A reunion of as many siblings who could make the journey. It wasn’t as long-planned as it was necessary. For some, those left who could still journey, came in great anticipation of sibling camaraderie, retelling and reliving memories, softening sibling youthful blows and jabs, but mostly an attempt to tamp down the individual time element of age related vulnerability. A few jokingly called their own personal expirey or sell-by date looming closer and closer.
I was the observer. The one with the camera: steady hand; clear vision; not related by blood but by mistake. No one present ever argued the point. It had never mattered. Not really but it did. It mattered to me. My fate had always been sealed. I had become an excellent observer, and camera owner.
He was the last to arrive. As usual he kept everyone waiting…and anxious. Was he going to show up? Did he know how important this was? The photograph will be visual posterity for my children, she said. Oh, he’ll come, one commented, he has more feathers in his cap. He’ll want to show and tell, quipped the brother. There were murmurs, garbled audible noises but mostly recognizable vocal gestures and physical discontent. This was my observation through the lens of reality.
He pushed his body through the not now-so familiar small crowd of his sisters and brothers. The siblings he grew up with were standing askew…dressed in Sunday-best, filled with chit-chat, laughter, storied moments and closeness relived. Again and again. Over and over.
He was now here…but not present.
He took the chair. The chair brought out especially for another. He sat in it.
One of them started to speak-out, but with the usual resignation of years and years of unspoken comments or rebukes, decided it was useless to point out the obvious to him.
Grabbing their attention and with firmness of voice I said, It is picture taking time! Look this way and everyone look smart and smile. They did just that…gathered themselves noisily, jovially, and with purpose. The photos were going to be perfect, lunch was waiting, more stories were left to tell, memories to be had and made.
The future wasn’t here today.
It had not arrived after all…