Now that we're back in good standing with Bally's, we did what any dutiful members should do over the week-end: avoided going anywhere near that accursed gym, and opted instead for a one-hour walk around our neighborhood, Sunday morning.
There's not much color in the scenery, not yet, but at least the feel of spring is dancing around the edges. There's still a chill in the air, and the ground is decked out in its winter worst, and the homeowners have yet to rake up the leaves that fell at the far end of November. Even so, we spotted a few shoots making their way out of the earth, giving me hope that our future walks will be more scenic.
On the way home, as we debated where to eat for breakfast, I spotted something, sticking out of the leaves and mulch.
“What’s this?” I asked, interrupting Corb, who was describing in intricate detail how to construct a koi and goldfish pond.
It looked like some sort of picture. Always the nosebag, I bent over to scoop it up.
“It’s an old photograph,” I said, scraping off the dried dirt around the edges. “Someone’s wedding picture.”
The photograph reminded me of my parent’s wedding portrait, which used to hang in our living room, growing up. It appeared to have been taken in the early sixties. The woman’s face was angular and thin. He had the buzz cut and the Sean Connery-era tuxedo with the thin bowtie around the neck.
The photo seemed somewhat stagy, as all those wedding portraits do. Probably taken after the wedding itself, right after the first flush of excitement has passed and the endless receiving line is just about to become a reality. Plastic, tired smiles. Hers seems to be nothing more than the absent sketch of a cartoonist.
The photo was laminated. Clearly someone had taken pains to preserve it. Yet, it had been in the leaves for a while, probably all winter. The sides were faded and the colors smeared on the edges, from where condensation had seeped in.
On the back was the address of a photographer from Esmond, Rhode Island. A.E. Pimenta. I did a Google search, but couldn’t find anything. However, judging from the address—Centerdale 1-9159, it had to be an address from another age. Someone long ago deceased, no longer honing his art.
I played with the photograph, fascinated by it. I loved the thrill of the discovery. A couple, from another time and place. An abandoned glimpse from a yesterday almost five decades ago.
I wonder what would happen if I stared at this photograph before I went to bed, concentrated really hard, and then placed it under my pillow. Could I will myself into the world contained within this echo from yesterday? Taste the rubbery chicken? Hear the wedding singer warble some fifties tune?
See the pyramids along the Nile...
What roads did they travel, I wonder? Are their spirits alive today? Has the curse of time rendered them old and frail? Did they stay together? Does this beautiful bride still possess that same cartoonish wisp of a smile?
Am I the only one who remembers them, and this snapshot of what they once were?
Oh, and about being a member in good standing at Bally's. About a week after I posted my Bally’s story, I received a call, at work, from the manager of the North Providence office.
“I had a message that you called,” he said.
“I haven’t called you recently,” I said.
“It says here you had a complaint about one of our employees,” he said.
“I called about two months ago,” I said, thinking back.
“I’ve been traveling,” he said.
Anyway, I went through my whole story, and at the end of it, he said he’d give me three free months for my troubles. Which is decent, I guess.
Still didn’t mean we went this week-end...
Friday night, Theo had a class trip to see The Bridge to Terabithia. Corb and I dropped him of, then went shopping at Target, and picked up dinner.
We had to hang around a bit, waiting for him in the movie theater, but finally he came out of the theater, accompanied by his teacher’s aide. “Now Theo,” asked the aide. “Is one of these men your daddy?”
“Both of them are!” he said, brightly.
Corb and I glanced at each other. It was rather sweet.