Writing 101 – Write about finding something.
My parents divorced when I was eight years old after years of drinking, fighting and gnashing of teeth. I cannot conjure a memory of them being happy together during my entire childhood. Smiles and laughter rarely found their way into the fabric of our days.
Daddy has been gone now for over 25 years, mama is remarried again and the past seems like a bad dream – a tragic play with unskilled actors flailing through their poorly-written scripts.
Last fall, while visiting our aunt, two of my sisters and I set up camp on her living room floor and rifled through box after box of old family photographs. We looked at vacation photos taken at Six Flags, faded, creased pictures of unidentified relatives, and shots of tombstones of those long gone. There were the obligatory “say cheese” group snapshots at holiday gatherings and K-12 school photos of almost everyone.
And then, as I grabbed yet another pile to sift through, a gift fell into my lap. A wallet-sized, black and white picture of my parents that I had never seen before. Nestled dangerously close to each other, they are sitting on one end of a couch, daddy’s arm around mama, a huge smile on her face and the perfect look of peace and contentment in his eyes. They are so young, so beautiful, and so obviously in love.
In that photograph that now sits framed on my nightstand, I can see their love – see back to a time when it made sense for them to be together. In that photograph, I found home.