To the Death

Issue 8 | Summer 2022 |


My husband and I had a fight today about pictures—I never like the ones of me, and that pisses him off. My negativity pisses him off. In any picture taken right now, or a few days ago, or last year, I always think I look old, or tired. But tonight, I am poring over decades of snapshots and I see that there are pictures I like now, at this remove. The pictures I like are the ones where I am—not just looking happy, but truly happy, at least as far as memory serves. And yet I come back to this one. My mother and I. No idea when it was taken. Before I moved to Holland, I’m guessing—so maybe I was nineteen. Who took the picture? We both seem surprised—I look like I might strangle her. Just move that hand up a tiny bit. No, this is not a happy family picture. Read the resentment in my face, the defensiveness in hers. Yet we cling to one another. We dare the onlooker to come between us as we battle each other.