Photo Albums

There was a time when he looked forward to being in the photographs. He was a stickler for them. He always believed that they captured memories. Those moments that would soon become past would live on through the photos. Flipping through the photo album, he would often pause and stare at some of the photos. The photos of them. Him and her. It would seem like such a long time ago if he looked at himself in the mirror. He was ageing. His temples were graying. But his jaw was strong. He had circles under his eyes but the eyes still carried the old glint. He was never considered good looking, he was a regular old man.

Those photos had kept him company. The albums were a treasure trove of memories. The eyes that he had longed to see for 20 years were in there. Smiling at him. He could never picture her old. To him, she would always remain young and lithe. Laughing like a kid and crying like one too. But assuming the role of a mature woman when life demanded. She was naughty too but would easily get upset if he played a prank on her. He didn't need to have a child when she was around.

He should have known when he raised his voice. He should have known that she was yet a child. He should have been in control of himself. But the damage was done and one morning when he woke up to the familiar twitter of birds. She was gone. Most of her belongings were untouched. But she had gone. Leaving the ring behind that he had gifted her one chilly evening of November, in the small Korean car that she used to own. That was a long time ago. And all that remained with him were the photographs. The smile was intact, he had stored a few in his wallet too.

She would go everywhere with him. To the market, to his work place, to the mountains that he frequented. He would occasionally see the new photos that were made available by technology. And he would scoff at them. They were a stark reminder of how foolish he had been. Photo albums were now digitally available. They didn't have the same charm as print photos. But they were enough to cause heart ache if not bring any delight. He would peer closely to see if the smile was genuine, if the mirth was real and happiness pure. But he couldn't tell, he would be biased. So he never bothered to answer his own questions. He would simply switch off the computer and go back to his albums. Ignorance never seemed this blissful.


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