Come One, Come All

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frame.

Growing up, I was a rather restless child. I would run past the cabinets, shelves, tables and desks, and occasionally, glance up at these pieces of furniture to quickly take a peek at the photographs that rested upon their wooden, polished surfaces. Many were of my mother and her sisters and brothers, or of me and my sister. I wouldn't spend too much time examining the photographs, and I would soon continue whatever it was I was doing. The photographs never held me back.
There was one, however, that I would stare at for a longer period of time. It was of a man. I didn't know this man, but he somehow looked familiar.

I'd look up on the living room table, and upon the clear, glassy surface, I'd see that familiar face, staring right back at me.

I remember not being able to recognize the familiar stranger I saw in the 5 X 7 frame that rested in the living room. I would sometimes consider asking my parents who the man was, but something told me I should know, and if I were to ask, I'd make myself look very foolish. So, for some time, I just assumed it was a photograph of my father when he was younger, or one of my uncles, for they had some of the same facial features. The man was familiar, so I assumed it was someone I knew. It made sense.
As time went by, I eventually managed to muster up enough courage to ask my mother who the strange man in the picture was. Her response was simple, yet it was something I was not expecting. "Your grandfather."
It was at that moment I had realized that I had never met my grandfather. The idea that my father had a father never crossed my mind. I felt a little foolish. I later learned that he had died in a car accident. My father was about the age I currently am now when it happened, maybe a little older. Early 20's, late teens, I don't know, around that age.
So, things were coming together. The man in the photo frame, my late grandfather, was familiar because he looked a lot like my father and uncles. The more I looked into the photograph and into my grandfather's eyes, the more I realized that the familiarity wasn't the similar facial features I saw in my father and uncles. It was something else. It was at this moment that I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness rush into my body. I didn't know who he was, and I never would know.
I'd theorize what he was like. I attempted to see him acting as my father did; good-natured, kind, benevolent, sarcastic and a little silly. I couldn't picture it, though. I did this with the rest of his sons and daughters to no avail. At this point, I would normally just give up and let it go, but the strange, mysterious familiarity of his face and his gaze encouraged and urged me to continue thinking about my lost grandfather. So I continued.
As I grew older, I began to mold myself. I got past the awkward stage that we all go through, and discovered myself. I was feeling good about myself. I had forgotten about the photograph. I had forgotten about my grandfather.
I glanced at the photograph once more, and I stared at him. The same familiarity invaded my being, playing tricks on my mind. I felt so close to this man, who I had never met. I felt the same sadness enter once more. I wanted to meet him. I wanted to know him. I continued to think about it. I was tired and I felt a little sick. It was late, and I figured I could get some sleep. I walked toward the bathroom, and headed for the sink and washed my face.

I looked up at the reflective, clear mirror, and I saw that familiar face, staring back at me.

2 comments:

  1. Dad would cry if he read this. I really like it.

    ReplyDelete