On my refrigerator there is a photo of Marianne and me. It is the only thing there, held by one silver magnetic clip. The train schedule beside it, which I printed out last fall, is taped at the top and bottom, its corners curling outwards after two seasons of humidity followed by winter’s dry chill. In the picture I don’t look like myself. In the picture I look like I could be my sister, but not Carla because we have different fathers—her dad, Joe. Still, I like this picture because it captured me at a very flattering moment: eyes open, lips pink, unchapped. My face is clear, and I look healthy. But despite the whitening effects of the camera’s flash, Marianne’s skin is still brown from sun, browner than my skin has ever been. She has the only green eyes I’ve ever seen in real life, not music videos, not magazines. Her eyebrows looking more bronze than her hair, lightened again by the sun and flash. She is wearing a navy blue t-shirt, her hair pulled back to show her soft, pink ear lobes, the studded jewelry. She wears a necklace made from hemp—of all fucking things—and I wear one of stainless steel.

I look at this picture every morning while I’m drinking juice or waiting for the coffee to fill the carafe. I stare at it, wait for one of us to talk.

Marianne hates this photo because her forehead was breaking out. I like it because it reminds me that she’s not perfect. She took it down once, but weeks later I found it taped on the underside of a table in the living room.

She points every time the picture every time she’s over: “You realize that you will burn in hell for eternity.” But she’s stopped taking it down, hiding it in unobvious places that she knows I’ll eventually find.

I catch her one night staring at it, too, her thumb over her face, her jaw moving slowly as she chewed minty gum.

1 comment:

meg said...

Angela, I'm glad you're newly jazzed to write, because I truly miss it when you don't.

There is a melancholy tone to this piece.

I really like
I stare at it, wait for one of us to talk.

The whole paragraph beginning Marianne hates this photo... is great. I LOVE that the photo's found underside the table!

And the last paragraph too. I like seeing Marianne this way, still, thinking.

They seem completely separate here. I wonder when it happens.

This is a great opporunity to let us see Julia more, physically, we don't often do. I was hoping for as much detail about how she looked in the photo as about how Marianne looked....

I love thate we see them, and their relationship, through their connection to, and feelings about this photo. This is something you do really well.