I awoke to the smell of coffee; an apropos detail for such a morning. It was a rare occurrence—the aromatic coup of coffee brewed—that signaled your presence in our home.
In the living room my mother anxiously rifles through a box of photographs, searching desperately for a picture of you taken one summer under the big tree in our backyard, surrounded by your daughters and grandchildren. We’re positive it was stolen but avoid naming names. I lament how childish and fucked up things are, but I’m careful not to articulate exactly what is meant by ‘things.’ Instead I bristle at the thought of the memory thief laughing at my mother’s expense—for any reason.
In a final exercise of hope I’m sent to assist my father in procuring more photographs for sorting. I stand at the foot of the pull down latter ready to receive whatever time capsules descend from the darkness. I hear my name and turn my face upward to be met by a rain of latent images. As I stoop to gather the scattered photos I stop to ponder how the molecular structure of a photograph could ever hope to compare to the molecular experience of a memory.
Just before we leave for your memorial I ask why only one of your sons will be in attendance. The answer startles me and I’m inundated with the heavy sense of your humanity twenty-eight years too late. On the ride home I soothe my disappointment by reflecting on the events at home; these were your true memorial not half an hour of gospel.