Not My Kind of People

by | Jul 29, 2023 | And Now

I’ve never seen this photo before. It was at the bottom of a pile of photos mom had asked me to sort. She was sitting at the kitchen table, chain smoking while I was going through them all, trying to put them in chronological order.
On the photo I just found, she was sitting on a barstool in our old kitchen, wearing a fur coat and something silky underneath. Her thick hair was so disheveled it looked like a wig that was about to fall off. There was a guy next to her. He had his arm around her shoulder and smiled into the camera with far too many teeth. And there was a tiny figure at the back of the kitchen, just coming through the door – Dad in pajamas.
“Who is this guy?” I ask mother.
She shrugs. “Your dad.”
“Don’t play the innocent. The other one. The one with the teeth.”
“Ah that one. Unbelievable right? Laughing at a camera like that.”
“Who is he?”
“It might be appropriate to open your mouth like that at the dentist but for or a photo . . . I knew right away these weren’t my kind of people. Look at his pullover.”
“It’s a brown sweatshirt.”
“Give me that.” She grabs the photo, looks at it, then gives it back. “Half of it is missing on the photo. It was a monstrosity, I assure you. Howling wolves and sunsets. That sort of thing.”
“Yet he was in our old kitchen, grinning at the camera with dad only halfway in the picture.”
“You know, New Year ‘s Eve and all that.”
“Apparently, I don’t know New Year ’s Eve and all that.”
“Give it a rest. You sound like an Irish nun. His wife was there too. She took the picture.”
“But who are they?”
“How would I know? After the party I walked the dog and felt a little dizzy when these two came along. They brought me home and we had a glass or two and then your dad got up and that was it.”
“And you never met them again?”
“They came back later that day, with flowers. “
“How nice.”
“Nice? They were cheap flowers. I pretended I didn’t remember them. It was a bit awkward at first. And hard work. Making people believe you don’t remember you spent six hours with them drinking and laughing isn’t as easy as it sounds. They left in the end. With their flowers.”

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