They looked at old pictures together. Black and whites, some crinkled and tearing apart, held together with pieces of tape on the back of them. Others in fine condition, high school photos, wedding shots, pictures of a first Christmas together, some older ones of their parents standing beside an old Chevrolet; they remembered the car. Belonged to a friend of theirs from down the road who liked showing off his wheels.
Then there were color pictures too. Old Polaroids of the kids throughout the years. Bonnie wearing a two piece for the first time; daddy never did like that swimsuit; showed too much skin. Eddie in his Marine uniform. He was getting ready to go off to Afghanistan. Johnny graduating high school. They never thought he’d make much of himself. Now he owns a used car lot in New Haven. He got married. Raised a couple of kids of his own.
The pictures were all mixed up on the kitchen table. Dad picked them up one at a time and looked at them carefully while momma placed the photographs in folders marked with each child’s name on it.
Then there were pictures of mom and dad, mom smiling at the camera. Dad smoking a cigarette. There were a few where mom was pregnant. So full out she looked like she was about to pop. But, she didn’t look like she did in the other photos. She didn’t look happy. Dad remembered those days. He remembered that one pregnancy particularly. She was sick throughout the last few weeks of it. Had the flu real bad. He tried to hide them from her. He wanted to throw them away.
Momma grabbed his hand when she noticed the pictures. I remember those days too, she said. More so than you’ll ever know, she held his hand. They belong in the folder with the rest of them, dad lowered his head. The older woman got up to fix a pot of coffee. He came up behind her and held her.
You never forget do ya, he said. She shook her head. We were gonna name him Charlie after your dad, she dropped the spoon she was using to measure out the Folgers. I’m still sorry dear. All these years later I still feel terrible ’bout it, he squeezed around her middle.
I felt guilty for years, she poured water into the coffee maker. Just felt ashamed. I still do I guess. Some things never go away. That feeling. That feeling of losing something. I’m so sorry, she cried.
Shhh. You were sick honey. Couldn’t keep anything down, he reached up and grabbed two cups. It wasn’t your fault, he kissed her forehead. It just wasn’t.
They sat there drinking coffee and looking at pictures. Some color and others black and white.