Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 93: Family Secrets


Picture 1

Picture 2

Kimmydonn's Choice: Both


Family Secrets

“Remind me,” Aunt Maybel said. “What do you take in your tea?” She set a china teacup before me and a silver spoon on the saucer. Aunt Maybel was from another age, an older time, when small things like china and tea were made with care. Aunt Maybel’s hair was almost white, it was so grey. However, there were black strands threaded through, as though they refused to give up entirely.

“Just a little sugar. Thank you. Do you have any pictures of Grandma?” I took the teapot and poured for both of us while Aunt Maybel’s shaking hand set the sugar bowl down.

“Justine? I put all my pictures out for your mother to pick through. I thought she’d taken everything. I don’t think I have any left. Why do you ask, dear? Your mother said something about saving them. She still has them, I think.”

“Yeah, I went through those. None of them was quite right. I’m looking for one where she is my age. Before she married grandpa?”

Aunt Maybel looked at me for a while, her eyes watery and clouded. “Why are you looking for that?”

“Well, everyone says I look like Grandma, but of course, I didn’t really get to know her.” Grandma had died when I was eight. “So, I went digging through the photos, and the few of her as a girl, well, they did look like me. I was surprised there wasn’t anything between that and the wedding. She didn’t marry that young.”

Aunt Maybel smiled. “You do look like her. A lot. I think I have what you want.” She led me to one of her many cupboards and pulled out a box. It was held shut by a garter strap, black and lacy. Inside were several other bits of lace. “I wouldn’t show you this if she was alive. She swore me to secrecy. If you’re mother had asked, I would deny having it, but you … you are so like her. You’ll understand. Don’t tell your mother.”

“Of course not.” I was horribly curious what was in this box.

Aunt Maybel pushed aside a few more pieces of satin, revealing a few photographs.

“Grandma was a pinup?” I asked in wonder, touching each photo gingerly.

“Not a pinup, but … a model, a muse.”

“For Grandpa?”

Aunt Maybel stared unblinking into space for a minute. “No, not your grandfather. He came after.”

“Then who was he?” I wondered, gaping at the provocative poses, the way the light covered her as clothes didn’t. She was beautiful. It was obvious that the photographer was in love with her.

“Not a he,” Aunt Maybel said in a hoarse whisper.

My eyes went wide and followed my Aunt as she made her way through the kitchen. She returned with a bottle of amber liquid.

“Something for your tea?”