After they got married, the photos thinned out as their focus shifted from courting each other to the business of living their lives. Kristof was less interested in making friends – more like making strangers, she thought. They now had cameras built into their phones, but they never seemed to use them. The photos went from daily and weekly to years absent of photos. Near the front of the album, pages were filled with single events. Near the end… Not so much, she thought. She flipped more pages and stopped at one of the pivotal moments in her life: Marrying Kristof.
She dug through a small shoebox she kept in her closet next to the pile of albums and withdrew a pregnancy test. The indicators had faded, and she initially felt silly keeping it, but Kristof insisted she keep it the morning she told him. They cried and hugged. She spent the rest of the morning contemplating her future. Kristof returned from work that evening and asked her to marry him. She remembered his hands shaking as he opened the little box.
I grew up without a father, she remembered him saying, I won’t allow my child to do the same. She agreed and after his mother’s engagement ring was resized, she proudly showed it to all her friends and a few strangers. She held up her left hand and looked at the same engagement ring and matching wedding band. The pregnancy seemed normal to her doctors, but fourteen weeks later…
A tear fell into the shoebox and Krystal stood up suddenly, spilling the photo album and shoebox onto the floor. Among the memories stored in the box now on the floor was an old photo of Kristof and his parents. He told her once that it was taken only a few weeks before his mother died and his father disappeared.
She leaned down to retrieve the photo. His father was hugging him tightly and it appeared his mother was reacting to the two of them. They were all laughing and it appeared to her that they loved each other and life itself.
Decades later, she looked at the faded photo and wondered if that scene could’ve been hers and Kristof’s if their daughter had been born. That single event and the aftermath changed them both. That was they way Kristof operated – he rolled with the punches life threw at him, then some catastrophe would level him and he would retreat into himself.
The death of his mother and his father disappearing, She mentally counted off the upheaval in Kristof’s life. Losing the baby and years later brain cancer followed by a divorce. Out loud she said, “Wherever you are, Kristof, I hope you’re still alive and that you know I still love you.”
Kristal lowered herself to the floor to gather the memories and placed each one back in the shoebox with Kristof’s happy childhood photo.
[615/33,489 Inspiration Monday]