The same is true of old letters or writing. There really is nothing that can replace handwriting. I remember holding Emily Dickinson’s work once in the basement annex of Amherst College, wearing gloves, being watched as if I might steal them. Smart. I wanted to. I regret the love letters I tossed or the notes from friends during class. I had a best friend and she and I wrote old-fashioned letters to one another in middle school, professing our “friends forever” in black-ink promises, only to be tossed as I moved or aged. Not enough space. Oh, the regret!
When I came across some of the pictures, it reminded, too, of my childhood and a scene in Edge of Torment I took from my own life, where Patricia, Annabelle’s best friend, has displayed a photograph of the two of them at Patricia's brother Billy’s wedding. It’s two best friends in a pool wearing funky glasses, and I remember exactly the moment I stole the idea from. It was with my cousin, my favorite cousin still to this day, and at the service, I asked her if she too remembered those days in the back yard at 4 or 5 or if the memory was only because of that picture. She remembered it just as I had and, though sad at where we were presently, we smiled and laughed and hugged, poured some wine afterwards, and sat down to reminiscence. That’s what photographs do for us. And I’m grateful I still have boxes upon boxes of them even if I’ve lost so many of the people in them. They are engraved somewhere inside my heart’s mind, far from being lost. And that brought me comfort.