about her as someone who had been wise before she had grown old, and the woman in the picture is a wonderful, light-hearted imposter.

They look stunning together. My grandfather’s dark blazer is the same intelligent blue that I have come to associate with him, now. He looks like he knows that one day he will look back at these pictures with his grandchildren. He is wearing the smile of a man who has discovered not only that man is capable of discovery, but that he himself is young, and my God, isn’t that a beautiful prospect?

I don’t remember whether his arm is around her, or whether he is casually leaning against the brick wall that reaches their…waists? But it could be. It might be around her shoulders, or around her waist, but if it is, it was placed there correctly.
He knows that she will look gorgeous in the developed picture.

There is something right about them. I am almost afraid to write about it, because when I write I often stumble upon things I don’t want to know. The process of discovery is also one of elimination and I am not ready for any part of this picture to be deconstructed.

It is a beautiful day in Malta, and my grandparents are on their honeymoon. They look happy together.

 

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