Absent Friends

Absent FriendsHiding in shoeboxes in attics, amongst all the family stuff, lurk photographs of milestone events.  Photos that commemorate landmarks mostly; the anniversary, the birthday, the wedding, the bar mitzvah.  Those of Ab and Celie’s generation were, more often than not, photographed in a fancy-shmanzy ballroom somewhere, dressed up like Astaire and Rogers.  I sometimes feel that Ab takes the form of the commemorative photograph and subverts it.  Here, he shows what the staged photo at the same table never shows: those who have died.  There’s a seldom spoken truth here about these celebrations.  Often the dead are called up:

“Your father would have loved this wedding.”

“Your mother would have loved to have seen him all grown up.”

The empty chairs are full of people.


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