too young

I looked through a photo album from your wedding this morning. It was tucked on the bottom of the bookshelf in the living room and some of the photographs were faded around the edges and the whole thing made it feel like something that happened along time ago in a place I will never visit. Perhaps because both of them are true. I was too young when it happened, too young to know I wanted to be there. Too young to know that I wanted to know the people in these photographs, but still too young. Born a few five years shy of what I can see were the good days for this family. I only recognize some of the faces, others are collections of friends I wonder if you still keep with today. The ones I do know are younger versions of these people that I keep in my mind, half of them now dead, because for some reason some God wanted to take the good ones first. My uncles are young and handsome, smoking cigars and drinking scotch. So much scotch before everyone decided they had a problem. The years before we all got sober, must have been some damn good years. And although I can’t hear the photographs I know how funny they were, khakis rolled up, socks bunched around the ankles, loafers. The men in my family always had a style that was born between the pages of Gatsby. Timeless. And I saw my mother, who I’ve been writing about a lot lately. I can spot her in the background of photographs because I know the way she carries herself, the way she holds a drink. And sometimes seeing her I think I see me, but I wasn’t there, I was too young. But it got me thinking about the years ahead and how many more roles I will play in this family of ours. How many more babies and weddings and funerals we will all gather for in the years to come. How my sisters children will look at me they way I once looked at my uncles, how cool they were, how they could do no wrong in my eyes, how much style they had. It’s easy to feel like we will be this way forever, but we won’t. One day I’ll spot myself holding a cocktail in the back of a photograph in a faded photo album on the book shelf in the living room of a house I don’t have yet.

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