Going by Photos

He died of alcoholism before I was a year old.

For years, all I had of my father was a single snapshot. I gazed at the details: plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up at the elbows of tanned, hairy arms; dark eyes squinting in the sun at me--a fat baby in a white cap tied with puffballs. My glance lingered over the sedan in the driveway; the long green grass where my father sat with legs drawn up, hands loose around his knees.

Find a photograph of someone no longer in your life, someone whose loss affected you. What do you see? Let the images teach what your mind never knew. Write these things.

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