“You want some coffee?” I asked. “I’m in need of a little wake-me-up.”
Mom looked up at the clock. “Oh my god! We’ve been doing this for three hours!” she said. “Yeah, honey, make a fresh pot. I’m still in the mood to go through these. And get the zucchini bread over there on the counter. Might as well have a snack too.”
As I made coffee by rote, I thought back on what transpired in the last four hours - I was cleaning out the attic for her, sitting between skyscrapers of old magazines and long-dead appliance manuals with their warranty cards taped inside. In one of the boxes was a leather satchel, dusty, but the old brass latch was still shiny. I snapped it open and found dozens of photos. Some were Polaroids; some Kodachromes with dates stamped at the bottoms of them. But there were also older ones too, printed on heavy stock, faded grey or sepia-toned. I took the satchel downstairs.
“Mom, does it look familiar?” I held up the satchel.
“Hmm. No,” she said.
I placed a handful of photos on the table and pushed them toward her.
“Oh. That satchel was in the attic?” she asked, “I thought your aunt had all these.” She spread the photos out on the table, arranging some as if she were playing a game of solitaire.
“I recognize this one – there – we are together ...